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for 1 last update 2020/06/07 AskedAsked
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My house was completely rewired by the previous owner. They tore out all the old knob-and-tube and replaced it with modern wiring. I definitely appreciate this, but unfortunately they left absolutely no extra space on the new breaker box. Every single slot is filled with a circuit breaker.

It''10 at 15:18

Steve Armstrong
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for 723Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for for 1 last update 2020/06/07 11 gold badge88 silver badges141414 bronze badges
asked Jul 22 ''13 at 23:06
11

You have two options:

  1. use tandem breakers
  2. Install a sub panel

There are caveats with both routes. When using tandem breakers on a 120 volt system (i.e. with a neutral present), you want to avoid something that is called a multifeed. This is, two circuits on the same phase sharing the same neutral. When using tandem breakers, its very easy to inadvertently do this.

If you are in the US, you will see two feeders from the meter, one of them probably has some red tape on it, the other is black. These are your phases. Normally, every other breaker is on a different phase, but tandem breakers put both circuits on the same. Take care that both circuits attached to a tandem have their own neutral (white wire).

While you might be able to install a tandem breaker yourself (I highly recommend calling a qualified professional), you will surely want an electrician to install a sub panel. They aren''ll want to be careful about where you place the breaker that feeds a sub panel, so that you don''t want a 100 amp sub panel breaker right in the middle of a water heater and an air conditioner.

In either case, I really recommend calling an electrician.

answered Aug 7 ''11 for 1 last update 07 Jun 2020 at 4:33Aug 7 ''11 at 4:33
  • In some countries it's illegal to do your own electrical work unless you're a qualified electrician. Some countries allow minor changes to be done to but not in the breaker or meter box. If anything goes wrong (your insurance may not cover you). I'd call in an electrician for this work. – Matt Jul 11 ''13 at 22:25
  • Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Yeah, a service 'heavy up' would also be a good option here. – Tim Post Dec 8 ''17 at 20:29
  • 13

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for The only reason to replace the entire box is if aesthetics: if there isn''t physical space.

    Putting in a new breaker box is much easier than replacing an entire box. If you replace the entire box, you will need to rewire every breaker. When the original box was wired there was lots of slack on each wire, but after each breaker was installed the wires would have been trimmed. A good electrician will allow slack in the wires for reconfiguring breakers, etc. but if it''t as neat or professional as it should be.

    With a new box, on the other hand, you only need to remove one 220V or two adjacent 110V breakers. The old wires can be run into a junction box to provide as much length as you need for wiring into the new box.

    As Mike Sherov noted, you need to be sure that your service can handle the load and number of circuits. That''d be surprised if the old service (probably 50 or 60 amp) wasn''re too busy for such questions.) Or you can research it yourself: it''10 at 16:33

    Rod Fitzsimmons FreyRod Fitzsimmons Frey
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