Rural property with shop and well makeover

Old 08-09-14, 03:23 AM
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Rural property with shop and well makeover

I have a property acquired last year, rural and 3 miles from my home in Wyoming.
There is a granary, a 'commodity' building (3 sided), a 40'x100' Quonset, and a well.

- incoming service is overhead to a pole and meter. Meter box has two breakers.

- an underground 220 line is established to the granary only, for fans and auger. This is not in use by me right now. The feed is through one of the meter breakers. There is a separate above ground box at the granary, outdoor.

- the other meter breaker feeds everything else, overhead. The poles are old and not the best shape. The line first goes to the commodity building, where wire was dropped to a panel box at one time. Not in use, fuses removed, wire through conduit appears intact. This first leg is about 100'

- the main line then goes another 100' or so to a pole by the Quonset. The Quonset wiring was totally redone when the interior was covered with foam insulation. There are outlets and individual halogen lights every 10 feet or so, both sides. Two large propane furnaces on both sides of the glass basketball backboard at the far end!!220 outlet for a welder. A 12' x 18' overhead door with opener was added. A large and apparently adequate and modern looking panel was part of the renovation. All this seems to function well.

- the main line then continues overhead to another pole, again 100 feet or so. This place had a couple small feedlots on it at one time. For whatever reason, a line was dropped down that pole to another outdoor screw in fuse breaker box. Not used.

- the line finally goes to a pole with a more modern looking outdoor box on it. There is an exterior 110/120 sealed outlet, and underground conduit wiring going to the cement well enclosure. There is another breaker box in the well enclosure, 110/120 outlets, and 220 going to the pump. There are two snipped off and now insulated wires at the top of the pole.

A month ago, one of the meter breakers tripped, and would trip again if reset. The rural electric co. came out and we made certain all my panels and boxes were tripped off. We inspected and saw nothing. I had some 110 to the Quonset, but it was like half the feed was lost. Overhead door would not work, and my boat was stuck inside! On the advice of the tech, I agreed to have him snip the wires going to the well. I've got some baby trees on a drip timer system there also, and an electric fence charger to keep the deer away. With power restored, all in the Quonset works.

3 weeks ago, I contacted one of the local contractors with a bucket truck to come figure it out. Nagged them, but haven't seen them yet. At that time, I checked the boxes in the isolated circuit to see what had continuity to ground. The main pump panel had one of the two 'hot' wires showing continuity to ground. Except I checked it again yesterday and now it doesn't!!

We have a lot of wind sometimes, and these wires get waved around some. The poles are showing their age. Now that I've been waiting this long, I've been considering converting to underground, and doing the majority of the trench work and cable laying myself. I realize I've been loose with terminology and have given no specifics on the panels, boxes or wire sizes I have now. I would like advice on how to proceed with an underground plan. There is another electrician with a good reputation among the rural folk that I would hire to help plan if I had to, complete the feed to the Quonset, etc. He's good and in demand too, though.

We are considering putting a house in close to the well sometime soon. The service line makes a corner there right by the pump panel - the meter could have been there originally. I've got a lot of wire running parallel to theirs right now!

Any specifics, pictures, etc. that I can provide, let me know! Thanks!

- a couple pictures: 1st, corner of the commodity structure, 2nd the pump panel pole; 3rd, box not used, lever is partly 'on' but only in pic; 4th, inside the pump panel - red probe on wire showing continuity to ground
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Old 08-09-14, 05:55 AM
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I think it is going to require a comprehensive overhaul of your service, especially considering you might be adding a house. You are going to need a demand load calculation to see if the service is large enough to support the house and the existing loads.
Old 08-09-14, 07:49 AM
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For sure I don't like the idea of putting a house on the tail end of that arrangement the way it is now. A demand load calc ought to be pretty easy, since all is established except for the house and we don't anticipate changes at the Quonset. That pump panel has a lot of empty slots. Here is a pic of the Quonset 'aerial junction', with the snippers in action:Name:  quonset_junction.jpg
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Thanks! Wallypedal

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