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Old 01-14-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
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Default 40a GFCI breaker a mistake?

I'm early in the research phase for converting over to electric. I'm going to go with a single element brew in a bag style setup to keep costs down and keep things simple.

One of the first things I picked up on was the need for a GFCI breaker, and saw how insanely expensive they are. I knew 30a was all I really needed, but I ran across a 40a GCFI breaker that would work with my panel for $25 on Ebay and I jumped on it. I figured the extra 10a couldn't hurt and would give me more flexibility in case I decided to add an extra heating element somewhere in the mix.

However, now that I've done a lot more reading, I'm figuring out 40a plugs and outlets don't really exist. They jump from 30a to 50a.

My current plan of action is to use 8ga wire from the breaker to a 50a outlet. However, I'm wondering if I should use 6ga wire due to the outlet being rated for 50a. At least that would give me the option of swapping out the 40a breaker for a 50a one in the future?

One other little twist is that I am trying to think ahead to the future, where I will be selling this house one day (probably several years off still). I want this to look like a proper garage/shop 220v outlet that could be used for shop tools. Mainly I don't want it to peak the interest of any home inspectors! What is more common for shop tools, 30a or 50a? If it turns out a 50a outlet connected to a 40a breaker would seem extremely out of place, I might consider starting over and just doing a proper 30a outlet and try to resell the 40a breaker back on Ebay.

Thanks!
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:24 PM   #2
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The real question is: are you willing to up-size the wire to support the larger breaker. It sounds like you are.

I would plan on aiming for the larger breaker and wiring. You mentioned you wanted a single element now, but you may want to have a HLT or RIMS in your future system someday also. That means that you would need the additional capacity someday. If that's not ever going to be a reality, then you probably should aim for 30a wire and breaker.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:51 PM   #3
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How far are you running the wire from the main panel to the outlet? If the distance of wire is short enough I would use 6ga with your current 40a gfci, for future upgrade if needed. If it is more then 15ft I'd ditch the 40a gfi buy a standard 30a breaker, a 50a spa panel and use 10g wire. It will be cheaper this way in the end. I run a full Herms system, and 30amps is all I need, but I only run 1 element at a time
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:09 PM   #4
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Actually, my breaker box is in my garage, in the very corner that is the most convenient place to setup the brew stand. So I'm most likely going straight down from the box so I can stay within the same two studs to make the wiring painless. So distance of wire needed is a few feet tops.
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:58 PM   #5
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Just run 8/3 NMB cable (romex) to a 50 amp range plug and it will look like every other welder plug that people install in their garage.
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:13 PM   #6
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If it were me, I would just run 6/3 to the 50a plug and be done with it. With such a short run, the difference in wire wrangling aggravation and cost will be about the same either way, and you future proof it for doing 50a with a simple breaker change later. You're just "overprotecting " the 50 amp outlet and wire with the 40a breaker, I can't imagine there would be anything wrong with that, other than a future owner trying to run something at 50a and cursing at the breaker for tripping at 40. Disclaimer: me not electrician.

Great find on a GFCI breaker at that price!
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice. I think I will just do the 6/3 like ya' said since it is such a short run and the cost won't be much different.

I just hope that cheap breaker actually works.
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