Sub panel

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Barry J, May 14, 2013.

  1. Barry J

    Barry J New Member

    Messages:
    99
    Location:
    Mass
    Right now my fuse panel is completely full, I believe it's a 200amp panel. There is not a open spot left.
    What I want to do is add another panel, so I can install a hot tub. The goal is to have the hot tub and a few other things in the second panel, like furnance and my frig.
    Could use some suggestions or website to go to for good refernces
    Thanks
    Barry
  2. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    You "believe" it is a 200 amp panel?

    Is it actually a "fuse" panel or is it a breaker panel?

    Is there a master breaker that would shut off all the power going out of the panel with one motion of your hand? Is that marked 200 amp?

    How many breakers are in your panel? What brand is it?

    Most breakers are 1" wide. Most two pole breakers for 240v circuits are 2" wide.

    Most makes of breakers are available in "tandem" breakers. As an example, two 20 amp single circuits that will fit in a 1" space.

    There are "triplex" breakers among some brands. If you had, say, two 20 amp circuits with 1" breakers, you might be able to buy a triplex that has a 50 amp in the middle with two 20 amp on either side, all of it being 2" wide. You could replace the former with the latter and not need to add a panel. If the two 20 amp breakers share a neutral, you should buy a duplex two pole. That is, 50 amp two pole, linked, in the middle, and 20 amp, two pole, linked, flanking it on either side.

    It is not as easy as it might seem. If you do not understand what a three wire circuit is, you really should back off and call an electrician.
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
  3. ActionDave

    ActionDave Electrician

    Messages:
    346
    Location:
    Colorado
    Most circuits in homes are lightly loaded. There is a good chance you could combine a couple of circuits that go to living areas in the house and free up some breaker spaces.
  4. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    That is bad form. If a circuit runs to a panel, it should get its own breaker. Absolutely one does not put two wires under the same screw. If the house is wired with two wire circuits and no three wire circuits, your approach is not as hazardous as otherwise. Certainly no harry home owner should be encouraged to combine circuits in a panel when the wiring in the house is predominantly three wire.

    Assuming the panel is not utterly anachronistic, it is possible to replace full width breakers with half width breakers or tandem breakers and gain the circuits the OP wants.

    Even Zinzco breakers (bwweeerrr) can be had in narrow tandems.

    It is the proper way forward.
  5. ActionDave

    ActionDave Electrician

    Messages:
    346
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ooops. Broke both of these rules today.
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,532
    Location:
    North Carolina
    There are several breaker manufacturers that make breakers rated for two conductors.
    To use a wire nut for landing two circuits on one breaker is also acceptable.

    Either method is acceptable as long as the calculated load does not exceed the rating of the circuit breaker and the breaker is sized to both conductors.
  7. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    JW says you are off the hook, so I say do it his way.

    Still, the OP should follow my path. Especially if he is an amateur who does not understand a 3 wire circuit. In which case he is well advised to not do any of this work.
  8. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    For the OP, I don't think he can calculate those loads, and as I wrote, who knows if his house is wired with 3 wire circuits? Is he suddenly going to be muddling neutrals? Me, I would rather put in a few tandem breakers than go combining circuits. I'd certainly look very closely at the neutrals if I was merging a circuit.
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