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hitnmiss
12-01-2010, 11:16 PM
Hi guys, I recently bought the house of my dreams... It has a 24x36 pole barn and it needs electrical power.

The house was built in 1973 with 100amp service. I'd like to upgrade to 200 amp at the house and run 100amp out to the shop about 50' away.

Whats the best way to do this? Do I need to upgrade to a 200 amp box in the house which will have a 100 amp breaker for the shop? or, is the main power shuffled out to the shop box which has a 100 amp breaker? Is running a new 200 amp box with two 100 amp breakers, one feeding the original house box and one feeding the shop an option?

To upgrade the house, any idea on cost? I've called the electric company (xcel energy in colorado) and was told that from the power pole to the house would be a "free" upgrade but I take care of anything in the house.

Any suggestions welcome!

Is 100 amp really necessary? I have a Bridgeport CNC, Feeler lathe wish to have a window unit AC (220), a 220 compressor, and someday a tig. At my old house the mill and lathe (and rotary phase convertor) ran on a single 220 30 amp breaker no problem.

Another option is to buy a gas stove and gas dryer (already have) and steal the 30 amp breaker from each to run 60 amps out to the shop... Or would I regret only 60 amps in the future?

The barn now has a 20 amp 110 breaker runing to it...

JoeFin
12-01-2010, 11:24 PM
$1400 - 200 amp service up grade

$10 per ft Above ground
$16 per ft Underground (300% less maintenance cost over 30 yrs)

$400 - 100 amp service installed

lakeside53
12-01-2010, 11:39 PM
You could regret only 60 amps. I have maybe 70 - Tig/mig + lights + compressor = problem. If I forget to turn off the electric heat, even more so. And add the startup from a 10hp rotary converter - lol... then I'd have to walk 378 feet back to the house to reset the breaker.

I wanted 100-125amps, but.... accidently ran 1 AWG instead of 1/0 20 years go...:rolleyes:

Your house? If you're happy with 100 at the house, just upgrade the panel to 200 and take 100 for the shop.

macona
12-02-2010, 12:07 AM
I would put a separate meter on the shop.

When we built my dads shop they didnt charge to hook up. Nor the upgrade of the panel on the house. Everything from the pole to the meter is their responsibility. We laid the conduit for them to run and then they inspected and ran it.

Nosman
12-02-2010, 12:27 AM
One other option is to have them run a 200A to the meter, and put in a dual gang base. That allows you to leave the 100A for the house and run the other 100 out to the panel in the shop. This is the way I did mine since I wasn't ready to do a panel upgrade in the house, and a new service to the shop. The meter base was a little difficult to source, but was completely reasonable when we found it.

hitnmiss
12-02-2010, 12:36 AM
Lakeside, good to know thanks. Looks like 100amps would be worth it.

macona. I agree but another house I looked at in the neigborhood did put in a seperate meter on their shop, problem is the elec company charges $15 per month for another meter. $180 a year for another meter doesn't sit well with me.

Nosman. That's what I think I want to do, thanks for the terminology. Now I can ask about a dual gang base. What's the "Meter base" you refer to? The meter that spins? I need a bigger one for 200amps I assume?

Any rough guesses on cost? dual gang base,meter, line out to the shop, box in the shop.

macona
12-02-2010, 02:34 AM
A meter base is the fixture the meter plugs in to.

One trick we used when rewiring my parents place was to use a mobile home bases on the outside. Then the panel inside the house becomes a sub-panel and there is less permitting and inspections required. You could come off one of these bases with your run to the shop as well.

Like this one:

http://www.doitbest.com/Load+center-Square+D+Co-model-SC816F200S-doitbest-sku-556033.dib

camdigger
12-02-2010, 02:43 AM
The new meter cabinet/base we have has a bus bar below the meter for user connections. IIRC, there are 4 sets of terminals, only one of which is presently in use. Shutting off the mains at the meter kills power to these terminals so I can hook up direct to the meter enclosure. Someday I hope to replace the existing overhead run with underground, but there are numerous projects in line ahead of that.

