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40 space panel and double breakers


mridgeelk
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There are six double breakers in this 40 space panel, there are several issues with this panel but my question is

did this amount of double breakers ever conform to the NEC? It was built 1972+/-. It has radiant ceiling heat which was supplied by some of the 220 breakers near the bottom. Some of them are no longer connected as the system has been not used by the current owner. No one knows if the ceiling heat was installed at the time of original construction.

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No, none of the manufacturers has ever gone past 40 circuits in a 200 amp panel that I know of. You can get 42 in a 225 amp, or even more in a commercial panel, but not in a residential. In terms of the manufacturers specs, it's wrong.

Then there's the other (possibly moot?) question, of whether the panel is actually pulling anywhere near the 200 amps it's rated for. Probably not, but you can't know that without figuring it up correctly.

I'd write it up and at advise them to at least have the load calculated by an electrician, but also suggest they consider adding a sub panel. Even if it's not a hazard as is, they have no room to expand.

Brian G.

Chock Full & Then Some [:-crazy]

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The subpanel is an definitely an option but abandoning the ceiling heat, which is likely, would create several openings, possibly returning it to its original format. I just checked the panel in my home, which I built in 1994, and it is a 200 amp with 41 circuits. At the time I asked the electrician about the double breaker that was installed, he said that up to 10% of breakers in the panel could be doubled

Originally posted by Brian G

No, none of the manufacturers has ever gone past 40 circuits in a 200 amp panel that I know of. You can get 42 in a 225 amp, or even more in a commercial panel, but not in a residential. In terms of the manufacturers specs, it's wrong.

Then there's the other (possibly moot?) question, of whether the panel is actually pulling anywhere near the 200 amps it's rated for. Probably not, but you can't know that without figuring it up correctly.

I'd write it up and at advise them to at least have the load calculated by an electrician, but also suggest they consider adding a sub panel. Even if it's not a hazard as is, they have no room to expand.

Brian G.

Chock Full & Then Some [:-crazy]

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Originally posted by mridgeelk

The subpanel is an definitely an option but abandoning the ceiling heat, which is likely, would create several openings, possibly returning it to its original format.

Yep, that could work too.

I just checked the panel in my home, which I built in 1994, and it is a 200 amp with 41 circuits. At the time I asked the electrician about the double breaker that was installed, he said that up to 10% of breakers in the panel could be doubled.

I don't know where he came up with that, but it surely wasn't from the manufacturers specs or the NEC. I'd have to see hard documentation to buy that one. Manufacturers are supposed to make these various "expansion" type breakers so they can only be installed in designated locations, but most can be easily defeated and the one in this case, the Square D QO-2020, will plug in anywhere on a Square D panel. The original idea was to be able to get 40 circuits out of almost any 200 amp panel; a 20 circuit would take 'em everywhere; a 30 circuit would allow 10 extras, etc.

Brian G.

Give 'Em an Inch.... [:-headach

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Brian is 99.9% right. (The Cutler-Hammer CH panel is a 42/42 panel) but thats semantics. Your slick willy electrician is full of it with the 10% BS.

The panel you show is a Square D 40/40 panel. If you look on the inside, usually, left side of the enclosure there is a label that will state 40 circuits max. All square D panels have this label on the inside of the enclosure to dictate the max circuits allowed in the panel. As Brian said, aside from the CH panel it's 40 circuits max. for a residential panel. Easily resolved though, right write it up and move on.

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Originally posted by Brian G

Originally posted by Kyle Kubs

(The Cutler-Hammer CH panel is a 42/42 panel) but thats semantics.

And it isn't a 225 instead of a 200? Got a link?

Brian G.

Is Circuit Escalation Afoot? [:-magnify

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It's basically the same enclosure/bus as the 225 just with a 200 amp main breaker and a stepped down rating.

Interesting to note that none of the CH panels allow more circuits then the # of spaces. The BR series you can get 30/40 panels and such but with the CH series a 30 space bus is 30 circuits max. and so on.

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Originally posted by Brian G

*sigh*

Well, I guess somebody just haaaad to do it sooner or later. I smell one-upsmanship.

Thanks for the info Kyle.

Brian G.

Will the Competition Follow, Or Even Raise the Bet? [:-dunce]

Aw come on now. No pouting...

If we look back in the archives I probably owe you 2 or 3 more...

It wasn't fair anyway, I have a Cutler-Hammer fetish. [:-bigeyes Don't ask.

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Originally posted by Kyle Kubs

Aw come on now. No pouting...

