Monday, March 2, 2009

Subject: sub panel

Name: charlie
Question:
Im going to install a sub panel next to my main so I can run a 40 amp line out to my welder. I have no spaces left on my main which is a 100 amp. Initially I was going to remove the double pole 30 for the dryer in the main panel and install a double pole 50 with 6/3 awg to power the subpanel. I was going to use a 100 amp main lug panel. which when wired like this is really just a 50 amp panel. The welder and the dryer will be the only 2 circuits I will put in the sub. Question is would it be better to leave the double pole 30 breaker and the dryer line in the main panel and relocate two smaller circuits like a 15 0r 20 amp to make room for the 50 amp breaker that I need to energize the subpanel. I know that the welder when cranked up will draw about 25 amps and im not sure what the dryer draws exactly but you can see the concern I have putting both of them in the subpanel. The possibility of tripping the breaker if both are in use. What do you recomend thanx

Answer:
Hi Charlie,
It sounds to me like you need to upgrade your service to a 200 amp service with more spaces for breakers. Yes, you can add a sub-panel. Moving this here and that there is pushing your service equipment to its limit. As a rule of thumb, I do not like to load an electrical above 80% of capacity. I know it can be done but I also get the calls when things go bad. From my experience, it is time for you to look into upgrading to a larger electrical service. It will look better, last longer and give you a better foundation for a new electrical demand you may want to add in the future. Most of the time adding a sub panel like this is penny wise but dollar foolish.

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