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  • Any Electricians in da house?

    Thanks for having a look.

    I really, Really, REALLY want some advice before I start a shop wiring project - I don't want to burn my house down or violate every code in the manual.

    I've wired a shop for 110/220 before, but the main service panel was right there in the garage and it was also the entry point of power into the house.

    My new house has a nice 2 1/2 car worlshop (I think it was supposed to be a garage, but that's stupid (grin)) that I want to wire. As you'll see in my sketches (go easy: I used Microsoft Paint!) the power comes in (via buried cable) to the meter outside, through the garage wall to a main shut-off box. It exits the side of the shutoff, runs about 10" outside the finished (studs & drywall) wall, then goes back inside the wall to run the length of the garage, through the house/garage dividing wall, then down into the MSP in the basement.

    Hilarious amatuer existing power distribution diagram:



    I consulted an Electrician and he insisted that the best and easiest way to wire the garage was to just run circuits off the MSP back into the garage - no subpanel, nothing. He said that the 2nd best choice would be to put a 60A (or so) breaker in the MSP and run 6/3 all the way back into the garage to a subpanel and wire from there.

    I could do either, but it seems like a LOT of wire (especially the 6/3) to run when the power comes into the house right there.

    What I would *like* to do is modify the power dist so that it comes in from the meter to the main shutoff, from the shutoff to a new panel with feed-through lugs, then from the feed-through panel back into the main line that runs through the wall and into the MSP in the basement.

    Incredibly amateur proposed power distribution diagram:



    This just seems SO much more tidy, doesn't require any more cable, and avoids having any more long runs. I would run 4 circuits (lights, 220V, 110V, and DC) off of the new panel and be happy.

    Questions:

    1) Why can't I do this?

    2) If I can do this, are there any reasons I shouldn't?

    3) If I can do this, what grounding scheme is required? Do I have to make the current MSP into a sub, and ground it accordingly?

    Thanks a ton - sorry for being so long winded.

    Cheers!

    Gary
    Last edited by Gary Madore; 05-08-2012, 01:08 PM.

  • #2

    Re: Any Electricians in da house?

    Re: Any Electricians in da house?

    From the sounds of it, That 100 amp disconnect was installed in the garage to satisfy the electrical inspector.The code states that a service entrance run should be as short as possible.Locating the panel in the house but having the meter located on the garage and running a conduit along the garage wall may have caused an issue with the inspection authority. The Canadian electrical code would require you to sub off of the main service panel in the house.
    The ESA ( electrical safety authority) wont let you run two panels in parallel in a residential home.
    Best advice is to run a small 60 amp sub panel back to the garage. It will give you a lot more flexibility if you decide to purchace shop equipment that is 240 volt rated.

    LUSU Sparky

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    • #3

      Re: Any Electricians in da house?

      Re: Any Electricians in da house?

      First off I am not an electrician, but I have a setup that is similar to what you want.

      When we had our garage built we had an electrician install a double lug meter on the garage (and removed the meter from our house). We than installed a new panel in the garage and kept the existing house panel. The 2 panels are fed from the meter and are completely independent of each other.

      I would get another opinion from another electrician. Maybe inquire about a double lug meter (may not be allowed in Ontario???).

      Val

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      • #4

        Re: Any Electricians in da house?

        Re: Any Electricians in da house?

        Originally posted by lususparky View Post
        The ESA ( electrical safety authority) wont let you run two panels in parallel in a residential home.
        Thanks for the reply Sparky. I need to wrap my head around something: It seems *to me* that using a feed-thru loadcentre in the way I described has it in series with the MSP: Disconnect -----> Feed Thru -----> MSP

        If I'm wrong, cool - and I'll go with what you (and the aforementioned Electrician) suggested and just run a sub back from the main.

        But if I'm right (it's in series), would this be acceptable to the ESA?

        Thanks again,

        Cheers!

        Gary
        Last edited by Gary Madore; 05-08-2012, 05:15 PM.

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Any Electricians in da house?

          Re: Any Electricians in da house?

          Originally posted by greenv View Post
          Maybe inquire about a double lug meter
          Thanks for the reply Val - will definitely look into this option.

          Cheers!

          Gary

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Any Electricians in da house?

            Re: Any Electricians in da house?

            How far would it be to run a 60A sub from the main? I know that #6/3 is not cheap, but this sure would be an easy way to go. It would be much more preferable than running all the circuits from the main.

