New Circuit Questions

shay1208August 29, 2010

I need to add a new 220 volt 40 amp circuit and receptacle to my garage. My panel is listed as being max of 225 amps. I have check with Oncor (power distribution company here in Dallas), and I have 200 amp / 240 volt service. The main disconnect is a dual 60 amp breaker. It is outlined in the picture below. Does this mean I have 120 amp service? If so can I replace the 60 amp dual breaker with a 100 dual breaker to increase my service to 200 amps?



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NO. DO NOT replace that breaker with a larger one without having an electrician check out your panel.
You have a 200A service. You panel is what is called a split-buss panel. ALL the breakers in the top section are main breakers. You are allowed up to six main breakers. That 60A is the "lighting main".
Split-buss panels are no longer made.

That is also a Zinsco panel. They are notorious for failures and burning up busses (as in the metal rails carrying power to the breakers).

Your best bet would be to have someone replace that panel with a new 200A main breaker panel.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 8:06AM
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Ron Natalie

Gosh, I remember replacing that blasted Zinsco panel in my own house. Even finding the big amperage beakers will probably be pricey. It certainly was annoying with those breakers fail (no fire in my case but the circuits with fritz off).

As Petey points out (and I'll just clarify) the top section breakers are not controlled by the 60A. This is how you can get 200A with the 60A "lighting main" below. There's a special dispensation for service disconnects (hokie) that allows this provided all the power in the house can be killed by moving only six handles. In your case (as near as I can see), you've got four tied-together breakers above the lighting main and the main for five. You could put another big circuit on the top section but frankly if I was going to add anything, I'd think about replacing the whole thing with something that's modern.

Getting new Zinsco breakers is getting pricey these days anyhow.
I made some of my neighbors happy when I put my old panel on the street and marked it "free breakers" .

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 8:56AM
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Thank you for the advice. I have read about split bus panels. Any idea what a ballpark figure for a panel replacement would be?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 3:28PM
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Ron Natalie

Runs about 2k around here.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 1:18PM
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Thank you Ron.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 11:55PM
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