Subpanel or add breakers

I'm finishing my basement and am planning to add 6 new circuits (2: lights, 1: outlets, 1: GFI in bath, 1: sewage pump, 1: misc devices such as bath fan). I currently have 5 blank spaces in my main panel, which is in my garage. I am comfortable installing new breakers, and had planned on doing the wiring myself, and installing 2 thin breakers and 4 full-size 20A breakers to feed the 6 circuits. However, I realize another option is to install a sub-panel in the basement, which I feel is probably outside my realm of comfortable-ness and would require a pro installation. I did pull the electical permit myself, so I will be getting it inspected, which I feel is important to ensure I am doing everything correctly and safely, but I wanted an outside opinion on whether it would be best to just run the new circuits into the old panel (thereby filling it up), or hire an electrician to put in a new sub panel, which I would then populate myself.
Thanks in advance!
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On 30 Oct, 12:31, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

IMHO, if I had the funds for the sub-panel, I'd probably opt for it. Once you fill up the existing box, you'll be up against it the next time you want/need to add another circuit anywhere in the house. Who knows what the future holds?
As an added bonus, I assume it will be easier to wire the basement to a panel in the basement as opposed to the panel in the garage. I assume you have a spot picked out that won't impact the rest of the project.
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Sounds like you have an up to code panel, etc., so I would say "6 of one - half a dozen of the other". (Does not matter either way.)
The only thing is cost. Which is less expensive.
And future needs. Will you be using up all your spare slots and like to have some free for the future?
Then free slots in basement area. Would you maybe want to add a circuit or two in the future in the basement? Might be good to have a panel down there, then would be easy to do.
In general I say; You always need more slots than whatever you have!

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There are several things to consider. Do you actually have 5 spaces available in the panel, or just 5 breaker knockouts in the cover?
All panels are not designed to accept half sized breakers, so even if you have 5 spaces in the buss, you may not be able to install six breakers.
If your service is of sufficient size for the existing loads plus the additional loads of the basement, it would probably make sense to add a sub panel. If it's an easy run to the basement from the garage location, you may just want to install a sub panel adjacent to the service panel. If the existing service in not adequate, typical 200 amp panels can be bought to accommodate up to 40 full sized breakers

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My basement situation is the same as yours. I have about 5 spaces left in my main panel as well. Due to lack of funds, my basement will not be finished anytime soon. When the time does come, I plan on adding a sub to handle the basement. I want to maintain a few open spaces in the main panel just in case.
I'd recommend you add a sub in the basement to preserve the few open spaces you have left in the main panel. The sub in the basement would also make running your basement circuits easier.
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how many amps is the main panel? if its a 100 amps or less I would upgrade to 200 amps.
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The main panel is only 100 amps, and I was mistaken - there are actually 7 available slots, not 5 as I had stated before. Would you still recommend upgrading to 200 amp service if I added the fact that this is a townhouse - it is only 2 bedrooms and 1800 sqft. Thanks,
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On Oct 31, 8:51 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The answer to this question is the same as the answer to the HWH question from the other day.
It's not the size of the house that should determine the size of a given utility, it's the usage requirements. Look around your house, including the soon-to-be finished basement, and decide how many amps you might need based on your usage.
A lifestyle that consists a small TV and "one light on at a time" could get by on 100 Amps in a 4000 sq ft house, while a 500 sq ft hut with an injection molding machine might need just a bit more.
OTOH, consider the resale value - who knows, it could be the 100 vs 200 amp service that tips the scales with a prospective buyer.
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On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 05:51:22 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Depends on your power requirements. If you think you'll be pulling 80 amps or more, then upgrade to 200 amps.
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There is actually a formula to determine the size a service should be, but given the parameters you've already described, your existing 100 amp should be fine

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