Where can I make room in this panel??

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Jmaclicious
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Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Jmaclicious » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:24 pm

I got an old federal pioneer panel which is 100 amp service... I am looking to try and make room so I can have an outlet for my washing machine, I will be upgrading the panel and getting everything cleaned up to 200 amp service once I get more money, The old washing machine outlet was on #19 - which is a 20 amp circuit connected to my kitchen upstairs..

I do not understand why my DRYER #1-4 is taking up 4 spots for "50 amp" .. I have a newer model electric frontload dryer currently. Can I replace this breaker with a 30-A 2P (NC) Stablok circuit breaker ? And then add a 20A single pole beside it for the washer?

#12 is a 15amp outlet that currently has my alarm and modem box plugged into it.
#21 is a 20 amp that has my freezer and sump pump plugged into it right now

#15-16 I believe are my upstairs bedroom & bathroom plugs & lights.

#3-4 says its for "RANGED" on the panel... however, I do not have a range, I have an exhaust vent through the roof so not entirely sure what that goes to.
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emtnut
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by emtnut » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:52 pm

Jmaclicious wrote:I got an old federal pioneer panel which is 100 amp service... I am looking to try and make room so I can have an outlet for my washing machine, I will be upgrading the panel and getting everything cleaned up to 200 amp service once I get more money, The old washing machine outlet was on #19 - which is a 20 amp circuit connected to my kitchen upstairs..

I do not understand why my DRYER #1-4 is taking up 4 spots for "50 amp" .. I have a newer model electric frontload dryer currently. Can I replace this breaker with a 30-A 2P (NC) Stablok circuit breaker ? And then add a 20A single pole beside it for the washer?

#12 is a 15amp outlet that currently has my alarm and modem box plugged into it.
#21 is a 20 amp that has my freezer and sump pump plugged into it right now

#15-16 I believe are my upstairs bedroom & bathroom plugs & lights.

#3-4 says its for "RANGED" on the panel... however, I do not have a range, I have an exhaust vent through the roof so not entirely sure what that goes to.
You have a few options to make more room in this panel.
If the old washing machine was on #19, why not use this for the new machine ?

The Dryer #1-4 is an old style breaker, You could replace with a new stab-loc double pole (Schneider makes them) .. that would free up 2 spaces.

#3-4 .. Do you mean #5-6 7-8 ? That is for your range. You could upgrade this breaker as well, and gain another 2 spaces.

Only other comment is why would you want to upgrade to 200A service. If you are looking at adding significant loads that's a good plan, but for most houses without electric heating, 100A is fine.
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Aaron
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Aaron » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:47 pm

You will want to replace that entire panel as soon as you can; whether you upgrade to 200A or not. I'd say it's greater urgency you update the panel than upgrade to 200A, but if you can swing both go for it. The Federal-Pioneer panels are dangerous--at least the Stab-lok circuit breakers are. There have been plenty of cases where the breakers do not trip when they should--they simply overheat and cause a fire.

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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by emtnut » Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:17 pm

Aaron wrote:You will want to replace that entire panel as soon as you can; whether you upgrade to 200A or not. I'd say it's greater urgency you update the panel than upgrade to 200A, but if you can swing both go for it. The Federal-Pioneer panels are dangerous--at least the Stab-lok circuit breakers are. There have been plenty of cases where the breakers do not trip when they should--they simply overheat and cause a fire.
Looking at that panel, I think JMac is in Canada. We didn't have the problems with that panel like the Federal Pacific did in the US.
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Aaron
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Aaron » Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:46 pm


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emtnut
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by emtnut » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:11 am

I've never seen those 'red' handled breakers up here, but that's my limited experience in a small area.

I think when it comes down to it, I'd be wary of any panel older than 40yrs ... Equipment has a usable lifetime, and panels are usually overlooked. At the very least, the panel wiring,breakers and buss bars should be inspected.

I'm sloooooowly upgrading my FPE panel at home to a new squareD ... but only cause I needed the space for some of the upgrades I'm doing.
Old house, with limited circuits, so I've had to make a lot of trips down to the basement in the dark :lol:
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Jmaclicious
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Jmaclicious » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:44 am

emtnut wrote:
I've never seen those 'red' handled breakers up here, but that's my limited experience in a small area.

I think when it comes down to it, I'd be wary of any panel older than 40yrs ... Equipment has a usable lifetime, and panels are usually overlooked. At the very least, the panel wiring,breakers and buss bars should be inspected.

I'm sloooooowly upgrading my FPE panel at home to a new squareD ... but only cause I needed the space for some of the upgrades I'm doing.
Old house, with limited circuits, so I've had to make a lot of trips down to the basement in the dark :lol:

Haha thanks, I went and bought a 30 Amp Double Pole breaker and a 20 Amp one it will be more temporary, I really want to get a new panel once the funds are right as I will also need to do a lot of rewiring and clean it up... the wiring is short and so messy its an eyesore, but I may not be able to get all the wires to even reach in a larger panel, I dont understand why they wired the way they did back then, I am going to be stuck wiring junction boxes like crazy as I do not feel like smashing open walls to run full new wire from upstairs. :evil: Plus, 200 amp service I can run heavier things in my garage, future electric HWT, and perhaps even a hot tub.

For example of a run, I have a power wire running into a junction in the basement, which then split one I assume going upstairs to my fridge.. and the other split off to an older outlet in my basement (that use to be for my washing machine), and then splits from there upstairs for my kitchen....