            You could also replace the disconnect switch with a panel rated for your service size, and feed the existing main which would now become a sub-panel. We do something similar to this fairly frequently when doing an addition on the house where the service comes in, and the service entrance needs to be moved. In fact, we did just this in my house, though I now have 3 sub-panels (because of two major additions, plus one shop upgrade).
            JIM
            Calgary, AB

            Comment


            • #7

              Re: Any Electricians in da house?

              Re: Any Electricians in da house?

              Make the garage panel you main panel and make the house panel a sub panel using a 100A breaker in the new garage panel. Would this be legal?

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                Yep........

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                  Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                  When I have electrical questions I usually post them on this forum http://www.selfhelpforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=5. Good folk with lots of info.

                  T J

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                    Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                    If you go with the new-main-panel route, make sure you remove the connection from neutral to ground in your house panel. That connection is only allowed to be made in your (new) main panel.

                    [ Real electricians, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I just play one on TV. :-) ]

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                      Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                      Originally posted by Ron Wessels View Post
                      If you go with the new-main-panel route, make sure you remove the connection from neutral to ground in your house panel. That connection is only allowed to be made in your (new) main panel.
                      While inspectors breeze through most of their inspections, checking this is something they seem to always do if there has been main panel relegated to duty as a sub-panel.
                      JIM
                      Calgary, AB

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                        Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                        Thanks everyone; I think I have enough info to move this project forward.

                        The run from the MSP back to the garage is around 30' - that's a lot of 6/3 (ouch!) to install a sub in the garage.

                        I like the idea of installing a new main in the garage, and converting the current main into a sub by untying the neutral/ground bars.

                        We'll see what the wallet will support

                        Thanks again,

                        Cheers!

                        Gary

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                          Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                          One thing to make certain of if you decide to go with a new main in the garage, is that the existing wire will be long enough to feed this new panel, plus connect to the breaker to feed the old one. Otherwise you will be buying new cable from the meter base. Unless you decide to splice somewhere on the load side of your disconnect (rather than replace it which would clean things up), you will also have to do a meter pull to cut the power while you tie in.

                          A 10m roll of 6/3 from Home Depot is under $300. It would be the easier solution, in my mind. Either way you go you would be adding in the cost of a panel, and a breaker, and this way would use a smaller one of each.
                          Last edited by BearLeeAlive; 05-10-2012, 09:38 AM.
                          JIM
                          Calgary, AB

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                            Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                            I am going to be the voice that no one wants to hear from.

                            I know people don't like to involve ESA and pay the fees but if your not sure about what you are doing you could do something that the next owner of the property will have to deal with and it might be dangerous.
                            A friend bought a house that someone put extension cords in the wall and a 30 amp disconnect in the attic that no one knew was there. I am sure the person who did this thought it was ok.

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                              Re: Any Electricians in da house?

                              Originally posted by Ron Wessels View Post
                              If you go with the new-main-panel route, make sure you remove the connection from neutral to ground in your house panel. That connection is only allowed to be made in your (new) main panel.

                              [ Real electricians, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I just play one on TV. :-) ]
                              Just a little clarification here, the connection from neutral to ground in which Ron is refering to will be located in the disconnect switch not the panel in this case. The panel in which is located in the house will more than likely be a load centre and not a combination panel with a main breaker. Only combination panels have this connection which are suitable for service enterance a load centres neutral is isolated from ground.

                              If i were going to do this i would install a new combination panel (usually cheaper than a load centre) in the garage and just feed the existing panel from it. The other good thing about doing it this way is that you can do it anytime you want say even on a weekend as the local utility will not have to pull the meter for this to be done. Just remember that you will only have to turn off the main disconnect but be extremely cautious there will still be power on the top lugs of the switch!!! Pull the fuses for extra protection. Disconnect the wires off of the bottom lugs that feed to the panel and remove the cable (i am assuming it is cable) out of the switch then install the new panel in the garage and install new wire from switch to new panel and hook up to lugs if using load centre or main breaker if using combination panel (if using combination panel remove bond screw from neutral to case to isolate neutral, it's uaually a brass screw but can be also green or a piece of copper strapping ) install old wire into new panel and hook up to a 100A breaker to feed existing panel. It's not all that difficult but if you are nervous working around anything live you best have the utility pull the meter so that there isn't anything live in the switch which is something that i really advise that you do.

                              Good luck and let us know which way you are going with.
                              If you want me to make it i need this new tool first

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