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New construction panel completly full


Mark P
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I'm rushing to get this report out and am looking in the IRC, but want to ask here also.

Brand new construction with an unfinished basement. There are lights wired in the basement, but no outlets. The panel is full with no room to expand. Does not the NEC say there should be x% or # of circuits availabe for future expansion...

panel is not labeled.

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Thanks guys - the report is gone. I could find nothing that said it had to be such-n-such so I just wrote the following on the fly. I'm sure I could have word-smithed it a bit, but it had to go out.

"The electrical panel is completely full with no room to expand – since the breakers are not clearly labeled it is not evident if there are unused circuits available for use if the basement is finished. The panel should have been sized with enough room to accommodate additional circuits for future expansion such as a finished basement or hot tub. Ask the builder to clearly label all the breakers in the panel and to indicate which ones are for future expansion. If no circuits remain available then an electrician will need to expand the capability before future expansion is completed. "

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Fill 'er to the top.

The load calculation requirements need to be met, but I'm not going to be doing those calculations. If the house is all decked out with all the modern electrical appliances and luxuries available on the market, and running off a 60 Amp service, then it's over loaded. A qualified electrical contractor needs to do the calculations and replace the service panel etc.

Even a panel that appears to be full may be capable of expansion with the space saver breakers, provided the calculated total load does not exceed panel capacity.

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The panel should have been sized with enough room to accommodate additional circuits for future expansion

Not true, bad sentence for an official report.

Is the house 100% complete? Probably not because the wiring is not finished if the hot water heater and furnace are not wired yet (is that correct)

No electrical installation needs to plan for future expansion.

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Originally posted by AHIS

I'm rushing to get this report out and am looking in the IRC, but want to ask here also.

Brand new construction with an unfinished basement. There are lights wired in the basement, but no outlets. The panel is full with no room to expand. Does not the NEC say there should be x% or # of circuits availabe for future expansion...

panel is not labeled.

The circuits should be labeled.

There's no requirement to leave room for expansion. That's a design consideration and the NEC doesn't govern design issues.

The basement needs a receptacle.

The HVAC equipment needs a receptacle.

There's no reason why someone can't add a few receptacles to an existing circuit -- there's no limit on the number of receptacles on a given circuit in a dwelling.

If they need more room for more circuits, they can always add a sub panel.

How large was this service and how many breaker spaces were there in the panel?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by AHIS

It is a 100 amp service and there are 20 slots. They have 3 - 240v breakers and 18 120v breakers - 8 of which are tandum breakers so there are 2 circuits on each slot.

I would bet money that violates the maximum number of circuits allowed by the manufacturer of the panel. If I count that correctly you have 32 circuits there, and I've never heard of a 100 or 125 amp panel that allowed more than 24 (most stop at 20). You'd have to check the label on the panel to see exactly what they had in mind.

Brian G.

Pile 'Em In [:-crazy]

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Originally posted by kurt

Was there ever a requirement for a percentage of the panel to be left open (in new construction)?

I seem to recall that from my HUD days.

No such requirement that I can find in the NEC.

The idea of planning ahead for future use was something that H.P. Richter and, later, Creighton Schwan firmly advocated the many editions of "Wiring Simplified." Since, I suspect, most of us grew up with this book, that may be why we think it's a requirement.

Because it's so very relavant, here's an excerpt. It's the introduction to Chapter Two:

At one time or another you have bought something that you felt was a "good buy"; later you were disapopointed, felt that you could have done better. Plan your electrical installation so that you will not be disappointed later, but will still be pleased with it five or fifteen years or more after it is completed. Do not skimp on the original installation . Teo add outlets to an installation later usually costs several times as much as including them in the original job.

In planning your installation, look ahead to the equipment that you are going to be using five or even fifteen years from now. Consider electric cooking, water heating, air conditioning, and even appliances that are not on the market today. Do that, and you will have what is known as "adequate wiring"; you will be making a "good buy " in your wiring job.

If in wiring your buildings, you follow the Code strictly, you will produce a safe installation. But it will not necessarily be a convenient, efficient or practical installation. That will come about only if you most carefully plan your job.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Brian G

Originally posted by AHIS

It is a 100 amp service and there are 20 slots. They have 3 - 240v breakers and 18 120v breakers - 8 of which are tandum breakers so there are 2 circuits on each slot.

I would bet money that violates the maximum number of circuits allowed by the manufacturer of the panel. If I count that correctly you have 32 circuits there, and I've never heard of a 100 or 125 amp panel that allowed more than 24 (most stop at 20). You'd have to check the label on the panel to see exactly what they had in mind.

Brian G.

Pile 'Em In [:-crazy]

I can't find where the label states the max # of circuits allowed.

I'll upload the pic, but you'll have to zoom in to read it.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif 1.jpg

1530.21 KB

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Originally posted by Jeremy

Is the new construction a whole house or addition to existing home? I just thought all new homes were getting at least a 200 Amp service with all the modern day appliances going into them. Maybe a cop out from doing the load calculations?

There are condominiums being built around here with 100 amps systems and houses with 125-amp systems and folks don't seem to be having any problems handling what look to be very normal loads to me.

I agree that a 200-amp service provide a whole lot more wiggle room but I don't think it's essential. Heck, FHA just increased it's requirement and that's only 100 amps.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by AHIS

Originally posted by Brian G

Originally posted by AHIS

It is a 100 amp service and there are 20 slots. They have 3 - 240v breakers and 18 120v breakers - 8 of which are tandum breakers so there are 2 circuits on each slot.

I would bet money that violates the maximum number of circuits allowed by the manufacturer of the panel. If I count that correctly you have 32 circuits there, and I've never heard of a 100 or 125 amp panel that allowed more than 24 (most stop at 20). You'd have to check the label on the panel to see exactly what they had in mind.

Brian G.

Pile 'Em In [:-crazy]

I can't find where the label states the max # of circuits allowed.

I'll upload the pic, but you'll have to zoom in to read it.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif 1.jpg

1530.21 KB

The schematic on the right shows only 20 breakers. No tandems or wafers are permitted in this panel.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

The schematic on the right shows only 20 breakers. No tandems or wafers are permitted in this panel.

Agreed. It may or may not be overloaded in terms of amps, but it's definitely in violation of the manufacturer's specs on maximum number of circuits. It happens a lot.

Brian G.

Warranty, Thou Art Null & Void [:-wiltel]

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Looked at a house with a 100amp main panel in it yesterday. Gas radiant central furnace in this little chalet, well pump, electric hot water, etc.

The hot water tank was in full gear, the furnace was on, the well was pumping away and multiple lights were on.

Guess what the total amp draw was on the SE conductors?

How about 19.8A

Good thing the fridge did not kick on or it would have shot up to over 27! ;)

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