detached shop electrical need advice


Old 12-10-12, 11:28 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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detached shop electrical need advice

I have a 12x20 art studio in the backyard about 50' ft from my house. currently the power is fed from a connection to the switchbox at our well pump. the pump is on a 20a breaker and the shop is drawing way too much power and causes the breaker to trip when the pump kicks on.

the shop is wired with #12 and all outlets are wired in a series. Last night I go to leave the shop and the lights flicker off and on a few times and then the power went out. i figured the breaker tripped but i checked and it was fine but totally lost power in the shop. the pump still has power though. none of my GFCI's tripped in the shop so I'm assuming theres a loose connection in one of the outlets.

either way this thing needs to have a different feed and more power. I'm just not sure of the best solution. I'll have a qualified electrician wire it up but I cant afford to have someone come out and dig a trench for the lines and all that.

Should I run a 30a breaker and #10 lines from the main box at the house out the shop? I'm not sure if 30a is enough. my tankless water heater pulls about 12a, the a/c unit pulls about 10..then theres stereo, laptop, lights etc.
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Old 12-10-12, 11:46 PM
PJmax's Avatar
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You would be well served with a 50-60 amp sub-panel.
It would be highly advisable to run your new sub-panel feeder in PVC pipe.
One inch would be a good conduit size to run.
You would need to check your main breaker panel for space to put in a new two-pole circuit breaker.
Old 12-11-12, 05:54 AM
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the shop is wired with #12 and all outlets are wired in a series.
No they are not wired in series. They are wired in parallel with each feeding the next (AKA daisy chained). AC is never wired in series.

none of my GFCIs tripped
There should only be one GFCI or none if fed from the load side of a GFCI at the pump house. (And it should have been from the load side at the pump house so there should be no GFCIs at the studio.) Some times multiple GFCIs interfere with each other.

Should I run a 30a breaker and #10 lines from the main box at the house out the shop?
Maximum is 20 amps on a 120 volt line with out a subpanel. PJ has given you very good advice. The only alternative that would not require a subpanel is a multi-wire circuit. That would give you two 20 amp 120 volt circuits but would not be enough for loads you have.
Old 12-11-12, 10:55 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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Thanks for the advice guys.

Ray, I did mean parallel, there is one main feed that comes in from the pump house and attaches to the pigtail that connects to the main the light/power switch in the studio and then it has a #12 line that goes around and connects to each outlet. the main light switch has GFCI outlet attached to it and there is also a GFCI under the sink.

Looks like I'm going to have to run a line (#6?) all the way from the house to the studio and go with the subpanel.
Old 12-12-12, 05:42 PM
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You could run smaller than #6, but you would reduce the ampacity available at the outbuilding.

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