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Forum topic by jmos posted 06-09-2012 02:59 PM 2263 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jmos

681 posts in 1019 days


06-09-2012 02:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question electrical new panel

I’ll apologize in advance for being long winded, but I want to try to provide enough info to get a meaningful answer.

I’m pulling together the details for installing a dust collection cyclone in my shop, which requires a new 30amp 220v breaker. My house is fairly new (~6yrs old). When the place was wired they installed a 200amp 40 slot panel. They only left two open slots, which I’ve filled with 110v circuits for my basement/shop. So, I need more space for breakers. There is room immediately below the main panel to mount another (smaller box). I’m thinking 10 or 12 slots and 60amp capacity should do it. I’m contacting licensed electricians and I was hoping to get some details from some knowledgeable folks here so I know if they are blowing smoke at me or not.

Can you just put in a new panel with individual breakers below the existing box (using the existing house main 200amp breaker), or does the sub panel need it’s own main? If it does, should this main be located in the new box, or in the main box (i.e., remove two circuits from the main box, install a 60amp 240v breaker and use that to feed the new box)? If it has it’s own breaker, do you tap the power above the main 200amp breaker, or below?

Also, since this is in a basement (but will be mounted near the ceiling) does the new 30amp 220v circuit need to be GFCI? If so, is it best to get a GFCI breaker, or install a GFCI outlet?

Is there anything else I should know to ask these guys about this?

So far I got one quote, over the phone, for $680; sound reasonable? Seems high to me. Looking at HD’s website, a Seimens box (matches the brand I already have) is about $40, and a 60 amp breaker is around $30 (not GFCI); call it $100 in parts, I’m guessing no more than 3 hours in labor, so $580 in labor seems high. Am I missing something, or are they going to charge me for a full day since they probably can’t get another job for the rest of the day?

I know that’s a lot to ask, and I appreciate any assistance anyone can provide. Thanks in advance. (Oh, I’m in New Jersey if it matters.)

-- John


30 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1718 days


#1 posted 06-09-2012 03:30 PM

Hard to say if that quote is reasonable since nobody has actually looked at your job. If it were me, I would get someone to come to your house so you can define your requirements/desires, and they can give you a bid based on knowing the actual situation.

Mkae sure that it’s a licensed electrician and you/he/she pulls all necessary permits.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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Manitario

2331 posts in 1532 days


#2 posted 06-09-2012 03:58 PM

I have several sub-panels installed off my main panel, including a 100 amp panel for my garage/shop. The breaker for the sub-panel goes into your existing panel, (ie. above the 200 amp main breaker). I can’t comment on the electrical code for NJ; GFCI breakers are pricey (especially for 60 amps!) but I’d do it, even if not required by code.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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jmos

681 posts in 1019 days


#3 posted 06-09-2012 03:58 PM

I’ve got appointments with two other electricians on Monday and calls into two more; all licensed. I do plan on getting permits. I put in my shop circuits myself, and I plan on ripping them out if I ever sell the place, but I want this done permanently.

I was a little surprised with some of the things the guy told me, and his quote, so I though I’d run it by the folks here and try to get some better info. I hate not knowing exactly what needs to be done to tell if the scope is real or padded.

-- John

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Charlie

1017 posts in 936 days


#4 posted 06-09-2012 03:59 PM

They make breakers for your 110 circuits where you get 2 breakers in the space of one breaker. If you have 15amp circuits (usually lighting, smoke detectors, non-kitchen outlets, etc…) you can compress some space and not even need a new panel box. HOWEVER, you still need a qualified electrician to be sure you’re not exceeding the rating of the current panel box. If you have a 200 amp service (I have the same) and you’re using 40 slots already, I’m assuming you have a fairly large house. He’ll need to look at the existing loads to see if this is even possible without upgrading the service to higher amperage.

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jmos

681 posts in 1019 days


#5 posted 06-09-2012 04:29 PM

Charlie, thank you for reminding me! Total brain fart; I’m aware of half height breakers, used them in the past, and for some reason, completely forgot about them! I could consolidate a four first/second floor lighting circuits with half height breakers and make enough room for a 30amp 220v breaker.

My house is a decent size, the electrician really spread out the circuits. There must be three or four general lighting circuits for each floor, not including receptacles. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m not concerned about adding one additional 30 to the panel.

I’ll still get the estimates, but I think I’m going to end up going that route.

Thanks again!

-- John

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bent

311 posts in 2318 days


#6 posted 06-09-2012 05:07 PM

i’d say $680 is reasonable. i’m an electrician and my co-workers that do residential work all charge about $1000 for a full panel upgrade. your subpanel bid seems in line with that.

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crank49

3417 posts in 1620 days


#7 posted 06-09-2012 06:58 PM

Mantario, I’m not sure what you meant about “The breaker for the sub-panel goes into your existing panel, (ie. above the 200 amp main breaker).” but to me, “above the main breaker” means directly on the main feed before the main breaker. NO. This would require wiring the sub feed breaker onto hot feeds. The main breaker for the sub panel goes on the buss in the regular panel along with all the other breakers.

