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Old 09-29-2013, 04:18 PM   #1
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Default Some questions about going electric

Hello all,

I’m finally getting back into brewing after a year long hiatus and I’d like to retire the propane burner and switch to electric brewing. We’re installing a new water heater this weekend and I thought it might be a good time to also rough-in the required power cable from the main breaker panel to the new brewery location.

Which brings me to my questions:

Is 10/3 cable the most common type of cable that will cover most electric brewing needs?

Our main electric panel does have enough room for a 30-amp GFCI breaker but is there any benefit to installing a sub-panel for the brewery instead? I know some people install sub-panels because there is no room in the main breaker panel but I’m curious if there are other good reasons for using a sub-panel.

My brewery is very basic. I plan to use my existing 10-gallon boil kettle with a 4500 watt (or lower) ULWD heating element and maybe a pump or two. I brew BIAB so I won’t need dual heating elements for a boil kettle + mash tun, etc.

I know I still have a lot of research to do on this but was hoping to at least get a cable run from the breaker box to the brewery while we have the basement all torn up for the water heater installation. I won’t attach the brewery cable to the breaker panel or install any receptacles until I’ve had a chance to research these items more.

Thanks!

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Old 09-29-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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Price out a 30a GFCI breaker for your panel and compare that against a regular 2pole 30a +$50 (the cost of a spa panel with GFCI installed). Most of the time, the spa panel is cheaper. You want to run 10/4 to your brew area if you plan to tap off it for any 120v components. If not, you'll have to run pumps and other stuff off another 120v circuit nearby. In other words, you'll need a neutral conductor for 120v.

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Old 09-29-2013, 09:28 PM   #3
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Definitely do 10/4 cable (usually labeled as 10/3 with ground). The price difference is almost non-existent, and then you'll have that extra conductor there if you decide you want it.

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Old 09-29-2013, 09:40 PM   #4
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Brewing (and drinking) so can't (won't) look for link, but saw something recently about running 10-3 to a dryer outlet from a spa panel and using the ground as the neutral past the spa panel being good.

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Old 09-29-2013, 11:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by AnOldUR View Post
Brewing (and drinking) so can't (won't) look for link, but saw something recently about running 10-3 to a dryer outlet from a spa panel and using the ground as the neutral past the spa panel being good.

Yes, you can do that, but you don't really have a true ground. It's a good solution if you are working with an existing H-H-N dryer outlet, but if you have an opportunity to provide H-H-N-G all the way from the breaker panel that is a far better solution. We have actually beaten this to death, lol.
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:47 PM   #6
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I'll get 10/4 cable (3 plus ground) next time I'm at the hardware store. I also checked breaker prices at Home Depot and the 30 amp GFCI breakers are around $80 each... so that might be why some people choose to install spa panels that already have GFCI included.

Thanks for the info everyone. I'm sure I'll have more questions as the new e-brewery build progresses...

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Old 09-30-2013, 09:03 PM   #7
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If you're pulling wire for the brewery outlet, you may want to consider pulling 6/4 instead of 10/4 in case you ever want to upgrade to larger batches and use a 50A control panel (ie: run two elements at once as is commonly done).

This is what I did. I pulled 6/4 (50A) to my brewery but then installed a 30A breaker and a 30A wall receptacle because my control panel is 30A.

The price difference between 6/4 and 10/4 is negligible when you consider everything else you're going to pay for.

Kal

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Old 10-01-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
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@Kal

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check on 6/4 cable when I'm at the hardware store.

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