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Old 01-15-2013, 11:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 220 Volts To The Garage??

Hi Guys,

Wanting to get 220 out to the garage --15' from the house. What should I expect the bill to be??

Thanks!!
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That depends on a number of factors: 15ft from house but how far to house electrical panel? Is there room in the house panel to add a two pole breaker? Crawl Space? 60amp feed to garage with panel?Clear path to garage, no sidewalk, shrubs, etc? Could probably run 40ft cable, with small 60amp garage panel, and hookup for $500-$600. Material about $150-$200 depending on length and $300 - $350 labor not including permit if necessary
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Lots of variables there that can affect the price. Are you wanting to run a single 220V circuit to the garage or install a sub-panel so that you can have multiple circuits? What kind of amperage? Do you plan on doing any of the work yourself or will an electrician being doing it all? Is there an open spot in your main panel for a double pole breaker or does the main panel have to be upgraded?

Installing a sub-panel would be the most versatile if there is no existing power in the garage. If you already have power out there and just need to add a 220V circuit for a welder or air compressor or something like that, it would cost a lot less. If power is already at your garage, how is it getting there? (i.e. is it wires strung overhead or is there buried conduit).

If you have an electrician do it, they are most likely going to want to bury the wire and run it through conduit. If you already have existing conduit that is large enough to add more wires, it will cut down significantly on the cost. If you don't have a buried conduit already, can you dig the trench yourself and does it run under concrete or through very rocky ground?

If you want run the wire underground through a conduit and you are within a city, keep in mind that you'll need a permit and the required inspections. If an electrician does it, they should take care of all of that. If you dig the trench yourself, I believe the current code requires that the top of the buried conduit be at least 18" below the surface of the ground - direct burial wire must be at least 24" deep. If you are outside of a city and not subject to inspections, you could get away with less since there would be not permit or inspection, although it won't be to code. I would still do it the right way even if you are outside of a city and not subject to inspections.

The amperage of the circuit will have a big influence in the cost. If you are running a single circuit, I would probably run a 50A line, which means 6AWG wire. If you want to put in a sub-panel, you'll probably want to go with 100A, which means more $$ for wire.

My garage is attached to the house so I didn't have to worry about trenches or anything. I ran a conduit through my basement ceiling out to the garage and put a 50A range outlet in that serves my compressor or my powercoating oven. My run is a bit longer - probably a good 60 feet. I spent about $300 on just the wire. By the time you add in a breaker, junction boxes, etc., I was probably right at $500 and I did everything myself.

For you, I think the biggest factor will be the labor involved with getting the wire to the garage. Not counting any digging, a good electrician should be able to complete a straightforward circuit addition in a few hours. Materials shouldn't be more than a few hundred dollars for a short run on a 50A or less circuit. I don't know what the going rate for an electrician is these days, but I bet you can count on around $100 an hour. If there is an existing conduit and new wires can be pulled through, you are probably in the $500-$600 range for a single circuit. If you need a trench and new conduit installed, that figure could easily double. Dig the trench yourself and you'll cut several hundred dollars off the bill - just make sure you get it deep enough. I don't think there is any other "legal" way of running wiring out to the garage - underground is the best way to go.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Also depends on whether you go overhead or underground and whether you DIY or pay someone to do it. I was lucky and ran mine underground and up through the slab and curbs when I built my garage, plus I already had a 60amp sub-panel in the basement on that side of the house. Got any electrician friends?
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If you can't do the work yourself, go to your local lowes or Home Depot and ask the electrical guy. Usually these guys are retired electricians or out-of-work electricians because of the economy and they will give you a under the table price. If nothing else they may have a friend or too. If you go this route I recommend getting an inspection. The way I understand it is, if there is a fire resulting from faulty, non inspected electrical work, insurance companies CAN deny a claim.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Guys,

Adding a bit to my post........current garage has a breaker panel. I have a concrete slab between the house and the garage. I can dig a trench from the side of the house around the slab to the garage for conduit--not sure if the PO did that for the garage power or not ( may have run wire before the concrete) . I just want 220V for a hoist but if we do this I'd want to have the option for a welder too. i can do most of the grunt work myself. Have I missed anything?? I'm all about a cash deal but it should be up to code should we decide to sell (and that is in the picture in a 2-5 yr time frame).

Thanks!!
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WiseBeyondYears View Post
The way rI understand it is, if there is a fire resulting from faulty, non inspected electrical work, insurance companies CAN deny a claim.
Yep, hear you on that......got deny'd on an auto policy and cost me close to $50K several yr ago..............can't afford to potentially loose the house over a few 100$$
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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To avoid having to run multiple large AWG circuits, I used a 50A range plug so that all my 220V items can use it. Instead of hardwiring my air compressor, I put a 50A range plug on it. If I need to powdercoat something, I just charge up the compressor so there is plenty of air standing by and then switch over to the oven. I can only run one thing at a time, but that's never been an issue. I also use the plug to backfeed my panel from generator in the event of a power outage (I open the 200A main panel breaker before I do this). You could do the same thing to allow multiple items to use the same circuit.

