Circuit Breaker Box Population
In my earlier post about adding circuits to the garage I mentioned having two open 15A slots. Well in the process of getting ready to add my new circuits I checked the breaker box to see what it's rating was and what what was already in it. Well to my surprise the box is a 100 Amp unit and there are 6 20amp breakers, 1 30amp breaker (furnace/air), and 1 40amp breaker (220 outlet for electric dryer). The 40 amp circuit is not being used but that still leaves 150 amps worth of breakers in use.
Would this be considered normal? Or did the person who converted this from a fuse box to a breaker box go wayyyy overboard? Would appreciate your insight.
This is generally normal.
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Though a panel may be rated for 100Amps, it is possible and even likely you have more than that in total circuit amperages by adding up breakers. The reason is that you will most likely never have air conditioning and heat on at the same time for example. The real amperage draw is most likely less at any given time than what is there in circuit breaker totals. Conversely, however, this is not to say that simply because you have a few empty spaces in the panel you can add some more outlets.
You really need to calculate the overall draw for your house and determine if you are beyond what the house and panel is rated for.
Wires into Fuse Box
Is there a way to tell which fuse controls which wire that is running into the top of the fuse box?
Well, yes. But it entails taking the panel cover off. It is ok to do this.. but you have to remember, there is live usually 220 volt power in there.. and it can kill. So if you take the cover off, you don't want to touch anything in there. Usually the cover is attached with four screws one in each corner. If you take the cover off, you can trace the wire (the Black wire) to the fuse. Use a permanent marker and label the wires above the box...either on the wire or on the floor joist or wall. Remember to be careful.. can't say that enough..and don't touch .. especially the bars that run down the center or any exposed black wires or the big wires supplying the box.
Electricity from House to Garage: What to Use?
I am in the process of placing electricity from the house to the garage. I have been advised to use a 60amp double breaker on 6 gauge wire to a panel in the garage. I have a 100amp homeline in the house. I need help with what type of panel I need in the garage that will support 220 amp. I would like to have 4-6 circuits out there.
I am not having any luck with the hardware stores. All they are stocking in 60 amp is generator panels.
Go to an electric supply and get a small 12 circuit panel, you don't have to use all the circuits, and if you do need them in the future you'll have them. A 60-amp sub-panel is what I have out to my woodworking shop, which is enough for a 220 volt table saw and other machinery. As far as wire size, it depends on how far your garage is from the house. You don't want to undersize it, for safety reasons. I have 4 gauge wire to my shop, which is approx. 60' from the house, it's probably overkill but I would rather be safe than sorry! Again, it allows for future expansion.
The other thing you need to consider is if you have space in your existing house panel to install this sub-panel. If you have 20 circuits (the max for 100-amp panel), you will have to upgrade to at least 150-amp service.
Consult a qualified electrician because you want to make sure everything is safe!!
Updating Electric Panel
I want to change the breaker panel box from 13 circuits to 20. Is this easy to do? Is it an all day job? Will there be step by step direction with the new box I buy do you think ?
This is not that easy. For one thing, you will need to have your power turned off while you transfer the main-power ,incoming wires. An electrician could do this in a day. How fast you can do it, though depends on your abilities.
There are a minimal of directions that come with a new box. I doubt there will be enough there for you to complete the whole job to code.
I've just updated by service from 100AMP to 200 AMP.
1. Recent regulations may require your Electric meter to be relocated to be directly behind the Electrical box. My house is only 25 years old, but the meter had to be moved.
2. The electric company must be called to verify the line will be able to carry the extra current.
3. In any case I'd check inside the outside Electric meterbox every few years for water leaking in and potential shorting. When they moved my meter it was scary what they found inside!! The electric company puts the meter on, wires it up to your house but once its connected to your home you own it. They tell me had I had a fire from their box and their wiring they are not responsible!!
4. With home upgrades like central air, pools or hot tubs along with electric dryers and stoves 200 AMP service is needed.
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