Adding Circuits - Time to Upgrade Panel?
I want to add at least 10 new circuits during our major remodeling of the downstairs living space.
Our current electrical panel is a 1984 vintage GE. The only model number I can find on it is TM2020. It has 20 full size slots and the label says a maximum of 40 circuits... all the 15 and 20A circuits use 1/2 size breakers (total of 14). There is also one full size 20A, and one each double pole 30, 40 and 50.
This leaves six (6) full sized slots open, which should be sufficient for 12, 1/2 size breakers but leave no room for expansion or additional double pole breakers.
The problem is... I don't like these 1/2 size breakers. They look cheap and have minimal contact with the bus bars; it seems like a bad idea to cram in so many circuits in a small space due to the heat generation. I also don't like the 3-tiered structure for neutral and ground wires... it's a nightmare of wires.
Therefore, I am considering upgrading the panel to at least one with 30 slots/40 circuits so I can use mostly full sized breakers, or possibly a 40/40. A 30/40 panel would be almost the exact same size as my current GE so might be an easier install. Two that I've looked at are the Square D, QO13040M200 at Home Depot, and the Siemens G4040B1200CU at Lowe's. I believe both of these have copper bus bars.
The Siemens is $145 at Lowe's and the QO is a bit less.
Thoughts or recommendations?