Electricity to shop
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Thread: Electricity to shop

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    userjh160's Avatar
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    Electricity to shop

    So we should be ready to get wired upon the shop/garage by the end of next week. The stub into the shop is about 15 ft from our breaker box for the house which has 8 open slots

    I'll consult with an electrician when I get someone out to look at it, but just wanting some opinions on options.

    Full disclosure, I know very little about anything electrical so some of what I suggest may not even be possible.

    I'm assuming we have two options...either add breakers to the house box and wire everything in from those, or come off the main at the house box and install a breaker box inside the shop and go from there. I'm trying to figure out if one has any advantage over the other, cost, ease, or some added convenience that I haven't thought of. Which route would y'all take? Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by userjh160 View Post
    So we should be ready to get wired upon the shop/garage by the end of next week. The stub into the shop is about 15 ft from our breaker box for the house which has 8 open slots

    I'll consult with an electrician when I get someone out to look at it, but just wanting some opinions on options.

    Full disclosure, I know very little about anything electrical so some of what I suggest may not even be possible.

    I'm assuming we have two options...either add breakers to the house box and wire everything in from those, or come off the main at the house box and install a breaker box inside the shop and go from there. I'm trying to figure out if one has any advantage over the other, cost, ease, or some added convenience that I haven't thought of. Which route would y'all take? Thanks!

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    If it was me, I would have a panel in the shop.
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    Captain Hook Kennyd's Avatar
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    Your option #2 is best, it's called a "subpanel" if you want to search some-lots of threads here and on the net about adding one.
    This is best in my opinion because it will leave you 6 open slots in the house panel, and the circuits for the shop will be in the shop. I'd suggest a 100 panel so you have room to expand.
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    I can only tell you how I did it here in Ontario. I only needed 20 amps at the garage so I put a double pole 20 amp breaker in the main panel and wired 3-wire #8 from there underground to the garage about 130 feet away. I used pvc conduit to go through the floor into the crawl space and under the foundation. It's then direct buried to the garage and through pvc under and through the garage floor to a 30amp disconnect with two 20 amp screw-in circuit breakers. I then ran #12 3 conductor the length of the garage, one hot leg for lights and the other for outlets. It was cheaper to use the double pole breaker at the main box, than put a pony panel there, and another in the garage. Good Luck. One thing, if you do it yourself, get it inspected. If you don't and there's an electrical fire, the insurance company may deny your claim.
    Last edited by NotYourGrandfathersDeere; 07-06-2019 at 10:04 AM.
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    I believe the electrical code requires you have a panel in the garage if you plan on running more than 1 circuit.

    Not having a sub-panel is silly anyway, IMO. Do you want to run back into the house every time you trip a breaker? A sub-panel in the garage is usually cheaper in the long run and is always more convenient.
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    Quote Originally Posted by userjh160 View Post
    So we should be ready to get wired upon the shop/garage by the end of next week. The stub into the shop is about 15 ft from our breaker box for the house which has 8 open slots

    I'll consult with an electrician when I get someone out to look at it, but just wanting some opinions on options.

    Full disclosure, I know very little about anything electrical so some of what I suggest may not even be possible.

    I'm assuming we have two options...either add breakers to the house box and wire everything in from those, or come off the main at the house box and install a breaker box inside the shop and go from there. I'm trying to figure out if one has any advantage over the other, cost, ease, or some added convenience that I haven't thought of. Which route would y'all take? Thanks!

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    You definitely want a sub panel in the new shop, it makes things much easier in the long run. My shop includes a two stage compressor and large mig welder as well as several woodworking machines, table saw, shaper, planer, drum sander and dust collector, all these are large 240v machines. Since I'm a one man shop, I almost never run more than two machines at a time so I get by just fine with a 60 amp service to my shop. On rare occasions my compressor might kick on while I'm using one of the machines and running the dust collection, so it's sized to handle that along with all the lights and plenty of room to run a couple fans and whatever else might be running.

    Very simple to do and most of the cost will offset when compared to the labor and material to run numerous circuits the extra distance into the house. This way you have a nice starting point for your wiring in the shop and you won't fill up all the available slots in the main panel. You install the appropriate sized breaker in the house and size the wire according to that breaker and the distance to your shop. I have a 60 amp breaker and four #6 copper THHN, running through conduit about 50 wire feet to my shop. Two of the wires are hot, one is neutral and one is a ground that will bond the panels. The neutral and ground bus are separated at the sub panel and the neutral bonding screw should be installed at the main panel but removed from the sub panel. All of your receptacles and lights must have the neutral wires connected to the neutral bus bar, and the ground wires connected to the separate ground bar.
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    Awesome, looks like its unanimous. It's great to have a friendly knowledgable forum to turn to. Thank y'all very much.

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    Oh and I absolutely will NOT be doing this myself. My skills dont extend any further than replacing a light switch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by userjh160 View Post
    Oh and I absolutely will NOT be doing this myself. My skills dont extend any further than replacing a light switch.

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    Very wise indeed.
    One of the potential pitfalls is that incorrect oftentimes functions as normal and may not be realized until a tragedy has occurred.

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    Well, quite a bit depends on a lot of factors.

    How much power do you want in your shop? How many amps...

    How much is available from your house panel?
    ---How many amps is your house panel rated for?

    How big is your current meter base? How many amps...
    ---You might be able to come off the base with a disconnect and run to a subpanel in the garage if you have the available capacity to do so.
    If not, you may be able to upgrade the meter base to be able to accomplish this.
    This is likely your best option.

    I would recommend running 100 amps for any future requirements you might have, and on a separate circuit from the house panel, IE subpanel.

    The rest of this gets fairly windy.

    Years ago in our old house, I had a single 20 amp breaker going to my garage.
    That was fine for the odd one man project and little air compressor I had, but adding a Hobart Handler 140 115V welder was too much.
    I decided to upgrade, and after looking at everything, I added a double pole 60 amp breaker to the house panel and ran a trench with wire to the garage and added a sub panel there.
    It worked fine even when I upgraded to a 220V Handler 187 and added a Hypertherm Powermax 45.

    Fast forward a few years to moving to a new place.
    Similar issue, except I had 30 amps and a subpanel already.

    The trouble I had though was that the house had two 200 amp meter bases, and two 100 amp panels. They were fairly maxed out, so no room to expand without getting creative.
    I was going to run a sub off of one of the meter bases, but after checking with the power company, I found out the supply to the house wasnt rated to accept any more that was already on it.
    That changed the plans significantly.

    Our local power company did some calculations, and figured that if I wanted 200 amp service to the shop, they could run the wire from the existing transformer and install the meter at my cost, or I could let them run new wire to the house, to a 400 amp meter base, and they wouldnt charge me a penny.
    Thats what I did.
    I then added 3 exterior disconnects, one for each panel, per local code.
    One for each interior panel in the house, and one for the garage.
    All 100 amps.
    I could have gone bigger, but there was no point.
    I trenched from the house to the garage, ran 2ga wire and installed the 100 amp panel there with more than enough circuits to do anything I need now and might want in the future.
    I did all this work myself, including all wiring, box installs etc, except the work the power company did running the wire and attaching it to my 400 amp meter base.
    From that meter base, everything else was my responsibility.
    Interestingly enough, where I live there are no inspectors, and while Im plenty confident in my abilities, I know several people who do things like I do that arent nearly as capable or conscientious of safety requirements or codes.

    Anyway, its all been good for a few years now, although I do wish when I ran the trench and wire to the shop, Id have run a second trench with a gas line for a heater.
    Oh well. A project for another time I guess!
    Last edited by IndianaJim; 07-07-2019 at 01:04 PM.
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