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Garage Subpanel Project - Problem With Main Panel - Advice Please

13 years ago

Oof, my garage subpanel project has run into a problem. It turns out - I foolishly failed to check this, but now I know - that the lower breaker positions on the cover of my 100A main panel are fakes. There is no busbar there. So as things stand my main panel is completely full, there is no room to add a 240v circuit to drive a garage subpanel.

I know one solution is to replace the main panel with a larger one. Here is the problem - see the panel location, pictured below. I am not convinced it is legal under current code. There is 30'' of wall, but that includes the main stack, the utility sink, and some other plumbing. I am happy to lose the utility sink, which we never use, if that will make the location acceptable for a new panel.

The adjacent wall is a compliant location, once I move the freezer. But most of the cables and wires will not reach, they will have to be extended, that's a lot of junction boxes. The main service won't reach either.

Either way, I think a new main panel is beyond the scope of my DIY ambitions, this project would cost (guessing) $5K. By the way, all our large loads are gas (dryer, oven, heat) so we don't actually ''need'' a higher-amp main panel, but naturally if I did spend the money for a new main panel, we'd go for a 200A since that seems to be expected nowadays.

Or, I could add a subpanel on that adjacent wall, shift over a few circuits whose cables do reach, and then proceed with the garage subpanel powered from the main panel as planned before. That, I'm ok with DIY'ing, with permit/inspection of course.

Can you guys give me some advice? What would you suggest? It seems more elegant to simply put in a larger main panel, but I was planning on spending $1K not $5K.

Here is a link that might be useful: My prior garage subpanel thread

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