Anyway, I was going to suggest the double breakers and that sounds like the way the OP is going so it really does not matter at this point.

Also, you can’t really overload a breaker panel. If you count up the total capacity of all the small breakers in a typical panel the total will be much more than the main.

i.e. If you had 40 slots filled with 15 amp breakers that would be 600 amps total; way more than the stated 200 amp capacity.

It works because everything is never fully loaded and on at the same time and if it ever got over the 200 amp capacity of the main, it would trip and protect the main feed and panel. The normal expected usage is typically about 20% of installed capacity.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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Manitario

2331 posts in 1532 days


#8 posted 06-09-2012 07:53 PM

Michael, I meant into the panel with the rest of the breakers. I didn’t describe it very well. I try to keep away from the hot feeds!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View crashn's profile

crashn

518 posts in 1115 days


#9 posted 06-09-2012 08:03 PM

Install the 60 to 100 amp sub panel below existing panel.
Re-route / re-wire the 2 existing 110v workshop circuits to the new sub panel
feed sub panel with 220 from the 2 freed up slots in main panel, with appropriate new double pole breaker.
feed cyclone from new sub panel.

easy as pie

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

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jmos

681 posts in 1019 days


#10 posted 06-09-2012 08:32 PM

Thanks all.

Crashn, that really doesn’t sound too bad, and I would be game to do it myself. I do most of my own wiring. I’m more concerned about permits. I haven’t gotten permits for any of the work in my shop (like putting up walls or running electric) so I really don’t want to invite the inspector to take a look. If I used a licensed electrician I doubt they would even bother looking at it. Maybe I’ll go that route and just plan on ripping it out if I ever move, as I plan to do to my shop walls and wiring. I know everything is safe, I just hate dealing with our Borough permitting guys.

Bent, I appreciate the input, but I still struggle with the estimate. $1000 to disconnect dozens of circuits, pull out an old fuse panel, install a new panel with dozens of new breakers, and reconnect everything doesn’t sound terrible. This is just mounting a small panel, moving two circuits, and providing one new breaker; $680 just seems steep to me. Maybe I’m just cheap.

-- John

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TopamaxSurvivor

14742 posts in 2325 days


#11 posted 06-10-2012 02:11 AM

You have lots of time involved getting a full service panel changed that still happens just adding a sub-panel. It is hard to get much done for less than 5 or 600 other than a basic service call to do a simple troubleshoot and repair. I very seldom quote anything but that at less than 500.

40 circuits is the max allowed in a panel board. If you have a full sized 40 circuit panel, you will have to use a sub. the double breakers that fit a single full sized space will not fit in your panel.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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jmos

681 posts in 1019 days


#12 posted 06-10-2012 03:29 AM

Topomax, I was hoping you would jump in. When you say 40 is the max, I assume you mean by code?

I do have a 40 breaker panel that is completely full; 38 installed by the original electrician and two I added. Physically, why wouldn’t double breakers fit in place of single breakers? It’s a Seimens panel with type QP breakers; it looks like they sell ones that are two breakers in a single width housing.

-- John

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TopamaxSurvivor

14742 posts in 2325 days


#13 posted 06-10-2012 03:44 AM

Yup, code limits manufacturers to 40. The panels and breakers are designed so you can’t put more than 40 in them. If you ave a 20/40, it will take doubles in all 20 spaces or 20 full sized. A 30/40, only 10 will take doubles or full sized, 20 will take full sized only making a total possible of 40. A 40 will not take any doubles, only full sized.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Rxmpo

250 posts in 2395 days


#14 posted 06-10-2012 05:24 AM

JMos- I’m no electrician, but i just had a 100amp sub-panel installed a few weeks ago in my basement. The wire (and it is a big “wire” ) is just run out of the 200amp main panel as one double 50amp breaker. I have a 30 slotted box that too was full. I thought I needed a new main, but he just cannibalized two of the slots somehow. He installed GFCI outlets off of the sub-panel.

Price $700. I had a friend who’s brother’s an electrician tell me to expect between $700-$800 for installation. Guy was done within 2 hours. I live within 3 hours of you up in NY so our prices should be similar. Happy I did it. This guy helped me in a jam before and wouldn’t take any money so I didn’t even think of shopping around, but there are lots of out of work union electricians around who might like a quick side job. Might be worth doing some searching if you have the time to wait.

View crashn's profile

crashn

518 posts in 1115 days


#15 posted 06-10-2012 11:18 AM

You are right, its not too bad to do. I did it myself, in EXACTLY the same way, but my subpanel is in the workshop, with 10/3 running between the main panel and sub. I recently had to do a service entrance upgrade, and only a Master electrician can pull the permit for that, and when the inspector came, he passed my work along with the electricians in one shot. I don’t even think he knew that the subpanel was done before the main panel upgrade.
Good luck and when done, you will enjoy the new service in your workshop :)

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

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