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wiring my new garage

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2004-03-28          81423


Ok, I just read all thru the post, "wiring a old barn" or what ever it was. I have a few questions that may over lap and a few new also. My new Garage is around 200' from my house electric. In my house I have an on demand hot water system (for now) very happy with it for this is my second home and when we arive its usually really late and showers can be took by everyone (5 of us) without waiting for heating the water. anyway, This has a 70 amp system (dont use all of it all the time but will flicker the lights a bit. LOL. I need to get electric to my garage, and the post talking about asking the electric co-op what to do is probably the best. Wondering if I can have the electric company run anouther secondary main (from the box which lowers the juice from the main) to my garage and have it on the same bill without anouther mandatory user fee? (17 bucks a month) ouch. I dont know what I will need for power in the future since I am moving there in 4 -5 years and I am a tool and die maker which means I will more than likely have machines out there. The power company charges $3.75 a foot for the burial and the wire (I think its a deal) although I can put it in for less just how much is my time worth????? I did just buy a new tractor and it may be more fun than not, but I still can find other things that are better (or more fun) that need to be done with it. That 250' extension wire is starting to get old (wrapping it up everytime I am done with it) LOL>

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2004-03-28          81426


Questions:
What amp service do you have into the house now?
Is there any 3 phase equipment that you need in the barn?
How many amps do you anticipate needing in the barn?
Peters ....

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wiring my new garage

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loghouse95
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 87 missouri
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2004-03-28          81432


My shop is about 150 ft from my meter, I wired my shop and run the appropriate size electrical cable from my breaker box to the meter, leaving about 8 ft of cable out of the ground to wire to the main meter. I had previously contacted the electrical co-op and explained to them what I was doing, They told me to leave the last few feet of trench uncovered so they could confirm I was burying the cable the correct depth, I installed the cable in conduict.when I was ready for them to connect me they came out and hooked everything up at no charge I recommend you wire your shop with a 200 amp box so you will have enough power to run all your "TOYS" Good Luck ....

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wiring my new garage

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-03-28          81436


I think there are splitters that can be installed after a meter. Ordinarily they won't work because most times an existing service panel and service line have the same rating. A new heavier service line can be expensive but maybe not as expensive as two separate services.

An alternative depending on how full the house panel is might be running a branch circuit off the house panel to a sub-panel in the garage. Branch circuits most places can be up to 125A and service panels can be 'over-fused' to 110% of rating or so. At 200' at least one step over-sized wire would be required. There would be details to check. I suppose that in very stringent code areas it might be possible that a 200' run might require wire size that wouldn't be approved for the size breaker needed. Unlikely but possible and you don't want to be committed to something only to find that it can't be approved.

I did the service at out camp as a branch circuit off a main panel. New 200A service to a pole panel and a 100A branch circuit underground to the 100A panel in our 40' construction trailer. $3.75 a foot sounds like a real deal. If it's 100A copper direct burial wire I doubt I could buy the wire for that price. Trenching is fun though. ....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2004-03-28          81439


Thanks all of you
Tom
I actually paid $3.25- 4 years ago to go 435 feet from the poles under ground to my house in the woods.

Do most electric meters have a spot on them to connect anouther line (say one to go to my garage?)

Here is a spin of one of the other posts on a different thread here. We have NO inspection and NO zoning so basically there is NO code ( that is scary huh?) Anyway I had the whole house wired up and ready for the electric to be put into my box. I had a buddy (electricion for 18 years) check my work and he approved. The electric service guys came out and ran the wires. They asked me if I wanted to hook the wires up before they connected it to the box outside. I told them I would but did not have and tools to do it with at that time (or atleast the allen wrenches needed) He told me, "dont worry I aint supposed to do this but what the heck" He hooked it up and tightened everything up. 3 weekd latter (on a SUNDAY) I was putting in 2 more lines in the box and I noticed the main line moving!!!! The allen screw backed off and was letting this bent heavy duty live wire pull back. It was almost out and I though the tension on it would (if it pulled out snap back and touch the whole system) I freaked!!! I called the co-op and they told me if I wanted I could break the seal and pull the meter! Phewww Job solved and I am still hear to talk about it. Moral of the story????? Never let a trained person do a job for you that you know you would do as good or better.
I tend to ask alot of questions, do alot of homework, and bring someone in that knows what he is doing to check my work (if I never done something before) I know I wont do something that is questionable so I am better off doing it myself most of the time (especially where my other house is located)
Hey thanks for the ideas, I will talk with the co-op next week and get their opinion also. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-03-29          81456


