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How to Plan for a Sub Panel
©Copyright Dave Rongey - Summary:
Planning for an Electric Sub Panel: Identifying Panel Circuits and Connected Loads. Sub Panels are installed and used for several reasons including expanding the circuit breaker capacity of the main electrical panel
Sub Panels for Expanding Circuit Capacity
Electrical Question: Can I branch out another small panel board from the main panel board just to separate a set of appliances?
I’m planning to branch out one of the 30amp in the main panel board to a new panel board with 1 30amp as the main load and 2 20amp breaker as branches.
This electrical question came from: Art, from Manila, Philippines.
Dave the Electrician’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Art.
Planning for an Electric Sub Panel
Application: Adding a Sub Panel.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor, Not Recommended for Homeowners.
Tools Required: Electricians pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for installing the sub-panel.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and size of the panel and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing electrical wiring within the immediate area that may interfere with the installation of the sub panel should be identified and turned OFF and Tagged if necessary. Working in an electric panel is dangerous due to arc flash hazards and the possibility of electric shock.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring and a sub-panel should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Identifying Panel Circuits and Connected Loads
- Sub Panels are installed and used for several purposes including expanding the physical circuit breaker capacity of the main electrical panel.
- Planning for the sub panel is extremely important for the project to be successful. The potential circuit loads need to be identified.
- The electrical load capacity of the main electrical panel must be able to support the existing loads and the proposed additional loads.
- Once the additional circuit loads have been identified then the amperage size of the sub panel may be determined.
- The size of the sub panel will determine the required size of electrical cable to be installed and the circuit breaker for the feeder circuit.
- It is best to have a qualified electrical contractor install a sub panel project.
- Sub panels should be installed by permit and receive the required inspections to ensure the project is installed correctly.
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.