JoeFin
12-02-2010, 08:30 AM
Actually if your new house is zoned for agricultural you can check with your utility and building dept to see if you can get a separate agricultural panel. Just tell them it is to run a well for the horse, chicken, sheep, what ever. That way you can have a separate 3 Phase drop and service on your out building. Additionally the Ag rate here is a couple of cents less per Kw then the residential rate

They offer them here - I have no idea what they offer in your area

Arcane
12-02-2010, 08:36 AM
One other option is to have them run a 200A to the meter, and put in a dual gang base. That allows you to leave the 100A for the house and run the other 100 out to the panel in the shop. This is the way I did mine since I wasn't ready to do a panel upgrade in the house, and a new service to the shop. The meter base was a little difficult to source, but was completely reasonable when we found it.


X2 ! This way you don't have to even make an entrance into the house which is a not small consideration. This method was the one I would always recommend to my customers before I retired from my position as District Operator for the provincial electric utility, a 200 A meter box with duplex lugs on the load side of the meter. If you go this way, check to make sure the hole in the lug is large enough to take whatever wire size you will need to run to your shop.

rockrat
12-02-2010, 09:35 AM
I purchased a house and installed a 40x60 shop out back. I had a 35 foot run to the shop for electric from the house. I upgraded the house to 200 amps with a buried line and buried a line to the shop for 100 amps.

When I checked here, an extra meter meant extra monthly billing even if I was not using the shop. Every meter that the power company reads gets a minimum billing to cover paperwork, reading, postal mail, office costs, ceo's pay, etc, etc.

I did install a meter inside the shop so that if I ever wanted to write off a business I had a way to calculate what the shop used. An electrician friend of mine encouraged this and also warned that if the meter was on the outside, the electric company would try to read it and send me another bill.

I have never regretted doing the work. From learning the calculations and figuring out the runs to doing the work and working with the local inspectors; the whole thing has taught me more than what they did in my college electrical classes. There is only one thing that I would have changed but its minor and I can live with it.

Now if your going the agriculture route, which sounds more promising for everything, then you should be able to get 3 phase to your shop as noted in the thread earlier. Might be a good thing if you plan to go hog wild and start a little business. Plus county fees, taxes, permits etc all change for agriculture usage and here the change is for the better. Agriculture gets a more broad brush to build and install buildings plus it allows you to do things in a way that your neighbors have less control over.

rock~

goose
12-02-2010, 09:43 AM
I would put a separate meter on the shop.

When we built my dads shop they didnt charge to hook up. Nor the upgrade of the panel on the house. Everything from the pole to the meter is their responsibility. We laid the conduit for them to run and then they inspected and ran it.


Where's this wonderful place? Not anywhere I've lived. :(

We had a barn in Massachusetts with a separate meter, maybe 30 amp. It was an obsolete style referred to as an "A" type. I looked into getting it upgraded. The utility's perspective was NOPE - NO WAY - ABSOLUTELY NOT. Does not endorse, support, or recommend doing anything other than eliminating the barn meter. They were happy to provide a free disconnect and removal of their property if I wanted. I said, no thank you, we'll leave it alone for now.


Gary

lynnl
12-02-2010, 12:15 PM
$1400 - 200 amp service up grade



Yep, that $1400 for a 200 amp upgrade is right on the button.
I just had that done on my old homeplace, and that's almost exactly what it cost me.
I just happened to run across a temporarily layed off electrician who did it for me. That was labor, service box, weather head and pole/pipe, meter base, breakers, wiring, etc.

bborr01
12-02-2010, 12:40 PM
Regarding the dual meter box, or meter socket as the power company guys around here call them. I would check with the local power company for a socket. When I have needed them, they gave me socket, insulators, mast head, etc. free of charge.

I upgraded the incoming electric on my house many years ago. The power company was responsible for hooking up their wire to my wire. I was responsible for installing the new meter socket and installing a mast through the roof. They said they would un-hook and re-hook up to the new wiring.
I saved them the trouble and did it myself. I also didn't need to wait for them to make two trips to un-hook and re-hook up things.

