I have a 3-story semi-detached home with a full basement that is going to be
completely rehabbed. All of the old lath and plaster is currently being
removed down to the studs and joists. Then it will get all new wiring, new
kitchen and baths, new plumbing, new sheetrock, insulation, etc.
This is a question about the design for the all new wiring. The house is
one side of a side-by-side twin, so in our area it is called a semi-detached
home. It has a full basement with high open ceilings. Access to all areas
of the other walls and ceilings is easy because the interior of the property
is being gutted down to the studs and joists.
A new 200-amp service panel has already been installed, and it is located on
the front wall of the basement.
The basement goes straight back under the living room, dining room, and
kitchen which are on the first floor. The second floor has a front bedroom,
middle bedroom, back bedroom, and bath next to the back bedroom. The third
floor has a small bathroom in the front corner, a main front/middle bedroom,
and a back bedroom.
My question is about how to plan the wiring.
Since this is a long and high house, does it make sense to just run all of
the wiring directly from the main panel in the basement? Or, would it make
more sense to strategically locate one or two subpanels (such as on the
second and third floors), run power to those subpanels, and then run local
circuits to each of those areas off of the subpanels?
You could save yourself a lot of grief and money if you hire a good
architect/engineer draw up the system for you. You have to pull a
permit and plans must be submitted anyway, so they will have the
knowledge and experience to get it right the first time. Nothing is
more disheartening than listening to an inspector as he tags the work,
*Having a subpanel on each floor would save a lot of labor and copper during
construction and make it convenient later if a circuit was to trip. I would
put in the largest panels possible. Murray makes a 20/40 100 amp panel and
Square D makes a 32 circuit 100 amp panel and each are sold at Home Depot.
Lowes sell GE panels with white covers.
Thanks. I was thinking that using subpanels would save on wiring during the
installation, but I hadn't thought about the convenience factor for
tenants/occupants. This will be a rental property as a single family home.
I may just use the main panel in the basement for all of the first floor
circuits since all of those circuits could be wired from the basement
ceiling. That would leave the second and third floors. I may want to just
use one subpanel on the second floor for both of those, but maybe one
subpanel for each of those two floors would also work.
How may circuits would you have upstairs? Usually not that much of an
electrical load upstairs. It would be hard to justify a panel for a
few light and convenience outlet circuits. I can dig having a sub-
panel on the main floor...a lot of people dont like going down into
the basement in the middle of the night but its probably not going to
save you any money wiring it like this,
In a new proper well designed home electrical system a ripped breaker
is rtare and only when something is broke.
I used to get trips here all the time, added many breakers and its now
a rare event..
as such just a main panel is probably just fine.
if someone really hates going in the basement i guess a main panel
could be upstairs.
dont save money by maxing out number of loads on circuits.
my ideal would be at least 2 seperate just light circuits intertwined
thru home so if one trips theres no all dark floors, a breaker for
each bedroom, and each room, one for bath which is code, 3 for kitchen
outlets, kitchens are power hungry, a couple at least for the shop,
seperate breakers for washer, dryer, stove, fridge, furnace, hot
water tank, disposal, basement freezer if you will ever have one,
outside outlets, etc etc
sure it costs more but its a one time expense and when a breaker trips
you know what room is out. makes trouble shooting a breeze:)
this is over code minimums but worth the expense.
add support now for a generator in times of power outages
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