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Old 04-15-2011, 03:04 PM   #1
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Default Extending a 240v line to attached garage?

I'd like to get into 240v electric brewing, I have a decent understanding of the basics I think. I don't much care for electricity, but I get how wires connect to breakers and what sort of amps are required for things, etc. Basic stuff.

Question is, I have a 100amp panel in my house, this panel is 100% full AND it splits out to a sub panel in my attached garage, which is similarly full. There's an existing 240v circuit in that first panel which used to power a large baseboard heater in the same room as the panel. We've since removed said heater and capped the wires in the wall, shut off that breaker. So it's available! But! It's on one side of my house, the garage is on the other with a room, a hallway and stairs all between the room and the garage. Both rooms are on the ground level floor, of a 2 floor above ground house.

My issue is with the 'how the heck do I get that circuit to my garage? Total length if you went along the outside of the house from the panel area would be about 30-45 feet. Is there a way to run it on the outside of the house (mostly pavement there), tucked under the flashing or something? Or should I really be looking to go through ceilings, walls, etc?

On the upside, on the near wall of the garage is the subpanel, and that panel had a 240v line run to it from the opposite side of the garage, however that line was swapped at the breaker box to connect to the A/C unit instead. So I at least have existing lines in the wall from one side of the garage to the other, and a plug.

Thanks!!

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Old 04-15-2011, 03:15 PM   #2
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I'd mostly be concerned with the overall load on the service. When that existing breaker was used for the baseboard heat, it would have never been run at the same time as the A/C unit. Now you'll probably want to run your brewery with the air conditioning on in the house. We're talking about 80amps just in both of those operations. Aside from the brewing, it would be a good idea to look into a 200a service upgrade.

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Old 04-15-2011, 03:20 PM   #3
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sounds like you have alot of options..
The 240v breaker in the first panel can be used to power either a new subpanel in the garage or you could run the wire for the 240v plug straight from there. In either case, you'll need to run new proper gauge wire and make sure your breaker is the proper size. If you opt to connect the main panel straight to your brewing power receptacle, the breaker in the main panel should be replaced by a GFCI breaker.

I'm not sure how you'd get the wire from the panel to the garage. I think you can run it outside, but I'm not familiar with the code. I believe if you use the right type of wire and conduit, you can run it through the conduit attached to the outside of your house - but not sure.

not sure I understand that last bit about having lines in the wall, do you have 1 subpanel in the garage or 2?

In either case, it'd probably be easier to just have someone come out to wire this up. My install was easy, I had a spare spot in the garage subpanel and I mounted the plug just below the panel. I didn't have to deal with stringing wire from one spot to another, just through about two feet of wall between the panel and the plug.

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Old 04-15-2011, 03:20 PM   #4
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That's a good call actually, I hadn't thought about total house load particularly in summer when the A/C would surely come on mid-brew session. Figured I was good just because it was an existing circuit and was working fine for me...gack.

Moving to 200amp service means a change to the breaker box beyond just a new main breaker, right? Means like extra juice from the power company? And maybe a bigger/better breaker box?

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Old 04-15-2011, 03:21 PM   #5
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Agree with Bobby.. upgrading to 200A service would be a huge upgrade - if you own the house and plan to be there for very long I'd start with that and when the electrician is doing that it should be a relatively small adder to put in a 240v plug in the garage.

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Old 04-15-2011, 03:34 PM   #6
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The first thing I'd do is contact the power company and find out how much a service upgrade would cost. The wires running to your house would need to be replaced, as well as the main panel. I'm surprised this wasn't done when the A/C was installed. Plan on a couple grand.

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Old 04-15-2011, 03:36 PM   #7
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Yes, you'd end up with something like a 40-slot panel. The meter probably needs to be changed out but the aerial wire (if it's aerial) may be OK. Of course, I'm only going on what was the case in my area. The rules may be completely different for you. I did my own service upgrade and it cost me just under $800 but I understand that it's rare to have the local municipality allow that sort of thing.

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Old 04-15-2011, 03:45 PM   #8
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I'm essentially in agreement with "Bobby M." We had a 100A panel that we lived with for a over 10 years in this house, and stayed with it through a major remodel, even though that more than completely populated the service (by the time the electrician was done, we had three or four of those "duplex" breakers in there). We finally made the decision to renew the old central air system (which had been out of service for so long it wasn't even connected to the panel). This mandated the 200A service upgrade, and it was a great move. It's been very easy for me to install those things you never think about, like when I suddenly needed a sump pump circuit down there three years ago. With the new, improved service, no worries.
So that lesson was learned when we built our new garage- put in 100A service, didn't even hesitate.
With the available 240V heater circuit, it sounds like this would work- but, personally, I'd go with the higher capacity service upgrade.

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Old 04-15-2011, 03:47 PM   #9
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This is good info. Our cables are buried here so that may incur additional cost.

Might be a bit much to go this route, though I really like the idea of electric brewing...perhaps propane will be cheaper in the short to mid term. $120 and I'm done on propane brewing. Hmm...

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Old 04-15-2011, 04:18 PM   #10
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This is an odd idea but I've seen it done. You could hang a meter base on the garage to feed that panel. The electric company runs lines to the new service. The downside is 2 seperate electric bills. But room to add circuits if needed.

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