Brian

jep24601
12-02-2010, 01:01 PM
I already had 200 at the house when I built my workshop so I just ran a new feed from the pole and gave the workshop 200 also.

macona
12-02-2010, 02:26 PM
Where's this wonderful place? Not anywhere I've lived. :(

We had a barn in Massachusetts with a separate meter, maybe 30 amp. It was an obsolete style referred to as an "A" type. I looked into getting it upgraded. The utility's perspective was NOPE - NO WAY - ABSOLUTELY NOT. Does not endorse, support, or recommend doing anything other than eliminating the barn meter. They were happy to provide a free disconnect and removal of their property if I wanted. I said, no thank you, we'll leave it alone for now.


Gary

Portland General Electric, they have been pretty good service wise.

flathead4
12-02-2010, 03:24 PM
Mine was like macona said. I built a 25 X 50 shop detached from the house. I wanted 200 amp service in the shop for machines, welders, etc. The electric company gave me the new meter box and once I had it mounted and inspected they pulled the cables from my pole to the new shop for "free." Free is in quotes because I am commited for ~$25.00 per month for 5 years whether I use that much electricity or not. After 5 years I just pay for what I use. I sunk 50K in the shop so I certainly wasn't going to skimp on the power. I didn't skimp on the wiring either. I have 20 amp recepticals every six feet, a 50 amp welding outlet at each end, etc.

Tom

garagemark
12-02-2010, 03:35 PM
Here in WV the power company runs only to the mast. You are responsible for the wire from the mast head to the meter socket. I too pay big bucks for a separate service (200 amp). I cannot get residential rates in my garage because it doesn't have a bed, a stove, a shower, and permanent heat system. I get charged what they call "general rate". It is way more than residential, but just slightly less than full commercial. Ching!

And no, the war department won't let me put that stuff in there either. She makes me come home at night.

gary350
12-02-2010, 04:46 PM
I have already done this. I had a house with 100 amp service too.

I fixed the problem like this. Cut a hold in the sheet rock next to the circuit box you already have. Buy a 200 amp circuit box and put it in the wall next to the other box. Put a 200 amp main braker at the top of the new box.

Call the power company tell them you want your service turned off at 8 am and you want it inspected and turned back on at 12 noon.

After your service is turned off remove the wires from your 100 amp main braker to the watt meter. Replace those wires with new 200 amp wires from the 200 amp main braker to the watt meter.

Next you put a 100 amp braker in the 200 amp box then run wires from the 100 amp braker to the old 100 amp box. Now you have 200 amp service to the new box and 100 amps to the old box.

After the new wires are inspected $35 fee the service will be turned on again for about $30 fee.

Now you can run service to your shop.

I have 60 amps in my shop it runs everything the welder uses the more amps.

Arcane
12-02-2010, 09:39 PM
That's a heck of a lot more work than just changing out the meter box plus you would still have to physically make another hole into the house for the run to the shop. AND since you have changed your old main breaker panel into a sub panel, you have to address the grounds and neutral issue...they can't be bonded together in the subpanels, only in the main panel.

gary350
12-03-2010, 12:02 AM
That's a heck of a lot more work than just changing out the meter box plus you would still have to physically make another hole into the house for the run to the shop. AND since you have changed your old main breaker panel into a sub panel, you have to address the grounds and neutral issue...they can't be bonded together in the subpanels, only in the main panel.

You have to run a wire to the shop anyway so how else do you get a wire from the circuit box to the shop if you don't run a wire through a hole in the wall or under the house.

I would not put in a second service that costs about $1000 last time I checked then you have to pay 2 electric bills every month. If the power company has to set a pole thats another $1000.

Connecting the 2 boxes together is a 5 minute job with 2 pieces of wire about 4 ft long both boxes have ground lugs and terminals, stick in the wire and turn the screw cut off the extra wire. Wow how hard is that.

Thats the way I did it. My circuit box is on the front of the house it is over 100 ft around the house and another 30 ft to the shop. I ran my wire under the house 40 ft then 30 ft to the shop it was much closer and I only had to hand dig a ditch 30 ft long for the wire instead of 130 ft around the house. If I had gone around my house in the other direction then I have to go under a driveway and sidewalk.

My old circuit box would not take a 200 amp braker so I had no choice but to put in a second box it was much easier than completely replacing the old box.

Each situation is different maybe this will not work for you.

