Subpanel / Waterheater wireing

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  #1  
Old 12-26-06, 06:15 PM
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Subpanel / Waterheater wireing

Well, I was planing on taking out my meter pole because it was rotting away but mother nature decided to do it for me. I just bought this house (my first) in August.
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r146/slacker97/dcp_0909-1.jpg
Anyways, I have a few questions:
1) The pole had the meter on it and went back up and split to the house and garage. Instead of replacing the pole we put the meter on the house and used the old service entrance (weather head) (this service entrance is becoming frayed and I was going to replace it this spring) to go backup the house and over to feed the garage (to be replaced with underground this spring). So the garage used to be a main panel and is now a sub panel. So now to my question, this panel is grounded and all neutrals and grounds go to the same bar. They should now be separated, right? Can I get a new bar to use as the ground bar and attach it to the panel? Its an old Murray panel. And is having no main disconnect on the sub panel bad? I have a 100 amp double breaker in the main panel for this sub panel.
Main - http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r146/slacker97/dcp_0959.jpg
Sub - http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r146/slacker97/dcp_0957.jpg
And why is the one breaker blue in the sub panel? It controls the lights (2 bulbs) and right now is how you turn them on and off, soon to be remedied.

2) Safety concern - the water heater and well jet pump is on the same 30 amp double breaker. As you can see after the main panel the wire goes to a very old shut off box with two 30 amp fuses:
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r146/slacker97/dcp_0958.jpg
the wire comes in from the upper left and the water heater attaches on the right and goes out the bottom left. Now my concern the well pump hot is doubled up on the bottom right lug and the neutral connects in with the grounds on the grounding screw in the upper right of the box. And as you can see the white hot for the water heater is blackened at the end.

Sorry for the long winded post. So what are your recommendations. Thanks for the help, I've been reading through alot of the old posts and find them very helpful.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-26-06, 07:56 PM
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Wink

Long weekend comming up.

Make a list, check it twice, and start a new.

by the time your done re-peicing together what you have.... You'll be done sooner with the new service.

There is still time to get to the poco, find what you/they have available to you and get the paper work in order.

Get that info and we can help further.
 
  #3  
Old 12-26-06, 08:35 PM
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Okay, you have a bunch of issues here, and I am sure that I won't catch all of them; you are frankly in very deep for a DIY project.

1) In general, a subpanel needs to have grounds and neutrals separated. _However_, and this is extremely important, you can only separate ground and neutral if you provide a separate 'equipment grounding conductor'. Where you currently have three wires going into your garage panel, you would need _4_. If you separate ground and neutral in a panel, and don't provide a path for fault current to return to the neutral, then you create a very dangerous situation, one much more serious than improper bonding in the subpanel.

2) If there are no continuous bonded metallic paths between the two structures (things such as metal water piping, continuous structural steel, fence that is electrically continuous with building steel, etc. then you are permitted to keep ground and neutral combined at the subpanel. This is the one exception to the general rule of grounds and neutrals separate at a subpanel, and generally not recommended. However since you currently have _3_ conductors between the two panels, it is probably your best choice. When you replace this feeder with an underground one, I'd recommend going with 4 conductors.

3) You are _required_ to have a main disconnect in this subpanel, since it is in a detached structure. A maximum of '6 throws of the hand' may be used to operate the 'main disconnect'. This means that your set of 4 breakers is legal as the 'main disconnect'. If you are going to be adding anything more, you probably will need to add a main breaker.

4) The blue handle breaker looks like a different brand. Many breakers will fit in panels made by other manufacturers, however you must use only those breakers listed on the panel label as suitable for the panel, or breakers that have been 'classified' to be suitable for your panel. Just because it fits doesn't mean that it is safe, and a poor connection here could damage the bus bars and force you to replace the panel.

5) Your jet-pump and water heater connections simply need to be replaced. Note that this is a 240V circuit. The _white_ wire is _not_ a neutral; it is one of the two required 'hot' legs needed to give 240V. It appears that the jet pump is wired to one of the hot legs and the _ground_ of the water heater wiring as its neutral connection. I would provide the jet pump with its own separate circuit.

6) There are a whole bunch of neatness and workmanship issues, eg. the amount of romex sheath inside the panels, and proper securing of cables.

-Jon
 
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Old 12-27-06, 03:59 PM
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Well put Winnie.

There is still time, Get your "ducks " in a row. If money is the issue, Get a Pro and power up the house. Then you can deal with the garage.
This is very important to get it done correctly.
 
  #5  
Old 12-27-06, 04:21 PM
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Sorry, guess I wasn't clear. The new service has already been installed, by a pro. I just wanted to make sure that the garage panel, with the neutrals and grounds on the same bar was correct. I would assume that he would have looked at the sub before he hooked it up, but I wasn't there the whole time and I forgot to ask about it. There is no other metal path the the garage from the house. Like I said, this spring I plan replacing and burying the line to the garage.

And about the water heater - jet pump, I knew the water heater is on 220 and pump on 110. I thought it was odd that they would combine the two and have the neutral for the pump on the ground screw. And any reason for having the fuses in line after the breaker, both being 30 amp?

I plan on installing a water softener, can I use the same new circuit as the jet pump. I would like to put the new circuit in so it runs the pump, outlet for softener and a light (only on when work needs to be done at these appliances or if I need to shut the circuit for the other basement lights off).

It seems a lot of work was done by a lot of hacks. There is a web of wires running all over the basement ceiling with all sorts of junction boxes bust at the seams, and I found three live wires just taped off and sitting on the floor. I am by no means a pro, but I like to take the time to make sure things are safe and neat looking.
 
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Old 12-27-06, 04:58 PM
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I HOPE you showed us the "before" pictures! Coz' If those are "after"......wow.

If your mess is that big, I would suggest.. Sooner than later.... Take one ckt at a time and redo it. get rid of the rats nest. Plan for the new service to accommodate. The code states you cannot create a new or increase the existing hazard.
 
  #7  
Old 12-27-06, 05:36 PM
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The only thing I hired the electrician to do was get power back to the house. the poco brought a line from the street wires to the house, the electrician put a new meter and service entrance cable on the side of the house and wired it to the main disconnect. I asked him if he could use the old service entrance that already had aerial lines to the garage as the sub panel wiring to get power back to the garage.

He did not replace the panel or do any other wiring in the house. Although the owner of the company that came out to give me an estimate had a lot of recommendations for the house.

And forgot to mention, the live wires I disconnected and removed.

So can I put the jet pump and water softener on the same circuit?
 
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Old 12-27-06, 05:56 PM
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I don't.

But if they are of the same voltage, and they wont exceed the ckt rating (When all on together) Then I don't see why not.
 
  #9  
Old 12-29-06, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rjels View Post
So can I put the jet pump and water softener on the same circuit?
The circuit ampacity must be enough for the two loads plus one quarter of the largest motor. Put another way you take 1.25 times the largest motor and add the rest of the loads to that.

I strongly suggest that you not put the light you will need to work by on the same circuit as the equipment you will be working on. I would run a receptacle from a separate circuit and the light from a completely different circuit. With both of those circuits separate from the water pump circuit. The receptacle outlet should be GFCI protected.
 
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