Wiring a detached garage


  #1  
Old 12-01-04, 07:26 PM
mjaye
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Help with garage wiring

Like some others on this thread - I too am going to wire a detatched garage at our summer cabin. While I understand this is a challenging DIY project - what kind of inspections should I expect.

I have also noticed that some boards say that if I wire a structure myself and something happens, such as a fire, my insurance won't pay for replacement. Is that true - and short of hiring a contractor - which would take the fun out of DIY - is there anything I can do.

Thanks -
 
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Old 12-01-04, 07:37 PM
J
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Inspections are handled differently in differert areas. When you get your permit, ask what inspections are required and when you should call for them.

In general, if you act in good faith and don't create a hazard on purpose, your insurance will pay. If insurance didn't pay for acts of stupidity, they would probably never pay a claim. If you have concerns, discuss them with your agent.
 
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Old 12-01-04, 09:15 PM
SkyKing
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In my opinion "good faith" would not include instances where local regulations were not followed such as permits, inspections, and licensing. While insurance does cover stupidity in some situations, I would venture it rarely covers ignorance.

Now, if you get the permit, have it inspected and pass, then you are fully insured.

I like DIY myself and love to learn new things. I would encourage you to undertake the process as long as your local reg's allow it. DIYing is very satisfying.

This is a great place to post with people like John, so post back!
 
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Old 12-02-04, 07:59 AM
J
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Unless it was and they can prove it was ARSON, the insurance pays.
 
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Old 12-02-04, 10:17 AM
J
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I upgraded the service to my previous house. First step is to call your city/town/village office and ask if you are allowed to do electrical work on your own home. If yes, get a permit. Prices vary, but mine was $35. They will require an inspection. My local Code enforcement does not do electrical inspections, the "local authority having jurisdiction" in my area is the New York Board of Fire Underwriters. You have to fill out an application for an inspection, their fee - $40. If you are inspected and pass, by the approved inspection agency in your area, they are certifying the installation as safe and any insurance company will accept this. Just keep the inspection certificate in a safe place. My village wanted a copy upon completion of work, so if worse came to worse, I could request a copy from them if there were an incedent, my copy is lost or burns up and I needed to produce it for the insurance company.

Juice
 
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Old 12-02-04, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by joed
Unless it was and they can prove it was ARSON, the insurance pays.
Joed
That may be true were you are but in many places it is not. An insurance policy is a unique form of agreement that legal scholars call a "contract of utmost good faith." It is considered a legal absurdity to attempt to insure against your own unlawful act. In a contract of utmost good faith both parties are required to be completely scrupulous in upholding their side of the bargain. The insured is expected to obey the law in any matter that could affect the likelihood of a loss. If a permit is required by law in your area and you don't get one then the insurance carrier can walk away from the loss. The premise is that the inspection may have prevented the loss and your failure to have one done is a breach of the insurance contract.
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Old 12-02-04, 04:07 PM
J
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On the basis of obeying the law an insurance company would almost never need to pay off on an auto accident. But I'm not an insurance broker or expert so I will I will say get all your permits and inspection or your insurance MIGHT not pay off.
 
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Old 12-02-04, 05:00 PM
SkyKing
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"On the basis of obeying the law an insurance company would almost never need to pay off on an auto accident."

All accidents are at fault anymore, if it is deemed "no fault" by the police, you better hope you have full coverage otherwise "liability only" won't cover anything. And it is a law that you are required to have insurance if you own a motor vehicle and use it on public road systems. So the at fault party always pays damages. Now, with full coverage it doesn't matter the reason so long as (in most cases) the bank's losses are covered if you destroy a car you owe money on. So, AN insurance company pays, not necessarily the victims. Comparing auto insurance to home owners insurance is a stretch at best anyway. It falls into the category of "false analogy" in argumentative discourse.

Hornetd did a nice job of summing up the concept.
 
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Old 12-04-04, 02:27 PM
mjaye
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Wiring Garage

John - Thank you for your reply on the inspection issue. In Minnesota, I believe that it is a State Inspector, but will check with my local municipality. The main problem for me will be the timing of the inspections, since it is a summer home.

