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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    Default Help with addition wiring

    Due to my rapidly growing family I'm putting a two bedroom addition on our 2500 sq ft, 1979 tri-level house. The add-on will be roughly 650 sq ft split between the two new rooms.

    I'm toying with the idea or wiring it myself and even if I hire it out I'm trying to wrap my head around the best way to have it done.

    It's the original 200A split bus panel that isn't going to be replaced as part of this addition. My main question is whether to pull a 60-amp downstream panel to the addition (roughly 30 feet away) and work from there or to just pull the circuits directly off the service.

    Physically, either one appears easy enough. In practice, I'm worrying about overloading the 60amp lower bus at the service if I stick 4 or 5 more circuits onto it (some electric heat, a dedicated 120V hot tub circuit and the light/plug circuits for the living space). The downstream panel would likely cost more in materials but just seems to be a more sure way of splitting up the load through the existing service panel.

    Pics are below... any thoughts/help are much appreciated.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    It looks like you're running out of room in the lower bus side of the panel. I'd run feeders to another panel. Can you find AFCI breakers for your existing panel? If so, what's the cost? With a new panel, breakers will probably be cheaper. If you ever want to add circuits in the future, there's more room that way as well. Just some thoughts.


  3. #3
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    Here's an idea ... barter.

    Why not let the carpenter, rocker, painter, roofer, etc., do your inspections for you, so you have the time to do your carpentry, rocking, painting, and roofing?

    What did someone just say? The trades are not qualified to do home inspections? Then what makes you think HI's are qualified to do any skilled trade?

    "But it's only ..." Why, then, does it take several years of both book learning AND hands-on work to become a journeyman in any trade? Perhaps because these are SKILLED trades?


  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    My main question is whether to pull a 60-amp downstream panel to the addition (roughly 30 feet away) and work from there or to just pull the circuits directly off the service.
    That is the best way to go.

    Your split-bus panel serves as the service equipment, with the top half being the mains, and you are allowed to have up to 6 mains. You currently are only showing 4 mains - so add a new main in the upper main section for the new remote panel in the addition.

    Also solves worrying about voltage drop, being able to get AFCI breakers for that old panel, other things too - you or your electrician will be wiring from the new remote panel.

    Whatever you do, just don't let John install that new remote panel in your bedroom clothes closet.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
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    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    Having done many situations like this ...
    - I'd replace the panel to start, the one you have is old. My main reason though would be as Brandon mentioned, breaker cost/availability. A new panel is only ~$120. plus a bunch of breakers, roughly $200 material cost. Around here that's a +/- $500-700 swap out depending on how well you know the guy. You could swap it out yourself but if you haven't done it before or have apprenticed with an electrician I wouldn't recommend it.
    - Typically for what you are talking about we would run two or three 3/4" conduit from the panel to the new addition. That usually handles everything. Material cost is reasonable; run each line towards a sector of the addition and splice off main runs for each room.
    Subpanels (oh, oh, here comes Jerry) aren't popular around here in RES. Usually just see them for garages with tools or weird installs.
    As far as saving money, if you feel confident about your piping ability, maybe pipe it out and have your E run the wires and do the connections.
    Good luck

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  6. #6
    Michael Schirmer's Avatar
    Michael Schirmer Guest

    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    Here's an idea ... barter.

    Why not let the carpenter, rocker, painter, roofer, etc., do your inspections for you, so you have the time to do your carpentry, rocking, painting, and roofing?

    What did someone just say? The trades are not qualified to do home inspections? Then what makes you think HI's are qualified to do any skilled trade?

    "But it's only ..." Why, then, does it take several years of both book learning AND hands-on work to become a journeyman in any trade? Perhaps because these are SKILLED trades?

