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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK... dumb question, but... my main panel says 225AMPS MAX and all the breakers add up to over 700 AMPS. It's completely full. Is there something wrong here???
 

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Licensed Electrical Cont.
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Your panel is NOT "drawing" 730 amps. Not even close.
The sum of the breakers is a absolutely meaningless number.
Your situation is perfectly normal.

What makes you question this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd like to add a hot tub... and after speaking with an electrician, he asked if I had "room in the panel". So I opened the panel to have a look. The spa needs 50AMPs... and I'm full... so I guess that means I need a subpanel? I don't see any opportunity to use the thin breakers and make room.
 

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Wire Chewer
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It's ok if they all add up to more. It is assumed they will not always be at full capacity. A 15 amp circuit may only be drawing less than an amp depending on what's plugged into it.

If there is no physical room you will want to either add a subpanel or maybe consolidate a few circuits on a single breaker to free up space. For example if there is a circuit for some plugs that have no more than a plugin and a radio plugged you could just add that circuit to a lighting circuit (pigtail to one wire and add that wire to the breaker). Be careful though as there may be certain codes in your area where a certain circuit (ex: kitchen) cannot be shared.
 

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Scared Electrician
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it may be time for tandems, or quads
 

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Unfortunately there are "limits" you might run up against.

1. Maximum number of breaker handles allowed in the panel. This limits the number of thin breakers (single wide double breakers; tandem breakers) you can add.

2. Total house load. This is a somewhat arbitrary number computed by doing a load analysis (refer to National Electric Code) and can possibly require a larger main panel and larger (more amperes max) service.

Even though a hot tub may be used only half an hour to an hour a day, even though you plan your electricity use to not trip the main breaker, the hot tub's 50 amps adds a significant amount to the total house load figure.
 
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