Need More Wall Outlets? You May Want To Add A Sub Panel Breaker Box

Frequently, homeowners complain that there are not enough electrical outlets in their house. If you are one of those people who have multi-plug extension cords all over the house, then adding more outlets in each room is an excellent solution.

But, you can't just go and start adding outlets on the existing circuits without risking overload every time you turn on the wrong combination of electrical items on a circuit. There is a way to safely eliminate this problem and that is to add a sub panel to your existing circuit breaker box.

While now and then there will be some empty spots in your breaker panel to add a couple additional circuits, usually you will find all the options were used up when your home was built. Rather than having a whole new circuit panel installed in your home, you can affix a sub panel adjacent to the main panel that will allow you to add some more circuits for your extra wall outlets.

Maybe You Can Use a Tandem Breaker

If you are only considering a couple outlets, you can use existing breaker spots and do what is called a tandem breaker, but that will limit your options. If you try and use tandem breakers on a 120-volt system you may end up with what is called a multi-feed.

This is when you have a pair of circuits trying to share the same neutral. This can occur very easily and will create a situation where you'll be blowing the fuse any time you overload it slightly.

Adding a Sub Panel

Since blowing fuses because of an overload is not a practical solution, you are back to the best choice; adding a sub panel. Here are some simple steps for you to consider if you think you can tackle the project yourself.

  • Select the breaker switches that are the closest to where you plan to attach the sub panel. If possible, add the sub panel below the main breaker box, but if that is not an option you can install it in a different spot. Just be sure to check the distance so you leave enough wire from the pair of breakers you plan to use to feed the sub panel.
  • Once you have the sub panel attached to the wall, cut enough wire to run a jump from the two main breakers to your sub panel. Remove the old breakers and add new breakers that at a minimum double the capacity of the ones you take out.
  • The best suggestion is to change the old breakers both to 50 amps, which will be sufficient strength to handle at least 5 – 10 amp individual breakers in your sub panel. When your panel is completely wired and new breakers in place where you want your outlets to feed off, you will have locations to connect the new wiring in your sub panel.

Adding a sub panel in such a configuration can allow you to add multi-outlets to any room in your house, without having to go to the expense of completely redoing your existing breaker panel. Be sure if you have any question about your ability to understand correct electrical wiring to consult a licensed electrician to be on the safe side. To find out more, speak with someone like Electrical Contracting at McCaine Electric Ltd.

About Me

start learning about your entire home electrical system

When you turn on a light switch, why does a light bulb illuminate? This was the first question that my son asked me that got us both interested in learning how home electrical systems work. He asked me that question three years ago and since then, we have worked to find the answers to this and many other questions about home electrical systems. We have experimented, attended workshops and spent hours researching home electrical systems. If you have a problem, question or are just curious, our blog is a great place to start learning about your entire home electrical system.