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ELECTRIC - new box needed

Old 08-26-2017, 01:25 PM
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Default ELECTRIC - new box needed

Current box holds a 50A for our Heat Pump, then a 30A single pole for the motor home, and a 20A that I don't use anymore. I need/want to add another 50A breaker for a pool heat pump. I would need to replace the 4-breaker box with a 6-breaker box.

As far as usage, the motor home and home Heat Pump draw power during the summer, mostly, while the pool's heat pump would draw during the winter months, mostly.

What do I want to know before doing the deed? Please guys, comments about permits or frying myself or other personal observations....leave them on the table.

I want a heat pump for the pool, and running a new line to that location would be a major PITA, so this is the last and best shot. What say the practical guys?
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Old 08-26-2017, 01:34 PM
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What do you want to know before doing the deed? A licensed electrician. The electrician I use wouldn't pull a permit for that and the most expensive part of the job would probably be the new box, be in and out in a couple of hours and hand me a bill for less than $500 for a properly done job up to code. Probably not what you want to hear, but t's the correct answer when you have to ask "What do I want to know before doing the deed?"
Old 08-26-2017, 02:08 PM
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what is the amp rating on the box you have and what size wire is running to it?
how many conductors are coming in to it also?

where is it being fed from?
and what size breaker is feeding it?
Old 08-26-2017, 02:35 PM
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If you knew the 2 50 amp circuits would never be on at the same time you could get an either /or interlock on the 2 50 amp two pole breakers and not have to increase the conductor size feeding the panel.
Old 08-26-2017, 02:38 PM
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If you have to ask, sorry, you do need an electrician.

Save yourself some headache though. How big is the feed going to this box? What size wires and what amp breaker is already protecting it? Remember that if you're talking 50a for your home heat pump + 50a for a pool heat pump... those are both continuous loads and you'll have to size the incoming wire and breaker accordingly.

It's inevitable that you'll end up using the home heat pump and the pool heat pump at the same time, which is likely going to cause issues.

Now the "easy" way would be to try to avoid replacing this box. If you could pull those two single breakers out of this box and just drop in a new 2 pole breaker for the pool heat pump, then get your RV power out of your main box you'd have a lot less hassle. But I doubt you will have enough capacity on the incoming line for that, and that box may not be rated for 100a (??) of capacity, either.
Old 08-26-2017, 03:11 PM
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6 AWG feeding the box, and a 60A breaker in the main box. Agreed that both heat pumps could conceivably be on at the same time, but at that point the motor home would not be getting power.

The (impractical to the point of impossible to justify) part is running heavier feed or installing a new box off the Main. Lines are under the house, and no room in the main box for another breaker.

I have an electrician coming over to give his two cents, but its worth having the crew comment so I can ask the right questions. Having 2 heat pumps running might be the deal breaker, but I can't imagine turning home heat off just to have a warm pool!
Old 08-26-2017, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
I have an electrician coming over to give his two cents, but its worth having the crew comment so I can ask the right questions. Having 2 heat pumps running might be the deal breaker, but I can't imagine turning home heat off just to have a warm pool!
I think you're out of luck. #6 is not going to cut it for two large heat pump loads. Around here it would be unusual for the house AC and pool equipment to be on the opposite side from the electrical service entrance for just that reason.

Let us know what the electrician says, but I think you are back to driving to the community pool.
Old 08-26-2017, 05:13 PM
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Yep, I have to agree with your assessment. We have sub-panel boxes around the house and I'll have him look at all of them to see how I can run a new line. It will be a royal PITA, though, because all the wiring is under concrete, and running through the attic is just a 125' PITA. Going underground would be about a 200' PITA, but that's possible, I guess.

Thanks, guys.
Old 08-26-2017, 05:23 PM
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Check the nameplate rating of the heat pump and make sure it isn't 40A. Breaker could be oversized.
Old 08-26-2017, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by louiefl View Post
Check the nameplate rating of the heat pump and make sure it isn't 40A. Breaker could be oversized.
You're likely correct, but the nameplate has faded to nothing, so I'll have to remove some panels to access that information. Good idea, though.
Old 08-27-2017, 05:06 AM
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#6 is not good for much amps at those lengths

In conduit/buried derates it more due to not being able to dissipate the heat

electrician will get you straightened out to what all is needed
Old 08-27-2017, 05:31 AM
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The photograph shows with 100% certainty that the panel is wired incorrectly

The electrician should point this out to you and tell you if it is possible to give you what you want. You will be limited to the capacity of the existing feed to the sub-panel. Two 50A loads used concurrently will not work

I hope the electrician coming out isn't the same person who installed that box. That person did not know what they were doing and provided a potentially dangerous situation
Old 08-27-2017, 05:44 AM
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#4 won't fit that conduit.
Old 08-27-2017, 06:00 AM
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looks like the feed comes in from the back at the bottom and is larger than #6.
also looks like one leg was too short so they wire nutted a smaller white wire to reach up to the top lug of the buss.
The #6 is what is coming off of the double pole 50 headed to the A/C in flex
Old 08-27-2017, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Flot View Post
If you have to ask, sorry, you do need an electrician.

Save yourself some headache though. How big is the feed going to this box? What size wires and what amp breaker is already protecting it? Remember that if you're talking 50a for your home heat pump + 50a for a pool heat pump... those are both continuous loads and you'll have to size the incoming wire and breaker accordingly.

It's inevitable that you'll end up using the home heat pump and the pool heat pump at the same time, which is likely going to cause issues.

Now the "easy" way would be to try to avoid replacing this box. If you could pull those two single breakers out of this box and just drop in a new 2 pole breaker for the pool heat pump, then get your RV power out of your main box you'd have a lot less hassle. But I doubt you will have enough capacity on the incoming line for that, and that box may not be rated for 100a (??) of capacity, either.
This. Start from scratch with a licensed electrican. I don't know if the power company will cut the power without a permit.
Old 08-27-2017, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 99yam40 View Post
looks like the feed comes in from the back at the bottom and is larger than #6.
also looks like one leg was too short so they wire nutted a smaller white wire to reach up to the top lug of the buss.
The #6 is what is coming off of the double pole 50 headed to the A/C in flex

You're right about feed wire size; it's larger than the 6 coming off the 50A breaker.

The white is part of the RV feed (30A single pole 110V)

Question now is, does this change anything for the better? Would you use the #4 to feed two 50A breakers that feed heat pumps?
Old 08-27-2017, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Elusive View Post

I hope the electrician coming out isn't the same person who installed that box. That person did not know what they were doing and provided a potentially dangerous situation
The box is original to the house. The orange RV feed was done by my nephew. There's only one neutral/ground bar, so I guess that explains why white and ground are on the same bar (as is the other 110V line that feeds an outlet below the box.)
Old 08-27-2017, 07:04 AM
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The sub-panel that feeds the pool pump and light has a lot of room for another breaker, although using it would require 200' of trench that goes around the pool. It is also fed by 4AWG, so the question remains whether I can use that box to power the new pool heat pump?
Old 08-27-2017, 07:13 AM
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You've already overloaded the main breaker.
Old 08-27-2017, 07:14 AM
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Are there two wires under the single pole 30A breaker, or is the white one going somewhere else? What size wire and insulation rating (60C, 75C, 90C) are the feeds to the box, the length from box to the main panel, and is there a breaker upstream at the main panel serving this, or does it have feed through lugs?

If you're lucky, the panel at the house is adequate as is the wire size for the proposed load, and you only need an electrician to throw away the subpanel and wire it correctly.

Edit just re-read that this is protected by a 60A breaker... Still would be helpful to know actual wire size, not #6 or maybe something bigger.

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