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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need more room in my breaker box in the shop to run my machines from. I am thinking a sub panel is the way to go.

Is a sub panel install something I can do myself with some basic electrical knowledge?
 

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I would do it but without knowing how much knowledge you have it's hard to say. If your asking on this forum something tells me your not so sure of you skills so I would say its probably best save for a professional.
 
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I installed My sub panel but my neibor was there hes a electrician
 

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The New Guy
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I've installed many main panels and sub panels in my lifetime. Yes, they're very easy if you have a basic understanding of electricity and are somewhat mechanically inclined.

Based on you questioning if it's something you can do yourself or not, you should call an electrician.
 

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I need more room in my breaker box in the shop to run my machines from. I am thinking a sub panel is the way to go.

Is a sub panel install something I can do myself with some basic electrical knowledge?
Depends on what your definition of "basic electrical knowledge" is.

If it were my house, I'd call my best friend and have him come over and we'd do it together, but I have an electrical engineering degree and he works in the home repair business and does a fair amount of electrical work.

As a few other posters have said, though, if you're here asking if you can do this by yourself, its probably best to get someone involved who's experienced in the field. You don't want to find out the hard way that you wish you had gained more knowledge!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My dad has basic electrical knowledge. A better question would be, what is involved with installing a sub panel? Any books or online guides that explain the basics?
 

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where's my table saw?
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That's one way...

I need more room in my breaker box in the shop to run my machines from. I am thinking a sub panel is the way to go.

Is a sub panel install something I can do myself with some basic electrical knowledge?
No, I would not do it myself without professional "help".

There are ground bars, buss bars, neutral bars, load bars, aluminum or copper connections, anti-corriosion lubes, wire size factors, etc.... more than basic knowledge is required.

You may be better off to replace your existing shop panel with a large panel of the same rating with more slots to allow for more 220V breakers and such. These are decisions that would require an expert, a pro., a licensed electrican.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No, I would not do it myself without professional "help".

There are ground bars, buss bars, neutral bars, load bars, aluminum or copper connections, anti-corriosion lubes, wire size factors, etc.... more than basic knowledge is required.

You may be better off to replace your existing shop panel with a large panel of the same rating with more slots to allow for more 220V breakers and such. These are decisions that would require an expert, a pro., a licensed electrican.
Thanks for giving it to me straight. I usually end up getting myself into projects that are more complicated that I'm prepared for!
 

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The New Guy
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My dad has basic electrical knowledge. A better question would be, what is involved with installing a sub panel? Any books or online guides that explain the basics?
To instal a sub panel, you need a main panel (obviously) with a free space for a feed to the sub panel. Then you need a place to put the sub panel, wiring to connect the two (two hots, a neutral, and a bare ground wire), and a breaker put in the main panel to feed the wires going to the sub panel.

I'm not aware of any books or online guides, but search on youtube and you'll probably find one.
 

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Stay legal, or risk unknowingly voiding your home owner's fire insurance policy. Some friends in the industry say that some companies are using this as an excuse to NOT pay claims, even if the fire was not electrical. Anyone know anything about this?
 

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Some friends in the industry say that some companies are using this as an excuse to NOT pay claims, even if the fire was not electrical. Anyone know anything about this?
Sounds like unsubstantiated urban legends to me. Conspiracy theory maybe? An un-named friend in "the industry" claims that some un-named company supposedly also in "the industry" is not doing something they should on the basis that you've made changes to a system that didn't have any impact on the reason for the claim?

What friends? What positions do they hold in "the industry"? Which companies are allegedly using it as an excuse? I happen to have several relatives in the insurance industry; some of which have been doing it since I was an infant, or longer. My uncle is one of them and is my agent. I have yet to have any claim that wasn't handled quickly and professionally by them. (Agents don't handle claims BTW) Who are these companies you speak of? What they can and cannot do is spelled out in black and white in your policy. If you don't have a copy of your policy, you should stop by your agent's office Monday morning.

You made the claim that some insurance companies aren't paying out because the homeowner made changes to the electrical system, and then asking everyone else to substantiate your claim?
 

