I am putting an outdoor kitchen in and would like to have a subpanel to run the electrical needs. Their would be a mini fridge, grill rotisserie, 5 receptacles, 3 ceiling fans and some lights. I plan on having the receptacles on 2 different circuits so if we have crock pots or blenders going we don't overload. The main panel on the side of the house is 200 amp and it would take 90-95 feet of wire to reach the location the subpanel would be. The wire would go through conduit that has already been installed. What size wire would I need? What size subpanel? Thanks in advance

  • 3
    What type and size conduit is in place? Are the fridge and rotisserie simple cord connected devices, with standard 15 amp plugs?
    – Tester101
    Dec 18 '15 at 23:46
  • 2
    I agree not quite enough info to give an informed value. We need the voltage and wattage to provide a good answer as some grills are 220 at up to 8Kw that I have installed
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 19 '15 at 0:56
  • The conduit is 1" electrical. The fridge and grill would both be simple cord standard plug in devices no 220v. Thanks
    – Kevin
    Dec 19 '15 at 11:07

You should really have done this calculation before installing the conduit but a 1" will be sufficient for what you want to do.

The answer is: the sub-panel needs to be sized large enough to carry the calculated load of all of the appliances, lights, fans, and plug connected loads. If you have all 120 volt loads you can either add up all the currents and then divide by 2 since you are splitting the load between two conductors on a 240 volt panel, or add up all the wattages and divide by 240 to get the max current on the feeders to the sub-panel.

Most of what you listed are very small loads except for the crock pots and other possible plug connected loads that can be manufactured as high as 1500 watts for 120 volts. (I am thinking of a resistive charcoal starter.) So, I would calculate the receptacles at a minimum of 1000 watts per if you plan to have mixed loads at that location.

All that said there are only a few basic sizes for sub-panels and a back-of-the-envelope calculation tells me you could have as small as a 60 amp panel here with #6 wire feeding it. Now, if you want some room (ampacity) to add on in the future and have big plans to grow your outdoor kitchen, you may want to go with a 100 amp panel fed with #3.

Now it comes down to personal preference.

Good luck and happy grilling.

  • 1
    A 100 amp panel would need #3 wire.
    – TFK
    Jan 18 '16 at 17:10
  • 1
    No, there is an exception in the NEC for dwelling units that allows downsized service conductors and feeders. Read through Article 310.
    – ArchonOSX
    Jan 19 '16 at 8:21
  • 1
    Oops, I see it. 310.15(B)(7) - (1) through (4)
    – TFK
    Jan 19 '16 at 16:24
  • @TFK you were right. That exception does not apply to sub-panels it has to carry the entire load of the dwelling 310.15(B)(7) "For a feeder rated 100 through 400 A, the feeder con-ductors supplying the entire load associated with a one-family dwelling, or the feeder conductors supplying the entire load associated with an individual dwelling, unit in a two-family or multifamily dwelling, shall be permitted to have an ampacity not less than 83 percent of the feeder rating." which leads to a situation where the feeders for a 100 amp sub-panel are larger than a 100 amp service.
    – ArchonOSX
    Jun 16 '16 at 22:27

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