Installing 220 in garage for future welder - questions!

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  #1  
Old 01-28-13, 07:24 PM
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Installing 220 in garage for future welder - questions!

Hi Guys,

Need some expertise on how to go about installing a 220V outlet in the garage to run a Lincoln 225/125 welder I am thinking of buying. Also as the garage currently only has one plug for the garage door opener I would like to have room to add two more 110v plugs and another 220/240v for an air compressor down the road.

The main service panel is in the basement and the garage is on the other side of a 1950 ranch style house. I am still planning just how I am going to run the wire (e.g up throu wall and into attic and into garage, out basement wall and run conduit to garage following eaves). I am still working on this but I am comfortable runing/fishing the wire once I figure out the run. I will be hiring an electrican for the hook-ups but before I contact an electrician I want to understand the different options.

I have taken a picture of the meter outside the house, which looks like 200a service.

I have also taken pictures of the service panel downstairs, it is an older federal pacific panel. The sticker mentions "Mains 100amp max". The main on/off switch states 100A so I guessing this is a 100a service panel.

Now I am looking at the most economical way of getting power to the garage for the welder and also enough headroom to put in other plugs in the garage. The wife and I are only planning on staying here for about five years so don't want to throw alot of money at it but at the same time for the next five years want to have a garage where I can work on stuff.

Please note I have limited electrical experince and I would only run the wires to help save some money, the electrcian would do the hook ups and rest of the install just afriad if I call someone right now they are going to quote somehting extremely high if I don't research it.

So guys what would everyone suggest I do???? Here are my ideas to toss around but not sure if feasible or not!
1.) Install a seperate 100A panel after the main meter. Thou not sure on what would be needed to do this.
2.) Install a sub-panel from the main service panel either in the garage or near the main panel. Not sure what size sub-panel can be pulled from the current main panel.
3.) Rip out the current 100a panel and have installed a 200 amp panel. But do I still need some sort sub-panel in the garage so I only need to fish one run of wires to the garage and distribute from the sub panel.

In a nutshell looking for the cheapest route but still haev capabilities of adding other things easily in the garage down the road as I need them.

Thanks for all the help guys, look forward to everyones idea.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-28-13, 07:47 PM
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The panel appears to be full and worse it is a Federal Pacific panel. Best bet to start with is replace the panel. Federal Pacific Panels and Associated Danger | U.S. Inspect

1.) Install a seperate 100A panel after the main meter. Thou not sure on what would be needed to do this.
Meter would need to be doubel lugged and that is unlikely.

1.)3.) Rip out the current 100a panel and have installed a 200 amp panel. But do I still need some sort sub-panel in the garage so I only need to fish one run of wires to the garage and distribute from the sub panel.
Best choice given you have an FP panel. With an attached garage and a large enough main panel you can either run individual cables or use a subpanel.

Tech note: Your home is supplied with 240 volts not 220 volts and the welder will be intended for 240 volts even if the guy who wrote the ad copy writes 220 volts.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 09:30 PM
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Just reading up on the federal p. and does not sound too reliable.

If I replace the main panel with a 200a panel from the pictures i attached would the meter need to be changed? It mentions 200a so I am guessing it is wired and capable of sending power to a 200amp panel.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 09:35 PM
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The meter might handle 200a but since the panel is only rated 100 amp it is a given the wire to the meter socket and from the meter socket will need to be replaced and an almost certainty the meter socket is rated for 100a and will need to be replaced.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 09:52 PM
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Makes sense so better plan on cost to switch the meter socket and wire.
 
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Old 01-29-13, 06:19 PM
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The meter might handle 200a but since the panel is only rated 100 amp it is a given the wire to the meter socket and from the meter socket will need to be replaced and an almost certainty the meter socket is rated for 100a and will need to be replaced.
In addition, the service entrance wiring is probably original to the house and 60 years old. Yes, the whole service needs to be replaced regardless of whether you need more power in your garage.
 
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Old 01-29-13, 07:00 PM
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Ya, looked at the wiring and it appears the wire coming from the meter is the orignal wiring.
 
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Old 01-30-13, 07:52 AM
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Few more ideas of going with a 325a double lug meter socket and running two panels side by side in the basement parallel to each other.


So going with this idea:
1.Would need to buy a 325a double lug meter socket. Not sure if hydro company would pay for this or I will.
Option A- Have installed one of those small cheap 100amp panels ($50-100)right next to my current panel in the basement that only has a few spots for breakers (kind of like a hot tub panel) and from this panel I could install another small 100a sub-panel ($50-100) in the shop.
Option B- Not sure if there is a such thing but instal next to the current basement federal panel one of those old school 100amp fuse breakers/disconnects/on-off switch (not sure what terminolgy to use) and from this put in a small 100amp subpanel in the garage

Not sure how much a 325a double lug meter socket will cost - guessing $200-300.


Curious on everyones thoughts?
 
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Old 01-30-13, 09:01 AM
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Curious on everyones thoughts?
The existing Federal Pacific panel needs to be replaced with a modern 200A panel with copper bus bars for the ungrounded legs, a 200A main OCPD, and space for 32 full-size breakers. The meter base may need to be replaced with one rated for 200A. The feeders from the weatherhead to the meter, and from the meter to the new panel, need to be replaced with feeders sized for the 200A service.

There is no need to install a double-lugged meter base nor a second panel at the service entrance. The money you would spend on that, plus the cost of replacing the mast and service feeders, which would be needed in either case, would be better spent in making the service safer, and properly sized for your needs.

Everything you want to add in the garage can be fed directly from the new panel, or from a subpanel in the garage which is fed from the new main panel.
 
  #10  
Old 01-30-13, 12:33 PM
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Thanks for helping out and explaining the steps needed to get rid of the current panel and best way to spend money!
 

Last edited by stickshift; 01-30-13 at 01:06 PM. Reason: removed quoting of entire post
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