A few questions...


Old 09-17-01, 05:02 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 117
hi all. A few questions for you.
I live in a very old house that has an accompanying barn. The barn had electrical service from the house panel. (i.e. there were two breakers in the 100 amp service box in the house that fed the wires to the barn, as if the barn was just another room of the house)

A storm came through and knocked down the wires to the barn.
Since we've only been in the house for a few months, I never did get to catalog exactly what went where and so now I'm trying to piece things back together. It wouldn't be too hard I guess except that the barn looks like the wiring was done by a blind plumber. As far as I can tell two wires went over to the barn, a 12/2 and a 14/2. Each was on the right sized breaker (20 and 15 amp, respectively. )

Electrical demand in the barn consists of a dusk to dawn street lamp,two flourescent light fixtures with (2) 4 ft bulbs in each, five incandescent light fixtures, and two outlets with 4 receptacles in each. I use the receptacles to power my shop vac, circular saw, radial arm saw and other power tools. Will these two lines into the barn be enough?

By the way the 14/2 line is for two lights run off one switch that can be operated from the house. The 12/2 will have to carry the rest of the load.

Finally, what is the problem with using EMT conduit in direct contact with the ground? Is it a fire hazard or does it just rot quickly and then cause problems?

Thank you.
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Old 09-18-01, 09:01 AM
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You should talk to your local AHJ [electrical code enforcement inspector] This existing ruling would be within his authority as to what can be considered as existing.

You are not allowed by the NEC to have two branch circuits serving that accessory building.

The barn must be fed by only one power source. This is why the AHJ should be contacted and a ruling issued by him as to what you must do to repair your barn wiring supply.

You could eliminate the the switch between the buildings and power your barn lighting from the 20 amp circuit left in tact. Then you could install a smart switch installing a receiver relay in the lighting circuit in the barn and a smart switch installed in the house connected to the nearest receptacle. An Rf signal will transmit switching control to the barn. A second smart switch of the same frequency could be added in the barn for two locations to operate the barn lighting, one in the house and one in the barn.

You could also opt to connect that second switch leg wire to the power source in the barn running a switch leg through that 14 gauge existing wire between the house and the barn deriving the power to that lighting from the barn thus eliminating the Code violation of two power sources to the same structure. If you do this then the existing 20 amp breaker must be reduced in ampacity to 15 amp to meet the maximum ampacity of the smallest conductor on that circuit being that 14 awg switch leg.

The last option would be to run a new power source large enough for future use in the barn installing a distribution panel in the barn with several breakers and picking one of the above switch options to re-install the switching capabilities between the two structures.

Check with you AHJ, he is the final authority on the subject.

Hope this helps


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