Dr Stan
12-03-2010, 12:14 AM
I would put a separate meter on the shop.

2X on this. When I built my shop I ran 200 amp service with a separate meter, but my monthly meter charge is only $4.00. The house has 100 amp service which is enough, but I'm very glad I installed the 200 amp panel in the shop. Having excess capacity is nice and I never have to go to the house to reset a breaker (been there done that :( ).

One suggestion is to run conduit and single strand instead of Romex. It's much easier to change/modify/add onto the surface mounted circuits instead of trying to dig inside the walls (or opening them up) for the wire. I also ran 10 gauge for all my 110 volt outlets so I have 30 amp breakers on them. My lights all have 12 gauge and 20 amp breakers. Both of these are overkill, but since I did my own wiring I figure I could "splurge" on the wire since my labor was free.

BTW, have running water, a sink, and a commode in the shop. My previous shop have none of these and I made sure this one does. :D

Rich Carlstedt
12-03-2010, 12:41 AM
I have to ask.
Why not put a 200 amp panel and meter socket in the shop ?
The power company would run to it, and all you need to do is run 100 amp service back to the house. No changes to the house.
A friend in Illinois did that and his power company accpted that.
lowest coat alternative I believe, and no tearing up the house
Rich

Ed P
12-03-2010, 10:00 AM
I owned a 1740 square foot house in South Carolina that was built in 1977 and had a 200 amp service. Out of curiosity I did the calculations in the electrical code book and it came out to, I think, 125 amp service required. This was an all electric house, heat pump with auxiliary electric strips. I went around the house and turned on everything, *everything* and checked the load and it was only about 80 amps. So I have to wonder what the heck you guys are doing in your houses that require 200 amps???

Ed P

Nosman
12-03-2010, 10:17 AM
Even if you were to take a basic 6kw for a range and add a handful of electric heat strips, you would easily surpass your 80A measurement. You must not have a lot of stuff, either that or you forgot to turn some stuff on! Oh yeah, and add the basic 10kw for the square footage alone! These are Canadian rules, so you guys might be a little different.

Abner
12-03-2010, 10:17 AM
I installed a 400 a meter base with 2 200 a fused switches and an additional 30 amp breaker for running the well separately in case of fire. All are mounted on a small shed and then feed to each building underground in conduit.

I have more than enough power obviously.

I wouldn't do much different except install a larger panel for more 240 v breakers in the shop. I installed a separate private meter base in the shop. Our base fee went to $28.00 per meter per month. It doesn't take many months to pay for that system improvement.

rockrat
12-03-2010, 10:53 AM
I have to ask.
Why not put a 200 amp panel and meter socket in the shop ?
The power company would run to it, and all you need to do is run 100 amp service back to the house. No changes to the house.
A friend in Illinois did that and his power company accpted that.
lowest coat alternative I believe, and no tearing up the house
Rich

Here in Ohio, at lease my locality, you may not run the meter to a detached building and then also make a run to your residence. The meter that feeds the residence must be attached to the residence. It is ok here to feed the outbuilding from the house.

Every area has different restrictions. Whats ok in Illinois may not be kosher in Florida. In Ohio, each county is allowed to make its own rules so long as they are above and beyond NEC. So check with your locality as you plan this out. I have not found a building inspection department that wouldn't help me yet here in Ohio.

rock~

Arcane
12-03-2010, 11:10 AM
You have to run a wire to the shop anyway so how else do you get a wire from the circuit box to the shop if you don't run a wire through a hole in the wall or under the house.
If you use a 200 amp meter box with provisions to take two separate runs off the load side terminals, you go straight from the meter box to the shop where you terminate in a panel box with a main breaker and the other run goes into the house same as before. This eliminates having to do anything inside the house including the hole that the service would need. You do have to duct up from the ground to the new meter box but that's simple and cheap to do.

I would not put in a second service that costs about $1000 last time I checked then you have to pay 2 electric bills every month. If the power company has to set a pole thats another $1000.
True. If you get a second meter, it will cost you a minimum monthly bill every month, for as long as the meter is there. After awhile, that gets very expensive. As a matter of fact, here a metered garage would have to be billed commercial and the policy here is to charge for the full cost of the installation minus two years anticipated revenue. That's two years of consumption, not two years of minimum billing. Unless you can somehow write off the expense of a second meter, you are far better off in almost every case to run on one meter.


