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mscanlon01 07-19-2011 11:36 PM

Garage Sub Panel Questions
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Hi experts,

We were considering selling our house a while ago, so we had a home inspector come in and he strongly suggested replacing a Federal Pacific sub panel in our garage. He also said that there was a 14 AWG wire connected to a 20 Amp breaker in that panel and that one or more openings existed in this sub panel. I was going to replace this sub panel and when I opened the cover I also discovered that it was (I think) wired improperly. From the other posts Iíve read here, I think the ground and neutral wires should be on separate buses, unlike the main panel.

At the time this sub panel was installed I believe the garage was unattached, but I donít see any ground rods either. Since then, an addition was built which now connects the house to the garage. The sub panel in the garage is 20 Ė 30 feet from the main panel in the basement. The sub panel is feed from a SEU XHHW CDRS. 3 #6 AWG 300V TO GRD wire which is enclosed within a 2Ē Sch 40 PVC tubing that runs underground, but Iím not sure exactly where or how deep. This wire is connected to a double 40A breaker in the main panel. I have enclosed pictures of the main and sub panel. There is also a sub panel in the basement adjacent to the main panel because we have a generator.

The sub panel in the garage is used for lighting on the porch, garage door openers, lights workbench outlet and the 20A circuit is connect to a GFI for a swimming pool pump.

Can anyone please give feedback on what I need to do to replace this panel and make the correct connections? Thanks in advance.

gregzoll 07-20-2011 12:21 AM

Those both appear to be brand new panels to me. As for the sub-panel, yes it should be four wires (2 hots, a neutral, and a ground (ground & neutral on separate bus bars)). If you have any doubts, and do not feel like doing the work yourself, hire a electrician to fix, not a handy-man.

mscanlon01 07-20-2011 10:00 AM

Can't I use the current 3 wire feed to the sub panel? There is now a sidewalk and porch that go over where this wire runs and it would be a pain to rerun. I'd like to replace the sub panel with the least amount of work and cost, but still correctly and safely. I don't need 240 volts at the sub panel.

Jim Port 07-20-2011 10:03 AM

The cable feeding the subpanel is not listed for use underground. Since you have a partial conduit system it may not be too hard to fix this correctly.

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