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Adding a new 15A circuit to this panel

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tomtheelder2020

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Wyr, I know that can be done safely, and have seen videos of it being done, but since I don't know ways it might be done unsafely - that means I can't do it safely. If I get more worried than I am now I will hire a pro. Thanks.
 

WyrTwister

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Very wise .

I have a good 40 years in the electrical trade ( pretty much retired now ) . Would be a non issue to me , but I figured you might be uneasy doing it your self . Therefore my mention of the need for caution .

Something you could do , relatively safely . Use a non contact infrared temperature gun . Check the temperature of the incoming power , out going power , terminations and circuit breakers . If it is not hot , it is not overloaded . A good preventative maintenance procedure , to .


God bless
Wyr
 

afjes_2016

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If most slots already filled, is there a concern about the new breaker exceeding the total amp capacity of the box? Thinking about this, I looked at my own box and found it is rated for 200 amps, has 20 slots for breakers, and has 9 breakers totaling 310 amps (including 2@50 amps and 2@40 amps). It has had that configuration for something like 20 years. Should I be on the phone with an electrician?
Adding up the total of the breakers is not the way to determine of your service is overloaded.
The only true way to do this is by doing a "Load Calculation" - there are many on the Internet to use.
Adding up the total breakers is not the way to do it because it is very highly unlikely that all breakers will be pulling full power at one time.
 

1HandyWoman

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Wonderful discussion on total loads. Thank you all very much for your thoughts. Not something that I was even considering.

However, I am not worried at all about total loads and here is why...

One, there is a 60A circuit that is wired for an electric laundry dryer and I have a gas dryer, also I do not have a microwave over in my house, and my hot water is also gas, so even if every elec appliance in the house was running at one time, I still think I would be under the total load. Two, my house is 2400 sq feet, three story, 4 bedrooms and I live alone (lol). So there is no possibility whatsoever that I would EVER use anywhere near the total load by myself.

I am also not worried about codes or code inspectors and here's why...

I am not getting any permits for this work I plan to do so no one ever needs to know the work was done and here's why. I am not adding a typical new circuit where I am running wires to a new garage or new addition or anything like that. What I AM adding is a new "Satic Whole House Electicity Managment System" (see attached pic). I plan to remove and take with me this unit if/when I ever sell this house so I can return the breaker panel box back to its present configuration before any nosey "inspector" ever sees the addition of the new breaker.

So I THINK I do not have any worries.

But I do have one new question. There is free space on the neutral bar for adding another wire but there is NOT any room on the ground bar to add another ground. So question can I double up the ground wire with another ground? Again I am not worried about "code" I am only worried about safety of doing that.
 

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tomtheelder2020

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Wyr and afjes, thanks for the ideas - I will look into both.

1Handy, my apologies for interfering in your thread. If I decide to post further I will start my own thread.
 

WyrTwister

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Looking at the file / photo , you need to connect to 2 hots ( on opposite phases ) , a neutral and an earth ground .

Not per code , but I would , personally put 2 grounds under one screw terminal , on the ground bar and be done with it .

If you have a 2 pole 60 amp circuit breaker that is not being used , I would remove and save it .

Remove the wires from the old circuit breaker ant wire nut / " cap " them . Remove the corresponding earth ground from the ground bar and install the new ground wire there .

Then install a 2 pole 15 o 20 amp circuit breaker to feed the new " filter " . Terminate the hots from the " filter " at the new circuit breaker ( with the CB in the off position ) .

God bless
Wyr
 

Jeff Handy

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I see two neutrals or grounds under one screw all the time.

It might even be allowed by code?

Not as bad as a double tap right on a breaker screw.
 

1HandyWoman

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Looking at the file / photo , you need to connect to 2 hots ( on opposite phases ) , a neutral and an earth ground .

Not per code , but I would , personally put 2 grounds under one screw terminal , on the ground bar and be done with it .

If you have a 2 pole 60 amp circuit breaker that is not being used , I would remove and save it .

Remove the wires from the old circuit breaker ant wire nut / " cap " them . Remove the corresponding earth ground from the ground bar and install the new ground wire there .

Then install a 2 pole 15 o 20 amp circuit breaker to feed the new " filter " . Terminate the hots from the " filter " at the new circuit breaker ( with the CB in the off position ) .

God bless
Wyr
Wyr you the man! Great Idea. Will do.

I also read the entire panel wiring instructions that are glued to the inside of the panel box door and it says that I can put two or even three grounds to one screw if the wire sizes are in the correct range 14-10 AWG. I don't know the size of the wires on the "filter" but I am quessing probably 14. Anyhow I think I now have the solution I need. Thanks everyone for your thoughts and ideas.
 

