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electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1633
Experience:  Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
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is a 100amp breaker box big enough to run a house

Resolved Question:

is a 100amp breaker box big enough to run a house?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  electrifier replied 7 years ago.
The ears are not broken off. You may not install a breaker in these positions.
How many square feet is your house?
Do you need more spaces for breakers for your house?
Do you have an electric dryer, electric water heater, central Air Conditioning?
Is this a 20 space panel?
Are there any tandem breakers installed in your panel now?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
house is roughly 1500 sq. ft. yes more breakers are needed. we only have an electric dryer. the new breaker box is a 20 space the one already installed is only a 16 spaces. were not sure how big of an amp the one is already in place.there tandom breaker installed in the now panel.
Expert:  electrifier replied 7 years ago.
Square D makes a 32 space as well as a 24 space panel. The 32 space panel is only available in the QO style. The trouble with 100 amp panels is they are limited in spaces available. You may have breakers with multiple wires connected to them as well. I would install a 200 amp 30 space 40 circuit Square D Homeline panel in this circumstance. The meter socket would need to be upgraded to 200 amp as well as the wiring to the utility companies connection, either overhead or underground. Square D makes a value pack with a 50 amp and 30 amp 2 pole breaker as well as half a dozen of both 15 amp and 20 amp breakers. Lowe's and Menard's carry this panel, Home Depot have one with less breakers. You do need to make sure that any #14 wire is only conntected to a 15 amp breaker and #12 is connected to a maximum 20 amp breaker. There are many issues involved in a service upgrade like this. but it's the best way to get more space.
The only other way is to add a sub panel that is fed from a 2 pole breaker in your existing panel to feed a new panel. This could be a main lug panel and in this panel all grounds and neutrals must be kept seperate, it must be fed with 4 wire. You may not have a location for this sub panel or it may be a problem to move circuits from the main panel to the sub panel to make room for the feeder breaker to be installed. Tandem breakers may be allowed in the panel you have or they may not. The panel label will tell you if tandem breakers are allowed.
Either way you feel is best in your solution I will be happy to answer whatever you need help with to get you thru the project.
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