Help with double vs single pole for reno

Calyptra4January 29, 2013

We are preparing for a DIY kitchen reno that includes adding some recessed lighting. Our panel is completely full but we discovered that some breakers are not being used. Specifically, we have a gas oven and behind that is an ancient plug for an electric oven. In the breaker box, the electric oven plug is powered by 2 double pole 50 amp breakers (see pic). What we were wondering is if we could replace those breakers with single poles (20amp singles preferably)? In the end, we will probably get an electrician out here to do the work but I'd like to know what to ask for and to be a little more educated about this before he starts work.

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Yes, you can do that. If you can use half-sized breakers, you might get 4 in place of those two.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 6:34PM
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As ionized said, yes that can be done. And looking at that picture, the 3 breakers to the right of the 2-pole 50-Amp breaker are already half-sized breakers, so you have the space available for 4 more circuits. And I'm assuming since those 3 half-breakers are in the "off" position, they're some of the circuits not being used? So that gives you the availability of 7, 120V circuits. Which is good, because in a kitchen you could easily use all 7. Since you're remodelling, you'll need to upgrade the kitchen, electrically speaking. You need 2, 20-A 120V GFCI-protected circuits for countertop receptacles alone. You may be able to utilize the existing lighting circuit, depending on the current load, and what lighting you're planning on adding. If not, a seperate 15-A, 120V circuit will be required for the lighting. If there's a dishwasher, that's another 15-A, 120V circuit. That's 4 circuits already. The fridge should be on its own 15-A circuit. If you're installing a garbage disposal, that's another 15-A, or 20-A circuit, depending on the motor size(check the nameplate on the disposal). And check the electrical specs for any and all appliances you plan on installing, I.e. hoods, coffee pots, toaster ovens, warming drawers, ice-makers, etc. The kitchen has the most circuits of any room in your house. Better to plan ahead now and take advantage of the walls(and possibly ceiling) being opened and accessible to run the required circuits now, then to try and fish new circuits after.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:08AM
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