WyrTwister

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They say even a blind hog finds an acorn every once in a while . :)

I have over 40 years in the trade .

God bless
Wyr
 

1HandyWoman

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Ok Update. I installed the new filter and new circuit breaker yesterday. And I did NOT electrocute myself :).

I took the cover off the filter I installed and saw that a blue light was on (tells me the unit is on).

But, and this really confounds me, I tested all my circuits in the house and found the readings (I have a special meter I just bought for these measurements) have NOT changed one bit. In other words, the filter is NOT doing what it is supposed to do (reducing EMFs). I have a call into the tech support for the company that makes the filter but they are not open on the weekends.

So I searched their online FAQ page and found this listed under "why have my reading not changed" ...

"A common problem has been that the Neutral wire from the filter was installed on the Ground bar rather than the Neutral bar in the distribution panel".

So I made sure that I connected the neutral to the neutral bar, Check.

BUT I have had this question since I posted this thread. There is a bar running across the bottom row of breakers that connects the ground bar (on right of panel looking at pic) to the neutral bar (on left side of panel looking at pic). The ground bar is connected ONLY to the aluminum wire that comes out of the bottom of box and connected to big screw on top right of breakers. This aluminum wire looks like it was wrapped around the two hot service wires coming in the house.

I do NOT see any other ground wire going to ground. And it certainly seems that the ground and neutral are connected to the same bar (because they are physically connected).

IS IT POSSIBLE that my house is not grounded? Or if it is grounded I don't have a neutral pathway?

I am lost here.
 

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afjes_2016

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The horizontal bar looks like a jumper of something to connect the two side vertical bars that the breakers latch onto.
1HandyWomen the pictures you have provided so far are difficult to make out so I will go with what I see from the pictures.

So I searched their online FAQ page and found this listed under "why have my reading not changed" ...

"A common problem has been that the Neutral wire from the filter was installed on the Ground bar rather than the Neutral bar in the distribution panel".
I am going to have to assume that this is your main panel (since I can not see details of the wires in the panel). I quickly read thru all the posts for this thread to refresh my memory and again picture quality is poor.

From what I can see that "horizontal bar" is a connector for the two vertical bars in your panel. If this is your "main panel" then of course your neutrals and grounds are bonded together which is code. By the blurry picture is seems that one vertical bar has ground wires and one side has neutral wires - this means that neutral and ground is bonded as should be in a main panel.

So placing the neutral wire on the ground bar instead of the neutral bar in your case has no affect as they are bonded togther. Just because you placed the wire on the right side does not mean you placed it on an isolated neutral bar since once again the two vertical bars are bonded together.
 

1HandyWoman

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That last pic is pretty darn clear to me, or maybe I am just blind, IDK.

Yes this is my main panel (and my only panel).

So bonding neutral and ground is code? Then why have two "paths"?

Yes the horizontal bar is a connector that is what throws me off as I though neutral and ground were "supposed" to be different paths.


Your conclusion does not help me at all. Afjes said...

"So placing the neutral wire on the ground bar instead of the neutral bar in your case has no affect as they are bonded togther. Just because you placed the wire on the right side does not mean you placed it on an isolated neutral bar since once again the two vertical bars are bonded together."

This it my problem! I don't seem to have a different path for neutral from the ground path. This is why (I think) my filter is not working. IF this is code (it seems very odd to me but I am not an electrician so IDK) then how could putting the neutral on the ground bar ever cause any problems with the filter (as stated by the manufacturer) ?
 

WyrTwister

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OK , I am going to talk about some of the code issues . Not so much as to explain why . This does not cover all cases , but I am attempting to cover what the OP is most likely seeing / working with .

For many / most residential customers , if you have an overhead service , the utility meter is on the outside of the house . Often on the exterior wall . I understand it is possible for the meter to be inside the house ( basement , maybe ) but it is not done that in my area .

If you have an underground service , the utility meter is normally on the outside of the house . Often in the alley , on a utility pedestal or a wooden pole .

The first disconnecting means / overload device down stream of the meter is the " main " / service entrance . This can be at / inside the " house panel " , or separate from the house panel . Or the house panel may be at some distance & separate from the " main " service entrance .

The service entrance conductors from the meter to the " main " / service entrance , consists of a neutral and 2 " hots " for the typical residential service .

