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New shop, with NO electricity. = $$$$$

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  • New shop, with NO electricity. = $$$$$

    My wife has been house hunting for months and she
    finally found a nice, little country home built in 1930
    And to my delight, there is a 20' X 30' metal building out back, sitting on a concrete slab!!! Both ends have bay doors!!! YIPPIE !!!!
    Plenty of room to machine, and add machines to my hearts content.
    ...Now the bad news.....
    The shop has NO electricity running to it.
    The house appears to only have 60 or 100 amp service.
    Obviously the house and breakers will need an upgrade.
    The shop will need a new line run out to it (50 ft.), new panel, and the entire shop will need to be wired for 240, & 120 circuts.
    I'm handy enough to install the boxes, recepticles, shielded wire, and panel. But I would need to hire an electrician to inspect my work, and make the final connections.
    What kind of expense am I looking at?

  • #2
    I would have a separate service going to the shop. That way the utility pays for the line to the meter on the shop. This will also stop brownouts from happening in the house when you start something big.

    You lay the conduit down, they will inspect, then you backfill and they will run the wire to the meter base.

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    • #3
      Depends how many beer you can get the electrician to accept.
      Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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      • #4
        It should cost $2,839.75. Or not.


        Seriously, first off, do you need an electrician? In most of the country, if you are the property owner, you can do your own electrical work as long as you pull the permits, get and pass all the inspections (underground, rough-in, final). Call your local building inspections office and ask them what the rules are for your area.

        Otherwise, make up a detailed work description, get the names of some electricians and call them up. One good thing about the construction business still being down is that most of them will probably call you back.

        My shop is run off a 125 amp breaker in the main panel for my house. I'd have to turn on something awfully big to dim the lights in my house.

        Steve
        Last edited by SteveF; 03-18-2012, 09:47 PM.

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        • #5
          It's not as bad as it might sound. Unfortunately only a local person will be able to tell you what the local rates are.

          You can do the work yourself. It's not that hard.

          There are a lot of little subtleties to the way you are supposed to wire it up. for instance I was shocked to find that there is a minimum bend radius for the wires to my sub panel. I was told that it keeps the insulation from cracking. Then there is "Percentage of fill" for the panels, junction boxes and conduit. It's easy to learn about, but there is a lot to learn about it.

          In my town, a building permit was required for adding a generator transfer switch and the building inspector who approved the plans looked at them, confirmed the design was OK and even made a few suggestions.

          Having the electrician make the final connection is a good idea.

          Dan
          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SteveF
            Seriously, first off, do you need an electrician? In most of the country, if you are the property owner, you can do your own electrical work as long as you pull the permits, get and pass all the inspections (underground, rough-in, final). Call your local building inspections office and ask them what the rules are for your area.
            That's what I did when I built my shop. I have a separate 200 amp service for the shop as the house only has 100 amp. I could have combined the service, but it was much easier to keep them separate.

            BTW, yo may find this site helpful: http://www.make-my-own-house.com/dia...al-wiring.html

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            • #7
              20x30 isn't as big as you think.

              My shop is 24x35 and it took less than 3 years to fill it.

              Electrical isn't bad to do yourself. I spent about 2K on wiring and permits all told, but I went a bit overboard with outlets since the walls are 5/8 sheet rock and I didn't want to surface mount conduit for anything. I also had to make the house a sub panel off the new main service and panel. I have a few 50+A circuits as well, and those add up when wired with copper.

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              • #8
                lots of info here too....
                http://www.selfhelpforums.com/index.php

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                • #9
                  I put a 200amp service in the house & ran from that to the shop & put a 100amp panel there. I always go 1 size bigger than recomended on wire & have never had any problems, dimming,etc. If you go seperate you pay commercial rate, double line charge & double all the other fees, at least here.
                  "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                  world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                  country, in easy stages."
                  ~ James Madison

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                  • #10
                    Just do the installation yourself, if in doubt on anything, find out first,the info is easy to find what is required.
                    Then get the system inspected.

                    re: outlets, don't scrimp on outlets, extension cords are a PITA!!
                    My sons garage is 30x40 and he installed 17 outlets along the walls, then also one at each outside corner of the building , which is pretty handy if you happen to need power outside there.

                    If you bury a pipe with the wire in it, be sure to run a phone wire in it also, you may not need it now, but the wire is cheap, and if you need it in the future it's already there.

                    Enjoy your'e new place, exciting times ahead for you on these projects.

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                    • #11
                      If you trench it put a waterline in the trench even if you don't hook it up now. Call your electrcal inspector & ask what's required as the power co won't set a new meter without his sticker OKing it. At least here.
                      "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                      world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                      country, in easy stages."
                      ~ James Madison

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                      • #12
                        I went with a seperate 200amp service to the shop. Put in twice the outlets you think you will need on as many seperate breakers as possible.

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                        • #13
                          The best way to get the service there depends on where the service comes from etc. I'd also consider doing the opposite and feed a new service to the garage and then tie the house to it. One of the driving factors will be is 100 amp really enough to feed the house long term (ie does it need A/C installed). You may be able to get a 200 installed and then feed the older box from the new.

                          Personally I like placing the meter base and a ground transformer at a service demarcation and then install a small service panel that would feed the house and the garage. Nice thing about that is any time you need to service just go unlock the panel and trip the breaker.

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                          • #14
                            If you aren't afraid of electricity (we all should, and hoppfully do show respect for it) you can wire it your self as a home owner you just need to follow the local city or county laws as to what is required.
                            I would recommend a 400amp meter main with 2-200amp main breakers 1 for each building, (see attached for an example, [/URL]) this is what I have installed and have done for others and it works out well.
                            The cost of overhead, verses underground is a little bit less but do think about any trees that could damage the overhead verses a 1 time ditch that you then could also put water and maybe even a drain line for a restroom or sink into the shop. I have done this and do not regret it at all.
                            A 100amp panel in the shop if you chose to, with you using more then 1 machine at a time I.E. welding and the lathe, lights, heat, etc. you will possibly use most of what you have available.
                            About wiring it your self, most of the questions that you have can get answered from one of the how to wire your house books @ home depot or even the local library, these should give you good guidance, and we here can help you through the process with tougher questions.

                            Feel free to PM me if you need to, Ill see what I can do to help.
                            Licensed Supervisor Electrician in Oregon

                            Mr. Fixit for the family
                            Chris
                            Last edited by Mr Fixit; 03-18-2012, 10:51 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Ohio Mike beat me to it...was recently in what I considered a really nice home shop (in floor heat, large gantry wood router, XLO mill just redone to CNC, smaller dovetail benchtop vertical, 12x36 lathe).

                              In chatting, a lot of the details are local rules and regs...for instance it pays to be close to a pole w transformer if you want to run 3 phase (here that often means house at the end of a block), in this case with no electric heat in the house and having a boiler for that in floor heat in the garage, they ran the main to the garage first (here provided there is only a single meter, the local service pays for any change, even if it is not really needed, you just want it) having it separate for shop and house would have meant the second would have all come out of their pocket and accomplished little...

                              Edit: as some have posted about 200amp for shop...here, though it can certainly be done, once you go over 200amp per residential address in a residential area, you are likely to raise some eyebrows, "they" begin to think business or something well past "home shop"
                              Last edited by RussZHC; 03-18-2012, 10:53 PM.

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