Connecting the 2 boxes together is a 5 minute job with 2 pieces of wire about 4 ft long both boxes have ground lugs and terminals, stick in the wire and turn the screw cut off the extra wire. Wow how hard is that.
Harder than exchanging the meter box for a duplex one. If the basement is finished, it might be really hard to do and expensive. Plus you have to address the neutral/ground bonding issue.

Thats the way I did it. My circuit box is on the front of the house it is over 100 ft around the house and another 30 ft to the shop. I ran my wire under the house 40 ft then 30 ft to the shop it was much closer and I only had to hand dig a ditch 30 ft long for the wire instead of 130 ft around the house. If I had gone around my house in the other direction then I have to go under a driveway and sidewalk.
Sounds like you have a crawl space. What if you had a finished basement with a concrete floor? I'd still recommend the new meter box to eliminate fooling with the existing panel box and having to mount the second box. Not everybody has a lot of room to do that as many have completely finished basement.

My old circuit box would not take a 200 amp braker so I had no choice but to put in a second box it was much easier than completely replacing the old box. With a new meter box, you don't worry about your existing panel or even have to touch it.

Each situation is different maybe this will not work for you.
Absolutely! Without actually seeing the physical setup hitnmiss has, the best we can do is give our best suggestions and let him decide what works for him.


One suggestion is to run conduit and single strand instead of Romex. It's much easier to change/modify/add onto the surface mounted circuits instead of trying to dig inside the walls (or opening them up) for the wire. I also ran 10 gauge for all my 110 volt outlets so I have 30 amp breakers on them. My lights all have 12 gauge and 20 amp breakers. Both of these are overkill, but since I did my own wiring I figure I could "splurge" on the wire since my labor was free.

BTW, have running water, a sink, and a commode in the shop. My previous shop have none of these and I made sure this one does. :D
I couldn't agree more! (Except for the 30A breakers on 120V outlets. I'm pretty sure that's against the Electrical Code.) One thing I wish I had in my shop is drop cords from the ceiling, the self retracting ones, for all my 120V electrical outlets. Four of em at least. That way they are always accessible and you never have cords running across the floor and the best part is no loose cords after you are done using them!

A 200 amp entrance will provide one heck of a lot of power! I've only seen a handful of residences that required more than that, and I have seen thousands of residences. Job related, eh?

rockrat
12-03-2010, 02:35 PM
One thing I wish I had in my shop is drop cords from the ceiling, the self retracting ones, for all my 120V electrical outlets. Four of em at least. That way they are always accessible and you never have cords running across the floor and the best part is no loose cords after you are done using them!

Best advice ever. I have done just that and it is easier than tripping on extension cords or moving machinery close to the wall.

rock~

hitnmiss
12-03-2010, 07:04 PM
Thanks for the discussion guys. I figured a few pics might help:

Feed:

(the shop shadow is shown... Not to far to the shop)

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc283/hitnmiss_photos/98af7d1b.jpg

Mast:
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc283/hitnmiss_photos/2318d261.jpg

Meter:
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc283/hitnmiss_photos/fe70396a.jpg

box: (just on the inside wall opposite the meter
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc283/hitnmiss_photos/2ff63043.jpg

The wiring in the house is copper.

Abner
12-03-2010, 08:19 PM
Drop cords from ceiling______---------

I have not reinstalled my cord device yet but I will try and describe it. Insulated my shop and now need to put it back.

A common door hinge mounted 7'-8' from the floor against a wall. A piece of 1x2 - 8-10' long mounted on the hinge sticking out horizontally. An eye screw mounted above the hinge 2-3' and wire attached to it and to the 1x2 about 2/3 rds of the way out from the wall. You get a swinging 1x2, 8-10' long that I just zip tie an extension cord too. I leave about 5-8' hanging off the end so it never touches the floor....

You can swing it out of the way. It is so light that it doesn't 'pull' when you use it. 1 cord can cover quite an area.

I can't tell you how much I like it and use it