Factors to Consider When Deciding to Add an Electrical Subpanel In Your House
Keep in mind that the location and size of the subpanel are essential factors to consider. The electric company provides power to your home through the service entrance. An electric meter and, often, a disconnect is on the way to the electrical panel in your home. Panels like this one can be either fuses or breakers. These panels have evolved throughout time. When the fuses are blown, the fuse link melts, releasing a predetermined amount of current. Using fuses or circuit breakers is responsible for safeguarding the wiring in the home from damage caused by an overload. A circuit breaker can be reused, while a fuse can only be used once. However, circuit breakers have predetermined limits as well, but trip when the limit is exceeded and can be reset. For this reason, the term “fuse blow” or “circuit breaker trip” is used.
Including a Subpanel when installing the Main Panel Installation
To properly size your subpanels for the anticipated load can be not easy. You’ll need to consider the power you’ll need and the leading service’s capabilities before deciding. A 100-amp subpanel can be added to a 200-amp top service for a shed, garage, or barn, as an example. Powering an additional section of your home can be done with a 60-amp subpanel. The only way to get around this is if you have a 60-amp service and wish to install a 60-amp subpanel.
On the other hand, many modern dwellings can already use close to 200 amps. In other words, an additional 100-amp subpanel isn’t always an option if space is limited. If you have doubts about the subpanel’s size, contact a professional contractor.
A minimum of a 12-slot circuit breaker panel should be installed when installing a subpanel. Lighting and general circuitry should be able to fit in this space. You may need additional circuit breakers if you want to install central air conditioning or baseboard heaters, as well as a more prominent main breaker if you plan to install many more 240-volt appliances such as ovens, stoves, and 240-volt window air conditioners.
The reduced voltage drop from longer circuit wiring runs is another benefit provided by subpanels. The panel is centrally located to reduce circuit wiring lines to the bare minimum. Panel feeder wires are more efficient than several cables that must travel long distances to reach the desired location for power distribution.
According to the National Electrical Code, subpanels and main panels must adhere to rules (NEC). It is required that electrical panels have a minimum clearance in front of them, a clearance across their faces, and a clearance of 78 inches above their top edge from the floor. You’ll get a decent notion of what’s needed if you visualize an invisible phone booth with an electrical panel on one of the walls. On the other hand, the NEC goes a bit farther in its specifications. Ideally, the panel should be placed in a dry area with easy access. Never mount a panel in a bathroom, indoor swimming pool area, or damp environment. It should only be used in non-flammable areas.
Precautions to Take
Finally, if installing a subpanel, remember to cut off the electricity before starting any work. You won’t be stunned if the electricity is turned off. Just a few seconds of contact with electricity can result in severe injury or even death, yet it only takes a few minutes to turn off the power. Take a moment to consider how much time you’ll waste arguing with yourself over why you can’t switch off the panel’s electricity. Do not become a victim of your success or failure.