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Old 09-24-2009, 02:39 PM   #1
 
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Upgrade required?


I wish to install a sub-panel. Unfortunately, the wiring in my existing main panel is not in compliance with current codes. If I install a sub-panel, will the local inspector also require me to bring the main panel up to code? (i.e. grounding, gfci, afci, bonding, clamps on wires, general cleanup to make it look pretty, etc.)

In case you are wondering, replacing the main panel is not an option. Because of local regulations, replacement would require a service upgrade to 200 amps. Upgrading would cost me an additional $4,000 for the power company to replace the transformer; far beyond my slim budget.

Thanks.

Kevin
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:44 PM   #2
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What size is your main breaker?
Have you done a Load Calc to see how much power you are currently "using"

If additional loads with the sub panel make the Load Calc go over your main breaker rating they can make you upgrade (I think)

Usually you do not have to upgrade when adding a sub-panel
But not 100% sure & local codes could vary (I didn't have to)

Where are you located?



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Old 09-24-2009, 02:57 PM   #3
 
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My existing panel is a Zinsco 125 amp. It has no main breaker.
My load calc, in which I was fairly conservative, came out at about 110 amps (the usual electrical appliances, gas heat, small home). I am confident that 125 is all I will ever need.

Located in King County, near Seattle.

Yes, I know the main panel is bad, but I don't have the funds to replace it since it requires a service upgrade. I am planning this sub-panel as a work-around. I intend to steadily switch circuits from the main to the sub, leaving only the sub feeder breaker in the old panel. This will take me about a year.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:54 PM   #4
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What size sub are you going to buy?
If you are gradually going to make the sub the main panel things to consider:

Is the sub going to be right beside the Main panel?

#1 Buy a 200a panel if the cost isn't too bad
You can feed it with 100a

#2 Grounds & neutrals need to be seperate in a sub
Neutral bus not grounded to the case



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Old 09-24-2009, 05:19 PM   #5
 
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Well, I finally managed to get in touch with the local inspector, and he answered my question. According to him, if the existing panel met code at the time it was installed, I will not have to bring it up to current code when I install a sub-panel. The inspection will include only the new breaker I install in the main panel (and all the new wiring and the sub-panel itself, of course). Lucky me!

The inspector also told me that there is no requirement to upgrade to 200 amps. I can do direct replacement of the 125 amp panel. So I was wrong in my initial post; and you were correct, Dave.

Anyway, thanks for the assistance.

Kevin
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