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handy 12-15-2013 04:56 PM

Adding breakers to panel
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I'm just beginning to look the situation over in preparation for some electrical work and would like to add two or three more circuits through my panel. From the outside of the box it appeared that it shouldn't be a problem since there are 9 more knockout plugs for additional breakers. Then I removed the cover and found that the central bar for the neutral connection of the breakers doesn't extend the full length of the panel. Not what I expected. Can someone explain the reasons for this? Can the neutral bar be extended somehow? Should I just figure on using the piggyback breakers to gain the additional circuits, or are those still considered acceptable these days? I've attached a couple of pics, for what it's worth.

JoeD 12-15-2013 05:33 PM

That panel has room for one more breaker. I don't know if it will accept tandems. My guess is probably not.

Wuzzat? 12-15-2013 06:55 PM

If you're going to work on the panel you should wear level 1 or level 2 arc-flash gear.

handy 12-16-2013 04:48 PM

Just re-read my post and realized I misspoke when referring to the "central bar" in the panel as the "neutral". It's actually the hot legs that the breakers connect to that I'm referring to, and I'm guessing that JoeD and Wuzzat? made that assumption but just didn't call me on it. So no more posting for me while my back pain meds are working their magic...

nealtw 12-16-2013 05:32 PM

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Liukely easier to change the box or if you can get breaker to fit that give 2 for one. WQhile youy are in there you should put a gromet on that loose wire entering the box on the right.

Countryboy26047 12-19-2013 03:35 PM

What type of future work are we talking here? Looks like that's only a 100 amp service, which honestly isn't quite sufficient for today's demands, however it will work as long as your not planning something like say, a heat pump unit, electric furnace etc... Last year, I was having a heat pump w/electric air handler installed in my house.. I already had 200 amp service, however I needed to be able to add a couple double-pole breakers to my load center.. I had the old style push-matic breaker system, and for the 3 breakers I needed, it was going to cost me close to $300... I put a whole new load center, with all the breakers I needed plus some spares for less than that so keep that in mind for sure...

If you find you do need 200amp service, that is something I would DEFINITELY say hire a professional licensed electrician, as with that type of change, 99% of the time you have to change your feed wire, power mast, and ground wire (sometimes even the power meter needs changed, but that is the P.C.'s concern).

handy 12-19-2013 05:05 PM

Yes, it is only 100amp service. I'm not looking to add any high-load devices, but would like to add some outlets around the house as I remodel my way through it. I'd like to reroute and/or replace some of the existing wiring as well. The house was built in 1945 (concrete block on a slab) and it looks like a few different "ways of thinking" have had their hands on the electrical system. It's apparently been "updated" (so to speak) a few times and needs corrected. Not having any issues with popping breakers or anything like that, but I know it's not really "right" either. The deeper I look into it the closer I'm coming to getting a pro in here to get some estimates and info. Might check into the cost of upgrading to 200amp while we're at it.

nealtw 12-19-2013 05:17 PM

That would be the best way to start.

Countryboy26047 12-19-2013 07:18 PM

Probably your best bet especially if you don't have much experience with electrical design/theory. I got lucky and have a good friend who has been a certified electrician for a lot of years and has taught me a whole hell of a lot that I thought I knew before lol.. As far as the service, if your going to end up having the load center replaced and lots of wiring, best bet would be to shell out a few extra bucks and get the 200 amp service, that way down the road you decide to add more draw to the system, it's already done and your not paying twice for it.

Wuzzat? 12-20-2013 12:55 PM

Rewiring a house

By the outlet: $82 average per outlet, half the jobs cost between $38 and $105.
By the square foot: $5.30 per sf, half between $4.30 & $6.60.

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