Since it sounds like you can do the labor intensive stuff yourself, you can save a quite a bit of money. An electrician probably wouldn't mind if you dug the trench for him so he could just come and install the wiring. I had to have a new gas line installed at a house I used to have and the plumbers had no issue with me digging the trench myself - in fact, I think they were grateful that they didn't have to do all that back breaking work. If an electrician will be doing the installation, I would see about having him come by to discuss installation so that you make sure you get everything in the right place. With you doing all the digging and only needing a single circuit, I don't think $500-$600 would be out of line for materials & labor.

If you have an existing conduit that is large enough, you could just run the new wires through it. If this is the case, I would make sure that the conduit is in fact buried deep enough since work done under a permit that is inspected is going to have to either meet or be upgraded to current codes. If the conduit is only buried a foot deep, it won't pass.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:06 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Rebel,
Look around your foundation (on the garage side) for a conduit that goes into the ground at the house.
You mentioned there's already a panel in there.
It should be 220. Can you remove the cover and take a picture?

In the basement, if this conduit is run back to the panel, you MIGHT be able to add a wire, or remove whats in it to increase the power out there.
It's going to depend on the size of the pipe.

Your neighbors can probably recommend a good electrician.

Whether you live in a city or town a permit is always your best money spent.

Even if it comes down to needing to replace what's run out there, the trench won't have to be as deep as you think.
PVC conduit with a 2" layer of concrete over it, only needs to be 1' deep.

Where are you located?
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You said you already have a panel in the garage? Where is the main breaker for this panel? In the cellar? Look to see if it's a double...you may already have 220 going to the panel. If not, put a double in the main panel and pull the existing wire out, using it to pull in a new 220 line. I had a 30 foot run, IIRC and I used #8 wire. If you have an electrician you normally work with or someone you know, ask him to check out your work and sign off on it, for a fee, of course. Just be aware that you need to do the job right 'cause he won't sign off on a crappy job.

Since you're working with stuff that's already there, you probably won't have to get a permit (I'd check though) and existing fixtures will probably be grandfathered. If you have to put in new underground conduit (I used 4" PVC) most codes now call for expansion joints wherever it goes into the ground to account for the action of frost.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Last time I looked, estimates were free. Get two or three!
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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You can save some bucks if you ask around and find an electrician that will do this on his day off (sat or sun) and you do the grunt work part. You may have to look into the permit part though.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:30 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Hey guys, I was the first to post and I'm a licensed electrician in NC. You can probably do this job yourself it's not that difficult. I would first check with your local building inspection department, they do issue homeowners permits for doing your own work at your residence, at least they do in virginia and NC but its really up to the local jurisdiction about the rules. I would install a 60amp 230v feed to the garage using #6 copper wire, if in conduit then use single strand THHN or if you direct bury it use 6-3 UF cable with ground. You must pull or use four conductors to a sub panel- 2 hots, 1 neutral and a seperate ground wire. You must also drive a ground rod outside the garage and bond this to the garage panel. The neutrals and the grounds inside the sub panel must be kept seperate. Direct bury depth for trench is 24", depth for conduit is 18". Let me know if you need more info, or if your not comfortable doing this yourself find a reputable LICENSED electrician. Digging the trench is probably the hardest part of this as far as an electrician is concerned, so any thing you can do on your own will help.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:33 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb1032 View Post
You mentioned there's already a panel in there.
It should be 220. Can you remove the cover and take a picture?
Here you go...........

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Old 01-17-2013, 07:00 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Wow...
The wire that enters the disconnect on the bottom appears to be a 4/3 romex (80 amps capacity) shoved into an EMT connector (which is wrong).
It looks like you've got 220 there, and there is a ground, so you may be all set.
A few more things to help us out...
There is printing on this cable, post what it is...
And follow this wire to where it leaves the garage (goes into the pipe), and take a picture of the outside pipe.
Also, measure its width.

You should update that Federal Pioneer? panel to a new 16 circuit or so breaker panel.
I've always liked and used GE, but Square D or any other brand will work.
If there is enough slack in the wire, I'd loose that disconnect as well.

If you can find and photo the wire at the house end and inside the house panel; we can see how it's connected and to what amp breaker or fuses.
This will tell us the true amperage capacity going out there.

I believe most states will permit you to do electrical work on your own residence.
Most inspectors won't tell you HOW it needs to be done though.
Not because they don't want to, but it opens them up to all kinds of legal problems if they do and if something ever goes wrong.
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