Finishing off the basement, going to have a bar area about 15 ft from the main
I expect to have 2 refrigerators, a microwave, at least 2 different lighting
circuits, and a couple additional outlets, maybe a TV.
Would it make sense to run a sub-panel to that area, and feed the various
circuits from that, or just run several lengths of 12/14-2 (as appropriate for
the load on each circuit) from the main panel?
"Light travels faster than sound;
This is why some people appear to be bright
I'm going to have to agree with Curmudgeon. Let's put it into perspective.
If this was common practice (which is not), then I would have a sub-panel in
my kitchen (2 lighting ccts, fridge, dishwasher, garbage disposal,
microwave, range, not to mention the split-receptacles), one in my laundry
room (washer, dryer, fridge, lighting, iron), one in my garage (2 garage
door openers, lighting, 2 receptacle ccts, CVS) etc. Because the bar area
is only 15 ft from the main panel, it would be pointless to install a sub
panel. The money you would save in the 12/14-2 would be far exceeded by the
cost of buying a panel box.
It would make a little sense in one situation though. Suppose you have the
following situation (as I have in my home): You only have 2 empty slots in
your main panel. You would have to have a sub panel installed anyway, so
you might want to minimize your runs. But even for 15 ft, personally, I
would just install the sub panel beside the main panel.
Remember to keep things simple. Typically, houses do not have sub-panels
(or if they do i.e. need more ccts than the present panel can accommodate, a
sub-panel is added next to the main panel). So when you go and sell your
house, it might confuse a new owner when they trip a breaker (in the new
panel) and they don't see any tripped at the main panel.
Also, I'm assuming you are going to put in a sink in the bar. Remember to
put in GFCI receptacles (or breaker) near the sink. Also, If you are in
Canada, you might have to install split-receptacles (I'm not sure on the
code, but in kitchens you do).
Me too - even in this case.
You not only need to factor in the cost of the subpanel and fat feed wire
versus lots of thin branch wires, but its ultimate subpanel location, and
what _that_ requires.
By the time you figure out convenience - of one "panel area" versus two
to "prettify", loss of storage space in your renovations, meeting code
requirements on subpanel placement/mount fireproofing etc, a few bucks saved
(if any) with 15' of fat feed are going to be swamped by other factors.
So, unless you have NO available slots, and NO space near the main for
a subpanel, or need common disconnect (ie: a safety kill switch in a shop),
you're virtually never going to be ahead by replacing 15' of branch circuits
with a subpanel/feed.
Even if you do have to install a subpanel, having the subpanel right
next to the main will almost always be better overall.
The only thing I would recommend is considering common neutral circuits
(split 240/120) to run two 120V circuits each. This doesn't necessarily
save you money in cable, just less wires to pull if you're cramped for
cable routing and perhaps a bit less in breaker costs (tie-barred duals).
But do pay attention to the rules for wiring those.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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