Electrical Wiring in the Home/Subpanel pros and cons

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Question
Hi Greg,

I live in a condo on the third floor of a multi family house and will be going through renovations where walls on the third floor will be exposed.  I thought this a good time to assess the idea of having a panel on the third floor instead of the basement.

Currently, all runs go from a main panel in the basement all the way to the third floor (there are separate meters and panels for each condo).  The contractor said he may need to pull a few more runs to some rooms during the renovation and that this would not be as easy or pretty as it would have to go through this long stretch.

Pros of having a panel on the third floor would be the shorter runs and being easier to pull those runs w/o going through two floors.  Also, access to the breaker is much easier if something trips.

I am looking to have just as much amps as the main panel (200 amps) with the subpanel.  Will this be an issue or must it be less?  

Would the electrician just be able to move the main panel to the third floor instead of having a subpanel?

What are the cons of having a panel on the third floor?  Can it be near living space or must it be outside of it?  Is it dangerous?

Thanks,
Thomas

Answer
I can not think of one con to having the sub panel in the condo, as long as it installed properly.

You want to have the breakers close in case you have to turn one off, especially in an emergency situation.

The main and sub panel can be rated the same, you just need to make the proper sized wire is ran from the main to the sub to support the sub panel.

Moving the main is something I would need much more info for me to advise on that. There are code issues, physical issues, etc.

To me, it makes sense to have all the meters/mains close to each other and then have a sub panel in your condo. For example, what if the city or emergency responders need to turn the power off to the building. It would be much easier if they could turn all condos off at one central spot instead of going into each condo.

Most sub panels are located inside. They are typically in a closet, but not always. It is nice having it inside so you can reset them without leaving your condo.

Again, if installed properly (to code) it makes sense to me to have the sub up with you on the third floor.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Greg Hughes

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Troubleshooting electrical including appliances and HVAC.

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34 years of experience.

Education/Credentials
Both college and tech schools in this field.

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