If the " main " / is inside the " house panel " , the house panel is the service entrance . Code allows / requires , in this instance , the neutral bar and the earth ground bar to be electrically connected / bonded . And this is where the grounding electrode conductor normally terminates . ( The grounding electrode conductor may , by code , be terminated at the meter neutral bar , but less commonly . )

At that panel and only at that panel .

Any sub-panel must have separate neutrals and earth ground conductors feeding it and terminated at separate neutral bars and earth ground bars . And the 2 " hots " .

If the " house panel " is separate from the " main " ( for instance on the outside of the house and the house panel is at a distance , say the garage ) 2 hots , a neutral and an earth ground conductors must be run between the two . And the neutral bar and earth ground bar must be separate . Because , per code , the house panel is a sub panel .

Neutral conductors are terminated at the neutral bar and earth grounds and branch circuit equipment grounds are terminated at the earth ground bar .

Now , as to what I can see from your photo .

You have a circuit beaker , at which the " hot " service entrance conductors terminate . If there is no " main " outside / separate from this house panel , then that circuit breaker is the " main " and the house panel is the service entrance . And what I can see of your neutral and earth ground bars are correct / legal .

I can not see a grounding electrode conductor , so I can not address that issue .

If the main is separate / at a distance from the house panel , then the house panel is a sub panel and the bar at the bottom of the house panel should not be there , connecting the neutral bar and the earth ground bar . And your house panel is not installed legally / per code / correctly .

Now , is your " filter " working correctly . I do not know , neither do I possess meters / instruments to verify .

If my answers are to long winded or confusing , then you should not question what information you are given by qualified persons .

There is a reason a journeyman electrician must have on the job work experience and pass an exam . In my case , I had in excess of 4 years of On the Job Training and of class room training .

God bless
Wyr
 
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Jeff Handy

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Your picture is not too bad, but not crisp and clear as would be preferred for a nice clear blown up inspection.
 

Jeff Handy

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Some panels such as sub panels have the neutral bars “floating”, as in not bonded to the metal cabinet with a screw, or tied in as yours is.

Main panels might not have the jumper, but electrically they act as the same point of attachment.

So this whole device seems kind of like quackery to me, but hopefully it really works and you will get it working with help from tech support.
 

WyrTwister

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I could not see well enough to determine if the panel in the photo had a bonding screw installed , or not .

If said panel is the panel with the " main " , the neutral bar and the earth ground bare are required to be bonded and the earth ground also is always bonded to the panel enclosure ( assuming said enclosure is metallic ) .

God bless
Wyr
 

1HandyWoman

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Wyr,

Yes the panel has a bonding screw and it is very difficult to see in person so a pic would be difficult to see it even if I had a better quality pic.

Yes the enclosure is metallic.

So bottom line I guess is that this configuration is correct, and code, and may or may not be the cause of the filter not working.

Jeff Handy, Yes I was sceptical also and therefore it took me a couple years of research until I felt that it was NOT quackery. But this situation now of the readings not changing is not helping my initial gut reaction at all. We will see.
 

dsteinhorn

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I do not see a large gauge grounding wire in the picture and I "assume" that the ground rod is outside at the meter, which we cannot see. The small sound wires entering at the bottom would not be sufficient by code (I believe requires a 4 AWG ground minimum) to handle a major current flow.

Also, I am not a licensed electrician but have been reviewing the code in preparation for putting a sub panel in my garage. I do not think that the additional wires running through the large coupling on the bottom with the service entrance cables is correct. The breaker'ed circuits should not be in the same conduit or entrance to the panel as the service entrance wires.
 

1HandyWoman

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I do not see a large gauge grounding wire in the picture and I "assume" that the ground rod is outside at the meter, which we cannot see. The small sound wires entering at the bottom would not be sufficient by code (I believe requires a 4 AWG ground minimum) to handle a major current flow.

Also, I am not a licensed electrician but have been reviewing the code in preparation for putting a sub panel in my garage. I do not think that the additional wires running through the large coupling on the bottom with the service entrance cables is correct. The breaker'ed circuits should not be in the same conduit or entrance to the panel as the service entrance wires.
You do not see any such grounding wire because as I stated earlier THERE IS NO GROUNDING WIRE! This house is NOT grounded.

But Wyr says that it is code to bond the neutrals to the grounds and both the neutral wires and the ground wires are all connected to the aluminum wire (shown in the pic on top right side of box). That large aluminum wire looks like it is wrapped around the two hot wires coming in from the utility elec meter (which is right behind this panel on outside of house).

This is why I have been so confused (and still am) as the house does NOT seem to be grounded at all and I can hardly beleive that is code!
 

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