Not at all. I should have been clearer, if you meant this:

"Well, I guess somebody just haaaad to do it sooner or later. I smell one-upsmanship."

I was speaking of Cutler-Hammer's decision to inch farther out on the number-of-circuits limb, not you bro'.

My bad. [:I]

Brian G.

Steering Clear of the Fetish Thing [:-taped][;)]

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Without being there it is hard to tell. I found many electric heated homes had some circuits dual wired for both small heaters, (bath, den, etc) and window air conditioners, the theory being that the heat would not be used if you need air. I don't remember where I heard it or learned it, but I was always aware of the 10% over rule. You could have a few doubles. But, being an old fart, I can't always remember what I had for breakfast. If the ceiling heat, (which always was installed during construction) is not being used the circuits are basically open and available for other things.

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Originally posted by sleuth255

ummm I count 37 circuits in that panel. If its rated for 40 isn't it ok from a number of circuits allowed perspective?

I never counted them, I just let my feeble brain add the 40 & the 6 Ed mentioned, but danged if you aren't right. I count 37 as well. Duh!!! [:-paperba

Good catch Kevin. [:-thumbu]

Brian G.

Count First, Post Later [:-dunce]

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I also count 37 when the 220 breakers are counted as one circuit each. I stand corrected. However it is not uncommon to have ceiling radiant heat as a retrofit in this area. Ed

Originally posted by Brian G

Originally posted by sleuth255

ummm I count 37 circuits in that panel. If its rated for 40 isn't it ok from a number of circuits allowed perspective?

I never counted them, I just let my feeble brain add the 40 & the 6 Ed mentioned, but danged if you aren't right. I count 37 as well. Duh!!! [:-paperba

Good catch Kevin. [:-thumbu]

Brian G.

Count First, Post Later [:-dunce]

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So I also went looking in the NEC for the 10% rule and didn't find it either. I did find this however:

408.54 Maximum Number of Overcurrent Devices.

A panelboard shall be provided with physical means to prevent the installation of more overcurrent devices that that for which the panelboard was designed, rated, and listed. For the purposes of this section, a 2-pole circuit breaker or fusible switch shall be considered two overcurrent devices; a 3-pole circuit breaker or fusible switch shall be considered three overcurrent devices.

Sooo... while it has 37 circuits, this panel also has 46 overcurrent devices in it. I guess if Square-D lists a maximum number of breakers as part of the rating then you would need to compare that to see if the panel needs to be written up. I bet there isn't such a spec though or you would think that the construction of the panel itself would be a violation of 408.54. [:-bigeyes

There's a few other nit-picky things that would bug me about this panel though. For example, shouldn't those white wires on the bottom 2-pole breakers be coded hot? To me that's sloppy at the very least and would cause me to become interested in the other end of the branch circuits...

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Originally posted by sleuth255

408.54 Maximum Number of Overcurrent Devices.

A panelboard shall be provided with physical means to prevent the installation of more overcurrent devices that that for which the panelboard was designed, rated, and listed. For the purposes of this section, a 2-pole circuit breaker or fusible switch shall be considered two overcurrent devices; a 3-pole circuit breaker or fusible switch shall be considered three overcurrent devices.

Ah-so. That would be what I was referring to when I said:

"Manufacturers are supposed to make these various "expansion" type breakers so they can only be installed in designated locations, but most can be easily defeated and the one in this case, the Square D QO-2020, will plug in anywhere on a Square D panel. The original idea was to be able to get 40 circuits out of almost any 200 amp panel; a 20 circuit would take 'em everywhere; a 30 circuit would allow 10 extras, etc."

With the exception of the Cutler Hammer, they never intended for anyone to put more than 40 OCD's in one 200 amp panel.

Sooo... while it has 37 circuits, this panel also has 46 overcurrent devices in it.

I think we have to assume they would count the 2020's as two since they count double poles as two, so I agree.

I guess if Square-D lists a maximum number of breakers as part of the rating then you would need to compare that to see if the panel needs to be written up. I bet there isn't such a spec though or you would think that the construction of the panel itself would be a violation of 408.54.

Well, like I said before, many of those "physical means to prevent", aka "designated spaces", are poorly designed and easily defeated. It would be interesting though, if a manufacturer actually had one number for maximum circuits (counting double poles as one circuit per usual), but another for maximum OCD's.

There's a few other nit-picky things that would bug me about this panel though. For example, shouldn't those white wires on the bottom 2-pole breakers be coded hot?

By code, sure.

Brian G.

Oh What a Tangled Web They Weave [:-boggled

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