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Old 04-01-2010, 05:44 PM   #1
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Subpanel for bedrooms

We're in the process of replacing a lot of old 1973-era aluminum wiring in my house and I had an idea I wanted to run by you guys. A house fire across the street caused by wiring problems has accelerated my plans on this project just a bit.

My house is a 2000-sqft 1-story ranch in an L-shape, where the 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms are on the opposite end of the house as the garage where the main panel is. Replacing all those home runs (one for each bedroom's outlets, one or two for each bathroom outlets+light+fan, one for the smoke alarms, one or two for other lighting/ceiling fans) back to the main panel is probably close to 100 feet each by the time I snake around the HVAC ducts and roof trusses.

Could I put a 75 or 100-amp "sub"panel in the side wall of the hallway where all the bedrooms are, run one length of proper gauge 4-wire cable to that, and tie the circuits from that end of the house into that panel? Anything unusual, against code, or fire hazardous about this? The only thing I may have to check on is the working space depth-wise, it's not the widest of hallways.

I'm just thinking the wire cost and time saved in dragging all that Romex back to the panel has got to be worth it, if this is possible and code-compliant. Plus I'll open up some extra breaker spaces in the main (Square-D QO, fairly recent) panel for the garage circuits I've been wanting to add. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:57 PM   #2
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Nothing wrong with that plan as far as code is concerned.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:20 PM   #3
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by the time you buy the number four, the panel, and the breakers it will cost much more to put in the new panel than it will to just run the romex back. You need about 7 cables? that should come out to about $300 if you buy it in bulk on a roll. Your probably looking at paying well over $200 for the length of number four wire and then another $400 or so for the panel and breakers. And you've still got to buy the copper to run from the new panel to the equipment.
If you do decide to run the new panel keep in mind that to comply with code the neutral and ground can't be bonded in a subpanel and your feed for the new panel with have to contain two hots, a white, and a ground to feed the sub panel.
A cheaper solution if your set on a new panel may be to install a 60A service instead of a 100A as this will be plenty to run the bedrooms and the bathrooms.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:32 PM   #4
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What size is your main panel ? 100a or 200a ?
I'd run a 60a feed to a 100a panel with main breaker
1 circuit for each bathroom & bedroom = 6 circuits
Plenty of power for that & wire is cheaper
Bedrooms under NEC 2008 require AFCI breakers - $35-40 each
So might only want 2 circuits for bedrooms ?

That will free up space in your main panel

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Old 04-01-2010, 09:16 PM   #5
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Don't forget to arcfault the bedrooms and smokes.
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