Now that we have that out of the way - any thoughts on wire gauge? I will have a run of about 75' from cabin to garage. I am also going to hard-wirel the Sauna as well, which is on the way to the garage. The only thing in the sauna are two lights and an outlet for vacuming the floor. I have been talking with a friend who says we will need at least at 10 gague wire. I also had an electrical contractor at work tell me that I should put the wire in a plastic conduit to keep it protected underground. I wanted to put two circuits out to the garage. One for lights and one for outlets, both 20amps - is that sturdy enough? Thoughts please.

Thank you again, and I'll keep you psosted.

Mjaye
 
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Old 12-04-04, 02:47 PM
SkyKing
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Hey John, we should put a sticky up for wire ampacity vs. wire size @ temp. If you want the table's, I'd be happy to make them.

Mjaye:

I would say #12 or #10 AWG coper THHN/THWN on a 20amp gfi breaker, from the service panel, in conduit will suffice for the sauna (as long as the heating element in the sauna isn't electric). (10-3 seems like multiconductor wire and should not be used in conduit. Could be okay for direct burial if it is the proper wire.)

As far as your garage goes, you can't go wrong with a 60Amp sub panel. For this you'll need #6 AWG copper or greater (4 wires all together: blk,red,grn,wht). I would use #4, but then again I like to spend extra on my projects.

Your circuits in the garage would be on 20 amp circuits. If you have open studs and ceilings, it might be required to be inside conduit. You can use #12 THHN wire to run these circuits.

Once again, I'm a diyer not a pro.

Have fun!
 
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Old 12-04-04, 03:11 PM
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Wire gage for garage circuit

If you run the circuit to the garage as a multi wire branch circuit you will avoid a lot of complexity. You would need to run 8 AWG conductors in order to avoid excessive voltage drop under the most demanding conditions of one side of the circuit being heavily loaded and the other being very lightly loaded or having no load at all. The circuit you would run to the garage would be four conductors. The colors would be green, white, black, and red. Because a multi wire branch circuit is considered to be one circuit you are not required to build a grounding electrode system at the garage. When the circuit enters the garage it should enter into a junction box that is fitted with two cover mounted, single pole, single throw switches. These switches will serve as the building disconnecting means. Install at least one duplex outlet from the lighting circuit ahead of the light switches so you can use that circuit to supply power tools while working on the receptacle circuit. Do not use one of your building disconnecting means switches as a light switch. Those switches should be used only as the building disconnecting means so that their infrequent use will leave them functional when one of the light switches needs replacement. That will avoid the necessity of opening the circuit back at the house in order to change out a device. At the garage itself you would split the circuit using the white and green for both circuits and the black for plugs and red for the lights or vice versa.

Depending on the distance to the sauna you could use a 12 or a 10 AWG wire size for the fifteen ampere multi wire branch circuit. One leg would be the lights the other the vacuum receptacle. You would use the same arrangement of switches that you used at the garage to provide a building disconnecting means but you could substitute one double pole single throw switch as the building disconnecting means.
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Old 12-04-04, 03:30 PM
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mjaye, as you can see, you're getting advice all over the map here. That's because there are a lot of factors in a good design, and we don't have enough details yet to provide you with just one solution. A lot depends on how much power you need in the garage, both now and in the future. The fact that you plan to have outlets doesn't tell us anything about what you might want to plug into them. The range of possible power needs is large.

There are also many options on trench depth and conduit. Some of these depend on the surface underneath which they will run and how difficult or easy the digging is.

SkyKing, I don't think a table will help much. Electrical work is never as simple as a table, and it stands as much chance of misleading as helping.
 
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Old 12-04-04, 03:54 PM
SkyKing
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I can see your point. I was thinking more along the lines of a direct reference between wire size and the ammount of amperage you would like to send across them, not necessarily the ammount of load you would be pulling through them.

But, by the time you know how big you need, you'll probably already have the size vs. carrying capacity understood.

Anyway, just a thought.

Mjaye:

As you can see, my recommendation is based on my personal preferences. John is absoluetly correct about the fact there are many unknowns to give you a specific answer about your current situation. I find that by offering opinions on how someone would go about a situation the reasoning behind the decisions become more clear; hence the nature of most my posts.
 
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Old 12-04-04, 07:11 PM
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Unhappy

John
I was basing my answers on his stated load of twenty amperes. He had not mentioned any specific loads but he seemed to be talking about convenience outlets.
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