My neighbor has just added a "Softub" hot tub on his patio. It requires
it's own 20 amp circuit as the pump/heater unit is 110v. At the rear of
his house adjacent to the patio, is his 100 amp disconnect (directly
beside the meter) and his service panel (breaker box) is in the garage
at the front of the house. He is planning to just add a breaker box
with 2 - 20 amp breakers right off the 100 amp disconnect panel becasue
he doesn't want to run wire from the patio to the service panel in the
garage thru the attic. He says this would be shorter and is nothing
more than a subpanel. I told him I was pretty sure that was against
code but can someone verify this? I thought a subpanel had to actually
come off the main service panel. I think he's treading on thin ice
here. He's also talking about doing the same thing for the above ground
pool he's ordered.
First, why are you getting involved in your neighbor's wiring?
Second, I'm no expert, but my understanding is that the "service
entrance" is the panel with the service disconnect, and that anything
after that is technically a subpanel. So the "service panel in the
garage" that you refer to is a subpanel, and there is nothing wrong
with adding another subpanel off the main disconnect. Perhaps someone
else here can confirm my understanding, since I'm not an expert.
As I told Mr. Whitney, he asked my advice and I'm just trying to find
out some info for him. Any info may also help me and others down the
road someday. He's a policeman, and a good neighbor, so I'll help him
anyway I can.
Thanks Glenn, have a good day.
I got involved because he asked my advice. But I'm a mechanical
engineer and not an electrician. I told him I'd check and see what I
could find out, but that I suggested he call an electrician. He has 6
kids all under 12 and I'm sure he would want it to be as safe as
possible. He spoke of just tapping off the lugs for the new box and it
didn't seem kosher to me. Like I said, I'm just trying to find info
for a good neighbor, which is a good thing to have these days.
Thanks for your input.
Have a good day!
Wayne Whitney wrote:
The real question is whether an electrical inspection is required.
It it is,
then the inspector will straighten everything out without your
If he lives in an area where he can do the wiring himself without
an inspection, then the only issue is safety. Nothing you have
sounds unsafe to me...
In fact, he could install a big-ass outdoor breaker panel right at
100 amp service disconnect, and feed both his garage panel and his
new tub from it. The garage panel would become a sub panel....
Except for maybe some changes to the ground rod connection, this
would certainly meet code, as I understand it. Local codes may have
their own special rules.....
According to the code here, I had to add a disconnect where the meter pan is
when I upgraded to 200A service. On the new meter pan disconnect panel there
are provisions for 4 circuit breakers. They normally would feed an outside
AC unit. If the disconnect has the space for the breakers, there should be
no problem. But if he is going to 'tie into' an existing circuit, that would
not fly. At least not here.
remove one of the @\'s unless you are a spammer. < email@example.com> wrote in message
He should be alright. It's OK to branch off and add a sub-panel after the
main disconnect in most cases.
But tell him that he will need to get a permit through your local building
department *before* doing anything. This is something he will absolutely
need a permit for in most every part of the country (and in many counties
will also need a licensed electrician as he's inside the "service equipment"
enclosure. He will also need to employ GFCI protection for these circuits as
well as use exterior-grade enclosures. (Local inspector will walk him
through when he applies for the permit.)
As for being against code, I believe what your thinking concerning "coming
off the main service panel" is a panel, in-which also contained the service
disconnect (fairly common.) If the distribution panel )located in the
garage) also contained the service disconnect (not just a main disconnect in
his case, but a "service" disconnect), you would have been correct. However
the service disconnect must be located as close to the meter as possible,
which is why they installed the disconnect outside and fed to a distribution
panel in the garage. (The first is necessity the second is convince.)
FWIW, the difference between the two is, a service disconnect is rated to
carry the short-circuit rating of the transformer (10,000 amperes or more
depending on the size the transformer on the pole), while a main disconnect
need only carry the short-circuit rating of the total load served in the
dwelling (100 amperes).
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