I've never seen a meter base that could split a service line but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I think the main issues you'll face is that the total of rating service panel or panels connected to a service can't (or in your case shouldn't) exceed the rating of the service line. In addition, splitting the line behind the meter would require the garage feed to be treated as a service line. Codes for service lines are more stringent than for branch circuits. If your service panel already equals the line rating, then you're sort of stuck.

Codes are pretty conservative but they're designed so life expectancy of wiring is around 50 years. Higher than rated loads make wiring run hotter, which shortens the expected life. If you're 'code free' then you can make a decision to exceed ratings and shorten service life but it's good to recognize the risks and boy have I seen people taking huge risks. Your experience with the line and lug is also why lines can't be ganged onto the terminal lugs. Also for that reason I tighten the lugs in several stages separated by several days before going live.

Irrespective of co-op arrangements and lack of inspections, codes are basically good sense and intended to keep houses from burning down etc. Working to code is pretty good practice even if it isn't required. Many retail and wholesale suppliers have 'Electrical Codes Simplified ' books that are pretty good for keeping an amateur (and I'm one) pretty close to codes. The books give quite a bit of detail about trenching requirements for underground feeds and for load planning. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-03-29          81459


My only comment comes from experience, I am not any kind of an electrician, so I let the pros do that. I've rewired the main shop three times since it was built (1981). The last time was three phase and I think 440 volts, I don't have a clue how many amps, but some of those breaker boxes are big. The local REC was very helpfull in planning things to meet code, etc. Another lesson learned from experience, whenever you bury a line run it thru an underground conduit that's at least twice as big as you need now, I'll guarantee someday you'll need heavier wires and doing that now makes upgrades a simple matter. hope this helps, Frank. ....

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wiring my new garage

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2004-03-29          81462


Like you I also wired the house my self and had a electricial inspect. I asked the questions as there are a number of ways of doing it.
I have one barn off a 100 amp breaker in the house. I put in a large 300 amp service and then break off a separate 100 amp leg to another box in the barn. If you are not running a heat pump or some thing this is plenty of energy.
The new meter base I put in on the house has lugs for an additional leg out of it , after the meter. I am sure you could just change the meter base.
I also have another barn on a separate 200 amp service, but have a hot water heater, pool pump and spa on that service. ....

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loghouse95
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 87 missouri
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2004-03-29          81477


I have two additional 220 volt lines (my shop and and guest house) run from my meter that the electrical co-op hooked up for me. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-03-30          81527


In most places the utility is responsible for making connections to service panels. If they connect it then it's got be up to code so there's no debate there. I'm assuming that meter bases with additional lugs are larger than the standard jumbo bases because I can't imagine for example that there'd be enough room in a 200A jumbo base for three 100A lines in addition to 6 200A lines required for standard 200A service. I don't know if the additional lugs Peters mentioned would accommodate heavy service line not.

I'm reasonably certain the idea wouldn't fly here, although the last service I installed was going on 4 years ago now. It might be a good deal if the idea flies but to me splitting still is equivalent a branch circuit in terms of total load rating on the utility line and a branch circuit hookup should be easier. I really can't imagine that existing service line would be so above a service panel load rating that an additional 100A could be hung on it but who knows? Similarly I can't imagine a utility being too happy about residential service with multiple disconnects but again maybe it's a good deal if the idea flies. Our utility is conservative and the rules worked to are pretty restrictive. ....