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where's my table saw?
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it happens some times

Neighbor's house down the road, burned down, nice guy, and totally honest and would give you shirt off his back in mid winter. Turns out he had done a chimney install for a new wood stove, probably caused the fire... It took over 2 years for the insurance to settle. He lost his house, wife and took his own life as a result. The insurance company holds all the cards and you have no leverage. My advice...don't take any chances. Do as I say, not as I do. :eek:
 

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Basic electrical knowledge is required, but is not enough. I am a EE and still get totally confused by the codes. I did add a subpanel to my shop, but it took a ton of research on codes.
 

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I'm not sure of any insurance companies denying claims, but I did have a buddy who had built his own deck onto his house. He did this without getting plans or permits or anything (yes, I know, the level of ignorance there is galactic, just suffice it to say he didn't run this grand plan past anyone before executing it). Anyways, he sold the house a few years later and when the buyer's insurance company came to do an inspection they found the deck and when he couldn't produce any plans or permits for the deck the insurance company told the buyers that the deck would have to either be removed or have permits done on it before they would insure the home. I'm guessing the insurance company was trying to prevent some sort of liability issues.
 

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Every state is different and so is every company. They have many thing like that. After Katrina they said we won't pay for any damage under the water line. Well the worse winds were several hours or more before the water came. So damage was done before the water hit. My company was trying to refuse even paying the refrigerator contents because I had 8' of water and they said the water took out the power. The power was out like 12 -15 hours before the water came.

You car gets stolen in another state and they say any intents in the car needs to be filed with your homeowners. Never did get that one. The car is covered by the auto policy but anything in said at that was stolen is not. Stupid as hell.

Homeowners policies can be voided for damage caused by un permitted work. If they can't prove it they will try. They will eventually have to pay, not that it makes it any better.

If you don't know if you can do it. There's your answer.
Call an electrician.
 

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Thanks for giving it to me straight. I usually end up getting myself into projects that are more complicated that I'm prepared for!
sub panels are usually much easier to install than main panels. a separate grounding rod might be the hardest thing to install, if your municipality requires it. a sub panel is kind of like just installing a big circuit breaker. it's greatly simplified relative to a main panel install in that de-energizing the main panel breaker stops all electricity flow, so all circuits on the house side of the main breaker are dead. add a two pole breaker of the size needed to the main panel, gauge the wire that connects that breaker to the sub panel correctly, black and red to the main panel breaker for the sub panel and then to the sub panel main lugs, white to the main panel ground bar and to the neutral bar in the sub panel and the ground wire to the main panel ground bar and to the ground bar in the sub panel. sub panel always gets separate ground and neutral bars.

i installed mine (the panel to the left in the pic), which included re-routing some existing main panel circuits to the sub panel to make room for the sub panel feeder breaker, in about 1/2 a day. now, if not all of what i've detailed makes sense, then it'd probably be safer to get some professional help. watch them, ask questions and learn for the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I contacted an electrician and he's going to come out and install a new box for me.

Is 240V 15A the standard plug size for a majority of single phase 240V equipment?
 

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I appreciate the fact that your getting an electrician but your shooting yourself in the foot so to speak. The benefit to a sub panel is to have a second set of breakers to run multiple equipment. It should look similar to your main panel but smaller. The type box you said he is installing is limited severely yet your paying almost the same labor as if you had the bigger sub-panel box installed. It sounds as if he don't understand what you need or he is setting you up to need him to come back in the future.

A 60-100 amp service panel is your best bet capable of having say 8-12 separate circuits in it. you want to have both 110 and 220 circuits in that sub-panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I appreciate the fact that your getting an electrician but your shooting yourself in the foot so to speak. The benefit to a sub panel is to have a second set of breakers to run multiple equipment. It should look similar to your main panel but smaller. The type box you said he is installing is limited severely yet your paying almost the same labor as if you had the bigger sub-panel box installed. It sounds as if he don't understand what you need or he is setting you up to need him to come back in the future.

A 60-100 amp service panel is your best bet capable of having say 8-12 separate circuits in it. you want to have both 110 and 220 circuits in that sub-panel.

I will contact him again and try to explain what I'm looking for a bit better.
 

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I will contact him again and try to explain what I'm looking for a bit better.
Not saying he is doing this but they will sometimes only do what you ask for even tough they know you could use something more. They do will do the minimum because they know you will likely call them out again which means more money since your paying for all of the same labor again.
 
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