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Re: Adding a bid circuit and and electrical breaker questions

To: Darrell Walker <>
Subject: Re: Adding a bid circuit and and electrical breaker questions
From: Pat Horne <>
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 19:12:19 -0600

What is the brand of your existing panel?

If it is a Square D, are the breakers in it marked QO1xx, or HOM1xx, 
where the xx is the current rating of the breaker. If it is a Square D 
QO panel, there are half width (tandem) breakers that can be installed 
in some of the locations. This would allow you to compress the existing 
circuits enough to slip in the new double breaker.

If it is a FPE (Federal Pacific), trash the whole panel and replace it, 
Even normal 20A breakers run close to $50 each, as they are no longer in 

I don't know if GE has half width  (or tandem) breakers or not, I stick 
to Square D if at all possible.


Darrell Walker wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm looking to add a 240V, 60 amp circuit for a ceramic kiln.  My  
> current panel is 200 amps with 20 spaces, and only has one slot  
> open.  Most likely I'll hire an electrician for this, but I'd like to  
> know what my options are.
> First, is there a limit to the total amperage of circuits in relation  
> to the main service amperage?  Right now, adding up the existing  
> breakers I get 315 amps.  Seems like a lot, but of course not  
> everything is running at the same time.  But since you can get a 200  
> amp main panel with 40 spaces, and since I've never seen a circuit  
> less that 15 amps, that would seem to imply that you can add a lot of  
> circuits!  So can I really have 375 amps full of circuits behind a  
> 200 amp main service?
> Second, since I don't have a double slot available, I think I would  
> either need to add a sub-panel (and move at least one existing  
> circuit over there along with the new one for the kiln), or replace  
> the main panel with a bigger one.  Are those my options, without  
> shedding an existing circuit?
> If so. I'm thinking a full new panel is a cleaner solution, though  
> unless the new panel uses the same breaker types as the old one I  
> will have to buy a bunch of new breakers.  That would be offset  
> somewhat with the fact that with a sub-panel I would have to buy a  
> pretty big (80 or 100 amp) breaker to feed the subpanel, and you can  
> usually get quite a few 10 and 20 amp breakers for the price of one  
> on those!
> Anyway, any ideas appreciated!
> Thanks,
> Darrell

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