Electric to a new shed/garage

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  #1  
Old 05-18-12, 03:30 AM
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Electric to a new shed/garage

Hello, new member with a question that has probably been beat to death. If it has I am sorry. I have searched the web with no real clear (to me) answer but I may not have been using the correct search terms. Anyway, I am in the process of building a 16x16 shed (or small garage). I would like to have lighting and plugs for power tools. I was also thinking that room to grow (add air compressor, etc) may be a good idea. The shed is about 150' from the house panel. My concern is that my home is all electric with range, heat pump, AC, water heater, dryer all pulling amps along with all the other typical electrical strains. I have 200 amp service and just upgraded my panel a couple years ago and have plenty of room in the box. Would coming off my panel to feed the shed be too much? Would 6 ga. wire for that long of a run work or should I bump up to 4 or larger? My other option would be new service to the build but with a minimum $20/month charge I was thinking coming off the house would eventually pay for itself. If I need pointed somewhere I can find this out for myself I'm willing to do the reading. I would get a permit but I just want to be able to know what my options are before talking to the county. Thanks for any help/info!
 
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Old 05-18-12, 04:21 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
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Welcome to the forums!

Your home service is likely large enough to handle the load but you might want to a load calculation, which can be found online. I have a 200A and I'm running a small hobby farm with all the electric items you list with the exception of the water heater, but I have two 3 tom A/C's, with out any problems.

Not sure how much "room to grow" you want but I would suggest bringing out 100 amps (or something close) out to the new garage. That would require either #3 THWN in pipe or #2-2-2-4 aluminum direct burial. That size wire will also address any voltage drop as you will likely never even get close to 100 amps.

Only you can decide of the separate service to the garage is worth the money. There will likely be a charge to have them run a new service so you might want to check that out and compare it to the cost of the wire, renting a trencher, etc.

Other info:
I suggest getting a 100 amp main breaker panel for the garage. 20 space ones are very reasonable at about $50 and you even get some breakers with it.
All 120v receptacles need GFCI protection.
You will also need to install a ground rod (or two) at the garage.
 
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Old 05-18-12, 10:00 AM
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Just throwing out another opinion... but I think a 60A feeder to your shed/garage would be quite enough unless you're planning a multi-person workshop. Even if you installed a kiln, welder, air compressor, etc, I doubt you'd need more than 60A. At 150', you'll save some money on wire, conduit, breakers, etc.

I would still get a 100A main breaker panel as Tolyn suggested so you have expandability.

As you're digging, be sure to plan for a telephone, network connection, cable TV, water, and whatever else you may want. It's much easier to dig only once!
 
  #4  
Old 05-19-12, 02:12 AM
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Thanks for the great info! What size wire should I use if I go with 60 amps? We had a major problem with rocks when we dug the post holes for this building. If I have issues with driving grounding rods I can just use multiple right? Do you just use enough to have a set number of feet of grounding rod in the ground? Thanks again!
 
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Old 05-19-12, 02:49 AM
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60 amps would require #6 THHN/THWN or #4 Aluminum. There are options with ground rods such as driving them at angles or laying them in a trench. Most cases you can sneak them past rocks though.
 
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Old 05-19-12, 07:53 AM
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We had a major problem with rocks when we dug the post holes for this building. If I have issues with driving grounding rods I can just use multiple right?
As TI noted, there are options you can use that will get you around having to drive the rod straight down.

Here's another trick: Lay a fender washer or a 3/8" flat washer on the ground where you want to drive the rod. Climb a short ladder, place the tip of the rod in the center of the washer, and drive it with your standard 16 or 20 oz. hammer. Don't ask me why this works. All I know is that we've used this technique to drive rods into very rocky soil, through construction debris, and through paving.
 
  #7  
Old 05-19-12, 11:03 AM
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I never heard that. I will have to give it a try!
 
  #8  
Old 05-19-12, 11:59 AM
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Please do. I look forward to hearing how it works for you. We've had some lively discussions at beer:thirty about this, but none of us actually knows why it works.
 
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