Main Panel

I need some help with a electrical question. A few years ago I had some electrical work done and the new wiring used up all my empty slots as well as having to change most of my breakers to double ones. At that time the electrician told me that if I ever wanted any more wiring Id need a sub panel installed. I still have two single pole breakers left, one for the dishwasher and one for the disposal. Why cant these be changed to double pole giving me two more lines?
How can I verify that the panel is maxed out?
Thanks John
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John wrote:

Not all panels can take the double breakers in every slot. There should be a label on the panel door that will indicate what the possible combinations are. There may be other issues as well such as no more empty connection slots on the neutral and/or ground bus bars.
Kevin
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Kevin Ricks wrote:

Forgot to add another possibility: Often times the DW/Disp are wired with an 'Edison' circuit which means that they have a shared neutral. IF this is the case then the 2 hots MUST be connected to opposite poles. Also the 2 breaker handles are supposed to be tied together (like a 240V breaker), so that if one trips the other will also.
If you put both the circuits on a double (single slot) breaker then both will only be connected to one side which could overload the neutral on that circuit.
To verify this look at the 2 hot wires going to the DW/Disp breakers in the panel. If there is a red wire and black wire + ONE white wire going into a single cable, then you do have a shared neutral circuit. You could also look in the DW/Disp outlet box. 3 wire cable (red, black , white, + bare) is almost always used on that type of circuit.
If it is not a shared neutral circuit and your panel can take more doubles then you are OK. Kevin
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I hate to even discuss edison circuits with novices. They get screwed up more than anything else in house wiring.
Depending upon the make and model of the panel, GE makes double pole half sized breakers, and Murray makes twin double pole quads

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wrote:

He may have "saved" those two for the feeder breaker to the sub you need.
You should do a load calculation before you do that to be sure you don't need a service upgrade
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I agree, there probably are two additional 1/2 spaces, that he would prefer to use for a sub panel main
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On Jul 11, 2:01am, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I did some checking and it seems kevin is correct, those two slots wont take a double. Out of curiosity how would I do load calculation? Thanks again for all the help.
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wrote:

Try this http://esteroriverheights.com/electrical/2005loadcalculator.xls
This uses macros and it doesn't seem to have any mal ware in it
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What service is your main panel? If its 100A, then maybe your electrician meant to change the panel to a 200A service. You might be able to change the single pole breaker to a double pole, but your main service might not be able to handle everything being used at once.
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In other words there are double (or TWO POLE) circuit breakers and there are, for want of a better description, what can be desiganated (DOUBLE) single pole circuit breakers.
If you run out of breaker positions you can perhaps use some DOUBLE single pole breakers, each one of these 'doubles' will take the place of one existing (SINGLE POLE) breaker but will allow the doubling up of, for example two lighting or outlet circuits circuits. Thus 'saving' another single pole position.
But the DOUBLE single pole breakers will only provide for 115 volt circuits; no good for anything that needs 230 volts, such as a hot water heater, heavy AC, electric cooking stove etc.
However by doubling up say, some lighting circuits an electrician may be able to 'free up' a couple of slots that can accommodate maybe one TWO/DOUBLE POLE breakers for a 230 volt circuits.
It sounds as if your panel/service maybe old and at capacity? Capacity being a) Sufficient breakers to meet electrical code and your insurance requirements for the number of circuits and b) Sufficient capacity to carry the electrical loads without tripping circuit breakers and or catching fire!
Please be careful. And if you get into 3 wire 230/115 volt 'Edison' circuit wiring get electrical help.
In our house we have a couple of secondary panels; one, near the kitchen is fed by a 100 amp (double pole) breaker in the main panel. Another 50 amp (double pole) breaker feeds a panel in our store room/ garage. From these secondary panels, all wired to code; circuits go to outlets, lights and appliances in those house areas. A third 30 amp feeds our basement workshop; where a single fused switch allows everything in the workshop to be shut off.
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Thanks again for all the helpful information.
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