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kully560
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 61 NY
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2004-03-30          81603


ok this is what you need to do , as I have been doing this for 30 years now so I guess I should know. your house panel /service should be change to 200 amp first. once that is done than you will run 1.5"sk.80 pvc from house panel to garage,make it 2 feet deep in the ground, when you cover with dirt add 1 foot of dirt over pipe, then roll out caution tape over fill so you do not dig it up latter.than fill in trench the rest of way. you will need to pull in 3/ # 2 copper wires and 1/# 4 ground wire to feed 100 amp panel . 100 amps is more than you will need because how many machines can you use at once. I over sized the wire because off voltage drop you will have at 200 feet away.nice new 200 amp service at house ,and 100 amp at garage.also add 3/4# pvc in trench for phone a must. the reason why your meter wire lossen up is because it was probably alum. and not copper .alum must retighten at least once several days latter as it is soft ,so that is why I recomend using copper only better job .I hope this will help ,ps do not pay $17 a month for 2nd service use it to pay for complete up grade once kurt ....

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texbaylea
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 51 Brazos County, Texas
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2004-04-02          81931


I built a 3000 sq. ft. utility building 150' from the house. I am located out in the county but the electric utility is city owned and easy to work with. This is what they came up with: a 300amp meter base that has two lugs for each conductor; underground service from service pole; the meter base is on the utility building with feed through the wall to 200 amp service/lighting panel; exterior connection to 200 amp "mobile home" service panel with 8 breaker spaces and 200 amp lugs fed through. Right now I have two meters, the one on the utility building and one with an aerial drop to the house. In the near future I will go underground to the house from the external panel to the house and remove the aerial drop and meter base and have only the single meter. Since we are in the county there is no inspection required beyond what has already ben done and I am doing all the work myself. ....

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kully560
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 61 NY
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2004-04-04          82121


be carefull with no inspection anything happens no insurance company will cover , inspections are cheap insurance.save certificate.as far as meter pans with double connections for each wire if run under ground and happins to get dug up service will short out all together must have power company to repair on pole. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-04-04          82139


I couldn't agree more. I'm subject to codes and inspections and have done all my own work. I actually like the inspectors I've worked with.

Kully's point about insurance companies is a very good one. After we finally managed to have 500 gallons of waste oil left courtesy of a previous owner disposed of my insurance broker said: 'You know that if there had been a spill there wouldn't have been any coverage.' I said 'No, do tell.' She said insurance companies have a policy that insurance is to cover accidents and something that can be reasonably foreseen isn't an accident. That was quite an awakening but insurance in other areas may not be the same.

For electrical there is a National Code and 'code simplified' books are readily available. I think that sticking with codes is a good idea irrespective of what can be done or isn't required. ....

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stan1234
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2 Canada
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2004-06-01          87456


Hi all. I am going to wire my garage with 110. Does anyone know how deep to bury the line into the ground? I live in ontario Canada, if that helps with code. Thanx! ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-06-01          87462


I'm not sure my "Electrical Code Simplified" is the current edition but the requirement is about 30" in pedestrian areas and 42" under drives for unprotected line not including the 3" of sand required below and above the line. Protection with 1.5" cedar planking above the sand decreases the depth requirements by 6".

Conduit isn't required and doesn't count as protection (it does make replacing line easier if necessary). Plumbing drain or most anything works for underground conduit sections but verticals or anything that is attached to a structure must be approved for electrical use.

The code book is available in places like bookstores and Home Hardware for around $10 and is well worth the price. One thing that's not exactly clear in code books is that book is that a disconnect is required in the garage (unless my inspector was wrong). ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2004-06-01          87463


When I first read this post I thought he was talking about a ground rod. Maybe not. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-06-02          87493


Maybe just some unasked for detail here but maybe interesting to some. Supplemental grounds for outbuildings are required here only for buildings that house livestock. The main idea is to ensure that neutral and earth potentials are the same. Especially in dairy operations tingling from differences in potentials can sure put them off their food and make them cranky.

Generally supplemental grounds are undesirable since they can set up ground loops that may use power and reduce life of the grounding system. Around here grounding rods start loosing their effectiveness at around five years anyway and plates last only a little longer.

Regarding disconnects: For separate structures, a circuit breaker for a single circuit or a double breaker for two circuits qualifies. Anything else takes a sub-panel with a main breaker or a separate disconnect box. The neutral and ground busses cannot be bonded. ....

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stan1234
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2 Canada
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2004-06-02          87554


I'm just wiring 110 through 3/4 pvc conduit to garage behind my house and into a breaker box. ....

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