DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

Installing sub panel for kitchen remodel

2062 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Jim Port
Wiring in my house is extremely old (mostly cloth), grounded at the main breaker panel but not bonded, and i also have breakers that are not labeled right, feeds that are spliced with other circuits (meaning that when I turn the power off to a breaker and then follow that line to its termination point or junction box along the way, I still get hot wires. There's also some wiring in the breaker panel that isn't marked with the type of wire it is (red flag). The problem with this is it could either be 14 awg or it's 12 awg with a very thin coating. So the first problem is some of this looks like 14 that is coming from 20 amp breakers.

"But wait! There's more!"

There's one junction box that has at least four of these circuits meeting and then splitting off to; the stove hood, both GFCI's in the kitchen, the kitchen ceiling lighting, the refrigerator, the dishwasher, and the washing machine. The fridge is hooked up to one of the 14 gauge wires I think but even if it is a 12 it's not GFCI and it's sharing the circuit with one or two outlets in the bedroom above the kitcgen. So regardless of the breaker amps, that needs to be split and dedicated to just the fridge.

Back to the junction from hell; it's just a small box you would use for hanging a light or ceiling fan. An old school 4x4 octagon or whatever connected to old rigid conduit. all these circuits meet there and have tons of wires wrapped up in it. Definitely way too many for code. and some of them look like they have melted or burnt. I'm not seeing any copper yet but I'm pretty sure in a situation like this you wouldn't get a chance to see the copper showing before something serious happens.

So I'm thinking now is a good time to un-splice literally half of my home's major appliance wiring, and I was thinking of putting a subpanel a little bit closer to the kitchen about where this junction box I was talking about is. So it'd be across the basement from the main breaker panel but then the kitchen itself that it'll feed would be directly above the new sub panel.

first question; since I'm not a certified electrician, on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how effing crazy am I to try and do this sub panel by myself?

Second question is, do I need to increase my overall service? Because the main breaker panel that isn't labeled right is fed from the main fuse box where power comes in and it's an old school one with just two 100 amp fuses. I know that with a kitchen remodel I have to do everything to code in there which is why the sub panel I think is a no-brainer with everything I am going on. But what I'm not sure about is if I'm doing a subpanel is it necessary to increase my total amps from 200 to 300? Because if I have to do that then I know I'll have to upgrade the main fuse box and I ain't touching that.

The thing is I'm actually gaining amps to use in the kitchen because I'm going from an electric range to a gas and I'm not going to have a microwave and my new fridge says it can go off of a 15 amp but I'm still thinking of putting it on 20 anyway along with everything else except the lights. So I'd say that easily a third of the amps in my house are going to be in the kitchen but I have two fifties on my main breaker that aren't going to be used anymore because I don't have an electric range. I also have two 30 slots that are empty right now on my main breaker. And even though those two double slots are open now and I also have room for more in the panel physically I still think that a sub panel for the kitchen would be best.

I know that's a lot I just went over but any thoughts any of you guys have would be really appreciated. Thanks
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

· Registered
1,116 Posts

You have a lot going on here. Way hard to grasp it.

Don't even think about upgrading from 200 to 300amps yet. First you would do a load calculation this will determine what your electrical needs will be and that will tell you if you have to do an upgrade of your service. Once you do that you have a starting point.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I can't answer that question. That is a question only you can answer after you do more research and educate yourself a bit more. Then after that you will develop a "comfort zone" as to what you feel you can and can not handle.

Be aware of one thing though. If you do decide to do this on your own and buy materials and start the work and then find you are in over your head it may be very difficult to find an electrician to come and finish the job. Most don't want to take your work on their liability insurance.


· Registered
2,841 Posts
1st off: if you have a main disconnect with 100 amp fuses, you have a 100 amp service (not 200).
I would not put in a sub panel if you have enough space in the existing.
As to needed kitchen circuits, you need at least 2- 20 amp circuits for countertops receptacles which can include the refrigerator. If the refrigerator is a built-in or 4'+ wide, I would put it separate. Dishwasher separate and lighting separate. Dinning room receptacles can be included with the kitchen.
All need be both AFCI and GFCI (except lighting).

· Super Moderator
18,160 Posts
It sounds like you are only adding circuits, not actual load.

Be sure to ensure you can meet the workspace requirements for the panel.
  • Like
Reactions: Live&LetDIY
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.