Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    81

    Default Sub-panel service cable

    I was told years ago that sub-panel service wires must be of the four conductor type. I'm not sure if this is true for sub-panels with a mix of 120 and 240v circuits, panels with just 240v circuits or both. The sub-panel from todays inspection just had a three wire service cable (one entering box on right side).

    Similar Threads:
    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld

  2. #2
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
    Roger Frazee Guest

    Default Re: Sub-panel service cable

    Is this a non-metallic panel?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Sub-panel service cable

    A 40-amp breaker services this sub-panel and the panel is for the a/c air handler and compressor. The panel is plastic.


  4. #4
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
    Roger Frazee Guest

    Default Re: Sub-panel service cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Roshak View Post
    A 40-amp breaker services this sub-panel and the panel is for the a/c air handler and compressor. The panel is plastic.
    The 40 amp breaker protecting the feeder to that panel would be determined from the calculated load of the compressor and air handler. So no way to tell if that is correct or if the feeder conductors are correct without the information for the electrical supply for those a/c units. I'm not sure that would be in requirements of a home inspection .

    There are two metallic cable clamps .. these should be changed to nonmetallic type. Other wise if one of those clamps is too tight damaging the insulation of a hot conductor ...the metal clamp could come to line voltage and pose a shock hazard. There is no fault path to the feeder grounding conductor thru plastic. A circuit breaker will not trip.


  5. #5
    Joseph Stevens's Avatar
    Joseph Stevens Guest

    Default Re: Sub-panel service cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Roshak View Post
    A 40-amp breaker services this sub-panel and the panel is for the a/c air handler and compressor. The panel is plastic.
    Isn't anyone going to point out that the panel is fed by a 40 amp breaker and wire that appears to be no larger than 12 ga.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Sub-panel service cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Stevens View Post
    Isn't anyone going to point out that the panel is fed by a 40 amp breaker and wire that appears to be no larger than 12 ga.
    Hard to say from the picture... it could be 10 gauge from days before romex was color coded. If I had to guess I'd agree that it looks like 12 gauge.


  7. #7
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
    Roger Frazee Guest

    Default Re: Sub-panel service cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Stevens View Post
    Isn't anyone going to point out that the panel is fed by a 40 amp breaker and wire that appears to be no larger than 12 ga.
    It is not uncommon for protection to be sized much larger than the ampacity of the branch circuit conductor for air condtioning equipment. Same for feeders. It is possible for a 12 awg nm-b with 25 amp ampacity serving a compressor and fan motor having a combined rla of 22 amps to be protected by a 40 amp breaker.

    In the pictured panel a feeder with #12 awg is going to require some very small equipment for the air handler and compressor as for running load amps. As an example the air handler could be 10 amps rla and the compressor 12 amps rla on the nameplates. The feeder conductors would then be (1.25 x 12) + 10 = 25 amps which could be served by a #12 awg nm-b cable as a feeder. If the maximum breaker allowed for the compressor was 30 amps (not likely) then the feeder protection would be 30 + 10 amps (rla) for air handler = 40 amps protection on 12 awg.

    We need more information to be positive.

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 09-10-2010 at 11:46 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Sub-panel service cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    It is not uncommon for protection to be sized much larger than the ampacity of the branch circuit conductor for air condtioning equipment. Same for feeders. It is possible for a 12 awg nm-b with 25 amp ampacity serving a compressor and fan motor having a combined rla of 21 amps to be protected by a 40 amp breaker.

    In the pictured panel a feeder with #12 awg is going to require some very small equipment for the air handler and compressor as for running load amps. As an example the air handler could be 10 amps rla and the compressor 12 amps rla on the nameplates. The feeder conductors would then be (1.25 x 12) + 10 = 25 amps which could be served by a #12 awg nm-b cable as a feeder. If the maximum breaker allowed for the compressor was 30 amps then the feeder protection would be 30 + 10 amps (rla) for air handler = 40 amps.
    This is interesting... I'm aware of the undersizing of wire being okay for an A/C compressor but didn't know (or never really considered) it being okay for an entire panel serving A/C equipment. I'm just shooting from the hip here but I'd think a panel's feeder would have to be sized to match the breaker at the service equipment that protects it. If for no other reason, because a panel could be used for something different than what it was initially installed for.


  9. #9
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
    Roger Frazee Guest

    Default Re: Sub-panel service cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    This is interesting... I'm aware of the undersizing of wire being okay for an A/C compressor but didn't know (or never really considered) it being okay for an entire panel serving A/C equipment. I'm just shooting from the hip here but I'd think a panel's feeder would have to be sized to match the breaker at the service equipment that protects it. If for no other reason, because a panel could be used for something different than what it was initially installed for.
    Matt

    I was giving an example where this could be true to have #12 protected by a 40 amp breaker. If this feeder was labeled A/C equipment and that was considered its only use and probably would be then it would be ok ... but I do not think the loads are going to allow that #12 wire in Richards post. In a residential setting you would calculate the loads and come up with your minimum size feeder for the installed equipment. That panel being 4 spaces is only going to handle 2 double pole breakers so you would likely maintain the panel as a/c only.
    On the other hand if I was running general purpose branch circuits out of that panel .. say one double pole for base board heat and 2 120 volt circuits for lights or receptacles I would likely supply a feeder equal to the rating of the panel. There would also be no reason to not supply the maximum size feeder if you wanted, regardless of what the panel served as long as it meets the load requirements.
    If I were wiring that panel in a residential setting to serve A/C equipment I would give it the maximum feeder ampacity possible for the panel rating to allow for upgrades in the future assuming the panel rating allowed enough amperage to make that possible.
    Frankly I'm not familiar with this particular non-metallic panel .. the ones I am are for spa panels which are generally rated 60 amps.

    BTW that panel is in the USA so it is incorrectly mounted with the handles in the down position being 'on'.... 240.81

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 09-11-2010 at 09:15 AM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •