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Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1070
Experience:  27 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 5 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector
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111mk, Hon long does it take to install a new breaker box along side

Customer Question

Hon long does it take to install a new breaker box along side the main box in a small condo unit tih box in the hallway easily accessable. The new box will just contain a subset of breakers for 15 and 20 amp circuits to be used to hook a standby generator
to if power goes out. Also the new small box will be hook to the generator and the main box. SO, want to know how long the power will need to be off, and how long in total the job should take. Also is it a risky to have this done whereby it may create electrical
problems for me with my main box?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
This process should not take longer than a day. An electrician should be able to put sub panel in with out turning power off to main panel. Power to main panel may need to be shut off to land sub panel breaker depending on electrician. When the electrician relocates the 15 and 20 amp breakers to new panel they will be off until he gets sub panel up and running. I would say a good 8 hour day an electrician should be ale to do it. The speed really depends on access to main panel. There are a lot of variables but again a full day should be adequate. If done properly by an electrician it should cause no problems with main panel.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok thanks. when you say relocate the 15 and 20 amp dos that mean the 15 and 20 amp woould aloways be powered by the sub panel, or only when transfer is swtiched to the sub panel by transfer switch? So, it is possible I would be without power all day for my 15 and 20 amp circuits? I am hoping to be without power fo no more than 1 hour? Deos that sem possible? Also if my breaker panel is exposed in the hallway of my condo unit, and sub panel is going just nest to it, can the entire job be done in just 2 hours...my schedule very tight to have htis work done...jsut wondering what he time consuming tasks are? Or if I need it to be done that quickly do think it would be an impossible situation? Also the sub panel is going to be used hooked up to a battery generator inside of the condo using a male / female connection form the panel to the generator. what would happen if power is switched to subpanel by transfer switch and the generator is not plugged into the sub panel at that time, Can I just plug the male connector form the generator into the female connector of the panel saftely in that situation, or maybe I would just need to turn off the power form the generator to pluyg it in safetly?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
You would not be with out power all day for 15 and 20 amp circuits. He should be able to do them one at a time and get them hooked up with in the 2 hours. I don't know how many you are rebooking up but if circuits are long enough they should take about ten minutes a piece to take out and land in sub panel. As far as generator I would turn off generator then plug in then turn generator on. The 15 and 20 amp circuits will always be in your sub panel fed from your main panel.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I see, so wires are removed from the main panel, and hooked up to sub panel directly, or new wires are added to connect main to subpanel? Also if I am having sbout 6 circuits on the sub panel at 10 mons per it may be able to be done in 1 hour?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
It's possible. That is if the sub panel is already in place and wired. Does that make sense?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok, so subpanel is not there and wired ...so aprox how long would it take to put the subpanel in place and wire for my particular situation....what are the variables that would vary the amount of time? So you are saying maybe 1 hour without power ,and then how much time to do the rest while power is on?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
The electrician can do most of the work with out turning powere off to those circuits. Power to the 15 and 20 amp circuits would only be off while he relocates that which is roughly 10 minutes a piece. I would say it would take 4-7 hours to get sub panel ready and 1 hour to relocate 15 and 20 amp circuits.the power should only be off to those circuits that are going into sub panel for 10 minutes each roughly Here are some potential things that could slow it down.
1 if the 15 and 20 amp circuits are not long enough to get to sub panel. If they are not they will need to be junction end and then ran over
2 if the panel is not easily accessible
3 if the condo is not easily accessible as far as parking the truck and getting material to job
4 condition of exciting panel. If it was done well it makes it easier now but a lot of times panels are a mess.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I heard the term load center....are you fasmiliar with that, and if that needs a sub panel or can be done with just the main panel for my situation with hooking up the generator to 6 15/20 amp circuits?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Load center is just a different term for panel. You already have a panel you are installing a sub panel.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So if all coinditions were optimal, do you think the subpanel could be fully installed and conncted in 2 hours, or no way?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
I would say yes if all conditions were optimal you could do it in 2 hours.
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Do you have any more questions?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for checking....in your opinion, do you think it's better to go with the sub panel and hook up the genersator that way to power the needed circuits, or better to go with the simpler option of just plugging electrical items into the outlets on the genrator, without hooking to panel, but then would need extension cords running all around, and wondering also which is safer? I guess extension cords can be a hazzard on the fllor if water ever gets in during a hirricane?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Running cord on the ground through house to spots where you need power seems to be more of a hazard with cord laying on ground possible getting unplugged etc. I would go with sub panel and hook up generator. It will cost more but when it's needed you will be glad that its done. Just my opinion
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Any other question?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks for your help....that's all for now.
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Let me know if you ave any more.
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Is there any more questions you have?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, so still trying to find the right solution since a sub panel instgall will probably take too long for my schedule. I read about a transfer switch with service disconnect and wondering if that can apply to my situation and be beneficial. So, I am getting a stanby generator wiich is a bunch of batteries ZCan a transfer switch with service disconnect be used with that to be hooked up to a subset of breakers, maybe 6 - two 20 watt and 4 15 breakers in my main panel with the need for a sub panel, and will that shorten installation time compared to using a sub panel, but serve the same function? If so, does the transfer switch with service disconnect need to be made specifically for my battery generator, or are they generic?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
A transfer switch set next to your panel would work well. You can use any brand and it will be compatible. You are looking for a 6 circuit transfer switch. He many watts is your generator? How far from panel is generator? They make transfer switch kits. Also how are you gonna feed the transfer switch from generator?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks,. so is the transfer switch a quicker install than a sub panel? Alos what are the optional ways to feed the transfer switch fro the genrator? Can a male female connector be used that can be plugged or unplugged if I keep the generator in a differnet room, and just plug it into the transfer switch when needed?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Yes transfer switch would be quicker. They sell transfer switch kits which will have the transfer switch and cord and cord plug ins all in one kit. The only problem with the kits is that they are typically only ten feet cord but the sell longer cords reliance is a brand name of transfer switch kits.
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Reliance Controls 31410CRK Pro/Tran 10-Circuit 30 Amp Generator Transfer Switch Kit With Transfer Switch, 10-Foot Power Cord, And Power Inlet Box For Up To 7,500-Watt Generators
This is a transfer switch with cord and power inlet. This cord is short Only 10 feet.
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Reliance Controls PC3040 40-Feet 30-Amp L14-30 Generator Power Cord for Up to 7500-Watt Generators
Here s a longer cord. I don't know how far it is between the transfer switch and the generator. I am trying to give you some options. Hope this helps! Et e know if you have more questions.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The distance form genrerator to panel is about 20 ft, so would that work? Also would that cord be coneected to the panel by a male/female connector so I can remove the cord or hard wired to thte panel?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Yes the cord will be able to be removed and plugged back in. The cord that comes with that package is ten feet so it is too short but the other one I listed is 40 feet. This is longer than You need but will allow you to route the cord in a way that will be safe.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok, what is the connector like on the other end that plugs to the generator?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
also, how is it that the transfer switch is quicker to install than subpanel?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
It is quicker because you don't have to relocate the circuits. The transfer switch has a pre wired flex that will go to exciting panel ad hook up to circuits.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
also how long does it take to to install the transfer switch and how long to be without power during the install for those circuits?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
You are looking at around 2 hours to install transfer switch. There are variables but 2 hours is doable. The circuits will be off for roughly ten minutes each but not at same time.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
to confirm is this a transfer switch whith disconnect which is the term I have heard or just transfer switch with out disconect?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
also does th etransfer switch only have one connection to the main panel, or one per circuit breaker that you want to use? The transfer switch I heard about before asking you has only one connnect to the main panel?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
The transfer switch transfers power from normal power to generator power then back to main power when power is back available. The transfer switch will have one connection per circuit breaker used. But there is only on flex that contains all of the circuits that goes to panel. From the transfer switch a 30 amp outlet will be added just elbow generator. This is where the cord will go from here to the generator.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok so is that considered a transfer switch with disconnect type?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
to clarify is that considered a transfer switch with service disconnect type?
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
It's just considered a.transfer switch.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
do you know what a transfer switch with service disconnect is and how that would be different?....that name was given to me my a generator dealer.
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
A transfer switch with service disconnect is used when automatic transfer occurs. Meaning the power shuts off then the power goes back on right away with out you doing anything. They are nice but more complicated to install and the power feeding generator is installed in a permanent manner. The transfer switch we are talking about is manual. meaning power goes out you turn main breaker off hook up generator and you are in business( this takes about 5 minutes).
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
Does that make sense? Are you going to be hiring an electrician to do work?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
yes makes sense. i am not sure yet i i am going to do the hook up yet or not, as the other option is to just plug in the ext cords. but on that, if there is a transfer switch cable hooked up to batteries in generator, but not connected yet to switch, , does that limit amount of power to the outlets for extension cords. same question for when cable is connected to switch.
Expert:  cllishof replied 1 year ago.
I don't understand your question can you re word it for meplease?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This generator is 12 batteries for conso unit. no fuel. So there are are electrical outlets to plug items in rather than hooking up to panel. There can be a cable hooked up to it for optional hookup to panel. If there is a transfer switch cable hooked up to batteries in generator, but not plugged into the transfer switch, , does that limit amount of power to the outlets for extension cords. Also If there is a transfer switch cable hooked up to batteries in generator, and is plugged into the transfer switch, , does that limit amount of power to the outlets for extension cords.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.
1) This is an assist for Cllishof (the expert that you have been working with). Is the standby generator powered by gasoline, Liquid Propane, Natural Gas or only powered by batteries?
2) I suspect your generator is not a portable or a standby generator. Is this a mechanical rotary inverter that is only powered by a battery bank and the manufacturer is calling it a generator?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
yes you are correct it is just a bank of batteries.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.
1) In the electrical industry, that product is not a true generator. A generator is either portable or standby and is powered by gasoline, Liquid Propane or Natural Gas.
2) The product that you have is either an inverter or some type of a mechanical rotary inverter. Basically what you have is a glorified UPS system, similar to a UPS connected to a computer upon the loss of commercial electrical power.
3) I just wanted to assist the other expert. I will opt out of the question so the previous expert can continue to work with you.......Thanks for the clarifications and reply..........Kevin!
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.
Hello..... it appears that the previous expert is not logged on the Just Answer site tonight. I see that you have had this question opened for some time with numerous replies. My name is ***** ***** I'll be happy to assist you with your question.
1) What are the voltages of the batteries and how many batteries do you have?
2) Are the batteries rated in Amp Hours or in Cold Cranking Amps? If rated in amp hours, how many amp hours for each battery?
3) Are your batteries true Deep Cycle or Marine type batteries?
4) You reside in a condo I see. Is your main electrical panel installed directly inside your unit or is it installed in a common area?
5) I see that you would like to have power available during a hurricane. Are you looking to have power available automatically when you are not at home or only looking to have available back-up power when you are at home?
6) What electrical items and/or appliances are you looking to provide back-up power for?
7) Can you provide me with the website for the back-up power device you purchased or the manufacturer name and the model number?
8) Does your battery powered back-up device provide a maximum amperage or wattage rating?
9) Does this product have built-in receptacles? If so, how many and what type? 120 or 240 or both?
Let me know and we can take it from there.
The answer to your initial question is that you do not require a sub-panel. A sub-panel is only used when you run out of available circuit breaker spaces within your main electrical panel.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The only info I have handy now is that thee will be 12 batteries, and only going to use it to power 15 and 20 amp lights, fridge, and microwave, tv. there are 8 outlets on it the cabinet. I and trying to decide if I should just plug items to the outlests when needed, or go for the convenience of hooking it up ot the breaker box which is insideeof my condo unit. I want to avoid a subpanel install due to the time that would take for the work, Also I am concerned about if the power would have to be split away from the outlets if hooked to the panel, meaning would there be less power available to the outlets if powering the items through the breaker panel. Also I will be placing the uit in a different room for the breaker panel, and if hooked up to the panel it would be by using a cable that can be plugged in only when nneded to use it when power is out.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.
1) In order to provide you with an accurate answer as to how many electrical items, devices, appliances, etc. that you wish to provide power too, I will need to know the complete battery information. Without know the battery info, this will just be guessing if your batteries will even be sufficient to provide you with your back-up power needs.
2) Electrical calculations need to be performed, thus the battery info is most critical.
3) As I previously mentioned, a sub-panel is NOT required for your application. A sub-panel is only installed when you run out of available circuit breaker spaces inside your main electrical panel and you have a need to install additional branch circuits.
4) Let me know when you have the battery info available and I can then provide you with the necessary calculations and determine what will be required..........Thanks.............Kevin!
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.
1) The only recommended method that will allow you to connect this unit to your main electrical panel is if the unit is capable of generating 30 amps via a 240 volt receptacle. If no 30 amps or no 240 volt receptacle is available on the unit, then no use in attempting to connect it to the electrical panel, just use extension cords and plug in directly to the unit.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.
1) I will opt out of the question and be sending it to the JA moderator since their appears to be a problem on the JA site with the formatting.
Expert:  Michelle-Mod replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I’m Michelle a moderator for this topic. It seems the Expert has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the Expert thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new Expert to assist you right away, but sometimes finding the right Expert can take a little longer than expected. I was checking to see if you had already found your answer or if you still needing assistance from another one of our Expert? Please let me know if you wish to continue waiting or if you would like for us to close your question. Also remember that JustAnswer has a multitude of categories to help you with all your needs from Pet to Legal. Thank you, Michelle~Moderator

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I might be ok for now...but may have an additional quieston on it and will post it then.

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