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emtnut
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by emtnut » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:17 am

Jmaclicious wrote: I do not understand why my DRYER #1-4 is taking up 4 spots for "50 amp" .. I have a newer model electric frontload dryer currently. Can I replace this breaker with a 30-A 2P (NC) Stablok circuit breaker ?
Just a note, the breaker is not 50amp , it's a 25A double pole. Since you are putting in a 30A, make sure that your wiring is #10awg . (It should be, but worth checking)
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Aaron
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Aaron » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:03 am

emtnut wrote:I'm sloooooowly upgrading my FPE panel at home to a new squareD ... but only cause I needed the space for some of the upgrades I'm doing.
Old house, with limited circuits, so I've had to make a lot of trips down to the basement in the dark :lol:
How do you slowly upgrade a panel? I would think one day you have the old panel, the next day you have the new one.

Oh maybe you have the Square-D as a sub, and you're going to convert it to a main?

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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Aaron » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:11 am

Jmaclicious wrote:Haha thanks, I went and bought a 30 Amp Double Pole breaker and a 20 Amp one it will be more temporary, I really want to get a new panel once the funds are right as I will also need to do a lot of rewiring and clean it up... the wiring is short and so messy its an eyesore, but I may not be able to get all the wires to even reach in a larger panel, I dont understand why they wired the way they did back then, I am going to be stuck wiring junction boxes like crazy as I do not feel like smashing open walls to run full new wire from upstairs. :evil:
If your wires will end up being too short, you can have a large splice box with a cover that replaces your existing panel. So all the circuits that are currently in your old panel will have wire-nutted pigtails to new conductors going to your new panel. You could have this splice box mated to your new panel with a 2" rigid conduit nipple.

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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by emtnut » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:27 am

Aaron wrote:
emtnut wrote:I'm sloooooowly upgrading my FPE panel at home to a new squareD ... but only cause I needed the space for some of the upgrades I'm doing.
Old house, with limited circuits, so I've had to make a lot of trips down to the basement in the dark :lol:
How do you slowly upgrade a panel? I would think one day you have the old panel, the next day you have the new one.

Oh maybe you have the Square-D as a sub, and you're going to convert it to a main?
Yep :mrgreen:
I have a disconnect feeding both the old and new panels. All the old wiring is on the FPE. As I'm running new circuits through the house, they go to the SqD. Both panels have the bonding screw removed, so the disconnect is the main.

At some point, I'll probably ditch or upgrade the disconnect. I need to move it anyways to insulate behind it. I'm going to replace the service entrance conductors then too ... They're probably about 60 or 70 yrs old now !
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Aaron » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:51 am

emtnut wrote:They're probably about 60 or 70 yrs old now !
Yeah you're prolly due for a nice overhaul.

I live in a duplex, and have two main I-T-E panels (now Siemens) that were installed some time in the 1980s, I'm guessing. They're in pretty good shape. One panel has a 100A main disco, the other a 60A main disco. They could very well have been 100A each as that is the drop I have from the pole, but they probably figured the second floor unit would have far less demand as all the utilities are loads on the first floor feed.

Siemens are my panels of choice, I like the way they are laid out with the neutral/ground terminal strip running vertically down the bilateral gutters. So you don't have drastically unequal lengths of conductors.

Square-D panels, though they don't have this nice layout, do have a nice solid build to them, particularity QO panels. I like the breakers with the visual trip indicator as well.

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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by emtnut » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:48 pm

I like the layout of the Siemens too.
I'm used to the SqD from my industrial days, and I get a really good discount on them ... To be honest, if it wasn't for the pricing I get, I find the SqD overpriced, and I'd probably go for the Siemens too. No doubt SqD is a good panel, but the Siemens (PL I think ?) has the copper buss too, and I'd say comparable quality.
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Aaron
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Aaron » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:26 pm

Copper bus bars are not even available in panels sold in home centers anymore--I know like 8-10 years ago they used to be.

I would order a panel online these days, or visit my local supply house.

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Aaron
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Aaron » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:31 pm

Jmaclicious wrote:I do not understand why my DRYER #1-4 is taking up 4 spots for "50 amp" .. I have a newer model electric frontload dryer currently.
I had to think about this one a while. Why four spaces instead of two for a double-pole circuit?

The only thing I can come up with is that the bus bar lugs aren't big enough for an ampacity of 25A, so the load is spread across two lugs instead. So essentially 6.5A per lug. That's just the Stab-lok engineering.

Modern panels have blade lugs that have extremely high ampacity, and modern breakers can have higher overcurrent protection in a smaller space, so it takes just two spaces instead.
Jmaclicious wrote:Can I replace this breaker with a 30-A 2P (NC) Stablok circuit breaker ? And then add a 20A single pole beside it for the washer?
Yeah dryers should be on a 30A circuit as far as I know, it's actually dangerous to use a breaker rated higher because it would allow a higher overcurrent fault.

Like Wayne said, be sure you have #10 conductors for the circuit. This is orange-sheeth cable if you are using NM sheathed cable.
Last edited by Aaron on Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Aaron
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Re: Where can I make room in this panel??

Post by Aaron » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:44 pm

Also Wayne is right you could probably stick with 100A. It is usually plenty for an average single-family dwelling.

New construction homes have 200A service but it is overkill in most cases. Especially as people are moving to solar panels and LED lighting!

Besides getting a larger panel, you likely would also need to get a new meter box. Also your hydro/utility would likely have to replace your service drop with heavier service conductors, which is VERY expensive because youd probably need bigger conduit, a new weatherhead (if it's ariel) or retrenching (if it's buried).

Consider just replacing your panel instead! It probably goes without saying but that should only be done by a licensed electrician and requires a permit from your authority having jurisdiction.

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