    WOW! Not necessary. This is why I'm starting to dislike this resource. Licensed building inspectors don't pretend to do carpentry, rocking, painting and roofing. We are licensed building inspectors. It's a conflict of interest under our standards of practice. I can tell you the right way to do it, or I can tell you it's not done right - but I'm not the one who's going to fix it. I'll refer a client to somebody licensed in that trade to do the work. The skilled trades get a lot of business from our building inspections. If you were in my market though - you wouldn't get any referrals from me...


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Schirmer View Post
    WOW! Not necessary.
    I agree that John's post was unnecessary, but that is the way it is with these forums.

    Then again, your post added nothing either, so was it also "unnecessary"? Think about it.

    This is why I'm starting to dislike this resource.
    Your choice, your loss.

    Licensed building inspectors don't pretend to do carpentry, rocking, painting and roofing. We are licensed building inspectors. It's a conflict of interest under our standards of practice. I can tell you the right way to do it, or I can tell you it's not done right - but I'm not the one who's going to fix it. I'll refer a client to somebody licensed in that trade to do the work. The skilled trades get a lot of business from our building inspections. If you were in my market though - you wouldn't get any referrals from me...
    Huh?

    Michael - did you even bother to read the original post that he was going to be working on his own house ... or am I reading this wrong and you were responding to John, who said nothing about the above? You've lost me there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    The way I see it, we should be able to install it, or we shouldn't be inspecting it.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    The way I see it, we should be able to install it, or we shouldn't be inspecting it.
    How would you propose to satisfy the licensing and permitting requirements? There are jurisdictions here where any installation of new wiring would require a permit by a licensed electrician. Homeowners would not be allowed to even work in their own home.

    Also just because you may know how to perform a HI does not mean that you would know the code requirements for proper circuitry and other nuances that home inspection does not require a knowledge of.

    Maybe you shouldn't be inspecting it if you can't install it?


  10. #10

    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    How would you propose to satisfy the licensing and permitting requirements?
    Any homeowner in this state can pull a permit and install the wiring in their home without being a licensed electrician.

    I may have woken up on the wrong side of the bed when I posted my original statement. I recant my initial statement.

    Maybe you shouldn't be inspecting it if you can't install it?
    Hmmmmm. I could say that about more than one electrician that I have run into. With any trade, there's some good ones, and some not so good ones.

    Last edited by Brandon Whitmore; 10-26-2009 at 02:01 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by ben jacks View Post
    First up, as you know Brandon is correct for the owner-builder being able to pull the permits. So you can run the job and legally sub out everything including the electrical ...

    IN FLORIDA (to make sure to all I am not referring to Washington or Oregon) - the homeowner can pull the permits and act as their own contractor .. BUT ... THEY also MUST DO THE WORK THEMSELVES.

    *IF* the homeowner pulls the permits and "subs out everything" those persons are "contractors" and are required to be licensed. ANYONE other than the homeowner who does the work for renumeration (payment of any type, even beer) becomes a "contractor" and had better be licensed.

    Can "Uncle Bob" help? Sure, as long as the homeowner does not pay Uncle Bob for the work.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
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    Default Re: Help with addition wiring

    Thanks everyone for the ideas and help. I really appreciate it...

    I was already leaning towards pulling a new panel from the upper bus of the existing service and everyone's advice confirmed it. It will be nice to have room to expand from either location.

    The existing furnace and water heater are gas so I can't really see running into an issue with the overall load of the house exceeding the 200A (even if they were electric I think there's plenty to spare). The new rooms will be servied by the forced air furnace but I am putting in electric heaters purely as backup/convenience so as to not have to blow the furnace through the whole house for just a room or two.

    Whether or not I hire it out will largely come down to how busy I stay doing HI over the next month or so. Somewhat surprisingly my schedule has been pretty full the last few weeks.

    The framers are fighting the rain to cut into the roof and finish up this week so I should be looking at wiring in few weeks or month from now. If history is any indicator I'll have plenty of time but who knows.....

    Thanks again everyone.... your input and advice is very valuable.


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