90 amp breaker

for a sub panel with three 20 amp and 2 15 amp breakers.
Any ideas? concerns?
Main panel is 100 amp. sub panel is for second floor bedrooms/bath.

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Are you asking why a 90 amp CB? What size conductors are within that SE cable feeding the sub?

I wonder if the OP is thinking that 3x20=60 + 2x15=30 60+30=90 and the panel is maxed out.

The size of the conductor is OK, just trying to figure out the rational

The rational as in why 90?

Most likely it is more capacity than was needed vs something like maybe a 60 amp feeder that might be undersized. Sounds like good design to me. Without knowing the calculated loads it is a guess.

You do not add breaker ratings to determine the actual load on a panel.

Unfortunately I think that is what was done here. Homeowners wiring. There was a water heater removed and the 30 amp breaker could have been used for the second floor. It has been disconnected at the main panel. It’s 3 small bedrooms and a bath. 100 year old home with minimal outlets/lights.

Since they’re all single phase, 120 volt circuits in the sub the available current at 120 volts is actually 180 amps not 90 amps. But this is all pretty hypothetical.

The feeder should be sized according to the load which in this case is smaller than 90 amps. The OCPD is sized according to the SER cable feeding the sub panel. What is the size of the conductors in the SER cable?

I agree it does seem a little strange and rubs me the wrong way too. May be Harry Homeowner wiring, who probably added up the subpanel breakers to come up with a 90A feeder breaker.

Not that there is automatically anything wrong with a 90A subpanel … it depends on the actual load for the 100A service. You said its a small house, but it does look like there are a number of 240V loads/appliances. Did they install a gas/oil WH for the electric one that was disconnected? Gas/oil heat?

When I see stuff like this that may have been done by Harry I look very carefully at the wiring (secure cable attachment, floating neutrals with bond strap removed, neutrals separated and individually terminated, correct branch wires, no nicked wires at insulation cuts, etc).

I am also curious about the feeder and size (#1 or 1/0 AL 3W+G SE Cable?), and how did they terminate the subpanel feeder neutral in the service panel? Haircut or split wire?

Why would one suspect that this was done by a homeowner, is it because of the 90 amp CB? Actually #2 SER is a standard size and at 75° C is rated for 90 amps under the 2005 and earlier NEC cycles. Under the 2008 and 2011 that same #2 Al SER is only good for up to 80 amps since it must now be used at it’s 60° C ampacity.

90A double pole CB feeding a few circuits in a 2nd floor, while the rest of the house is on a 100A service. If an electrician did it, he needs to retake the exam. The circuits that are in that sub panel are not likely rated at 100% load unless they connect to baseboard heaters. You don’t rate a panel at the sum of all the breaker sizes.

Care to elaborate on what the specific problems there are with a 90 amp feeder to a sub panel?
And what does 100% load mean?

I typically only see that breaker used for heat pump toaster wires, and the subpanel breakers just happen to add up to 90A. Im guessing there is an issue with terminating the feeder neutral too. The wire looks larger than #2 AL

As I stated earlier, and as you know, adding of the CB values is not a reliable method of determining anything. And also in this case at 120 volts you would have 180 amps of available current so the 90-90 amp comparison is irrelevant.

I do agree that from the photo it does appear that the neutral is terminated improperly. Just for clarity in this discussion maybe Peter will check back in with the size of the SER cable. :slight_smile:

We know that, but Harry Homeowner doesn’t … :slight_smile:

And maybe my eyes are going bad, but that subpanel feeder wire looks just a bit larger than the service entrance cables, which are likely #2 AL for a 100A service panel. That would be another clue.

JMO & 2-Nickels … :wink:

Hi guys, the service cable is #2 and the neutral was split.
This home was built in 1910 but has been renovated. No electric heat. electric dryer, 220. Electric stove. The water heater was removed and a new oil fired boiler supplies the hot water. Thats why I couldn’t understand why they didn’t take that circuit to feed the 5 circuits on the second floor. The 30 amp double pole breaker is shut off and not being used.

Thanks for your comments.

So then the 90 amp OCPD is the correct size for this feeder cable, unless the installation falls under the 2008 or 2011 NEC. Then is would need to be 80 amps.

I will try to find it but I believe you have to rate the cable using the smallest rating of the equipment and a lot of the equipment lugs for cable connections are only rated for 60C so I don’t think you can use the 90C ratings of the conductors, I will try to double check this.

Yes, I’m not sure when the remodel took place. Most of the home was renovated, new baths, kitchen, heating equipment ETC. I found many areas to be suspect of home owner installations and have recommend a permit review with the city.
Buyers agent is doing that Monday so we’ll see.

You are limited by the temp rating of the terminals, but it’s really old stuff that may be rated for only 60C

Bob’s correct. You need to take the terminal temperature rating into account when sizing condcutors. In post #16 for 90 amps I assumed it to be 75° C since almost all lugs are now rated as such.