Add more power, convenience, and safety to your house's electrical system with Brian Walo
Whether you're building an addition or renovating an existing space, a new subpanel may be the easiest way to add electrical circuits to a house. In this For Pros By Pros video series, licenced electrician Brian Walo shows you everything you will need to do the job right.
Online Members can read this related article from Fine Homebuilding magazine.
A Subpanel is a Secondary Breaker Box
Instead of originating at the main service panel, electrical circuits can begin at a nearby subpanel that is powered from the main panel through one heavy-gauge cable. This configuration saves wiring, energy and your footsteps to a distant panel to reset a tripped breaker.
Subpanels can update old electrical systems Adding a subpanel is sometimes the best way to integrate new wiring with an old electrical system. In the article Wiring a Master Suite Addition, a new subpanel was installed to replace an old, failing subpanel in a poor location. The article lists some other circumstances where a subpanel can save the day:
If the main panel doesn’t have enough open breaker spaces for the new circuits
When AFCI breakers aren’t available for an older electrical panel
If it’s a long way from the new wiring to the main panel
Pulling one feeder cable would be more convenient than pulling several branch-circuit cables
If you expect to need more circuits in the same part of the house in the future
Brian Walo is a licensed electrician in Mount Pleasant, SC. When he’s not designing additions or renovations, he enjoys fishing, working on handmade guitars and furniture, and honing his culinary skills. Brian lives with his wife, Val, and their daughter, Grace.