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Shop and home power supply question

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  • trstek
    recently went throught the upgrade process. house started with 60 amp service. sewers went in, had to install grinder pump, long story short, put in 200 amp service. for the main service, the ability to sell house later without hastle, used a contractor.

    detached garage, we trenched in a circuit, put in 3/4 pvc and run of black hose right away. pvc for air from basement. black for cable or any other wires I might want, circuit - decided on #8 wire. put it on a 40 amp breaker. left it conservative. electrician told me I can go up to 55 amp (50 ft run from box) if needed. the way it worked out for me is with the air in the basement on the main panel all that is left is welder, lights and other equipment. did the dynasty 200 - needs 15 amps max (220). that still leaves me plenty of headroom for everything else.

    electrician's told me I could do 100amp service. these are all electric - water heater, range, grinder pump, well, air cond, etc, had them put in 200.

    lived for years on 60 amps service, had to be careful welding, if wife was cooking and doing laundry my little wire welder would start acting up.

    depends on the math, you might be able to get away with the 100 amp service. if you want a full 100 amp at shop and will use all of it, I would upgrade service. not worth burning up equipment in shop or house.

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  • MAC702
    This also depends on your local utility. Here, a 100A to 200A service upgrade does NOT get bigger wires from the pole if it is overhead service.

    Also, you physically CAN feed a 100A subpanel from a 100A main panel, but you will still be limited to the 100A main breaker which will also be counting anything on in the house at the same time that the shop is using its share.

    But I agree that if you paid for a 200A service, you need to call the contractor and get what you paid/asked for. Besides the capacity, a 200A panel is very little extra cost and gives you a lot more working room inside.

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  • leeschaumberg
    200 Amp Main Breaker

    Originally posted by Leigh View Post
    If I have a 100 amp service panel in the house that contains a 60 amp breaker for my remote workshop, can I add a sub panel to feed the shop more amperage, provided the inlet wires are able to supply the extra demand or would I be better off upgrading the panel? When the house was built, I paid for 200 amp service with 100 amp service for the shop, but the sub contractor installed a 100 amp panel in error in the house.
    You payed for a 200 amp on the house and 100 amp in the garage. (Get it) The contracter put in 100 amp on the house because it was cheaper. Either YOU pay now or have the contracter put in what is called for. This means new and heaver wires from the pole too.

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  • hankj

    What is doable is going to depend on the actual size of the service conductors from the POCO to your meter base.

    Before you do anything, it would be a good idea to recalculate the load based on the present needs. Any good electrical contractor should know how to do that.

    Once you have a good picture of what's needed, then you can shop for contractors.

    I'm with Dan on providing any "firm" answers for you, as there are way too many variables.


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  • Jeepnford
    Have an electrician look at it. Depending on your set up they might be able to run a seperate lead to the shop from the meter base without replacing the house panel. When I built my shop I wanted 200 amp service to it so an electrician friend of mine had to place a new 400 amp meter base on the house,200 for the house and 200 for the shop. I live outside city limits with no strict codes but the power company wanted cut-off switches(big breakers) on all leads,which is a good idea anyway. Luckily the power drop was big enough for 400 amps. Anyway,I had over a couple thousand dollars used up pretty quick for the meter base,panels,breakers, about 130 feet of buried wire and associated installation costs. Having experienced people do it was worth every penny.

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  • ivans
    Tricky question

    I'm sure you'll get lots of replies, be sure to look carefully at your situation before heading any advise. I hesitate to give advice about these topics over the net, but you'll need some information regardless to get accurate answers from others who will likely respond.

    What size are the wires feeding you house?
    Is your service entrance from the utilty overhead or under ground?
    Are there any disconnect switches or distribution panels between the meter base and your house breaker panel?
    If so, are they equipped with breakers (if so, what amperage breakers)?
    Where in your house is your breaker panel?
    What size are the wires from the house to the shop?
    How long are the wires from the house to the shop (not the distance between the structures, but the actual path the wires follow)?
    Are the wires to the shop in the ground, in conduit or direct buried, are they overhead?
    For all the questions above, are the wires copper or aluminum?
    Have you checked the actual voltage at your shop subpanel or outlet to your welder?
    Have you checked voltage at the dryer outlet in the house?

    If you have a 100 amp panel at the house it would be unlikely you have a 200 amp service actually installed, it would be difficult to terminate 200 amp entrance wires to a 100 amp main breaker due to the size difference, but it's possible that it has been done.

    How many circuits in your house breaker panel? Have you added additional electrical load to your home over the last 14 years? I'll bet you have. There are many factors that enter into this, and Bob is on the right track; you may be suffering from voltage loss due to to the long wire run from the house to the shop.

    I feel you pain, I have a 200 amp service at the house, but I'd need to run the wires to my large shop building over 400 feet, so I use the welders in the second garage at the house - about a 4 foot run. To fix this problem in my case would require a new transformer at the house (with an underground primary feed) and a large gauge wire run to the big shop. Budget for this comes to about $5K - If our rocky soil does not present a challenge; not likely . I'll work out of the house garage for now.

    Without being there to see all the variables and ask more questions, I'll not give any answers. I could answer this question if I could see the whole picture, but I've learned not to give out this advise on the net anymore, the flames get to hot - figuratively and literally. To get the most trustworthy answer you really need a qualified electrical contractor (one you can trust) to look this over and give you the right answer; just remember it may not be the one you want to hear. Oh yeah, don't forget; your local codes may require something different than the advise you'll receive online.


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  • Leigh
    Thanks guy's. The shop panel was installed as a 100 amp service.

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  • Wheelchair
    I believe you should have 200 amp service.


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  • Bob Kraemer
    A short answer for this is no. The house panel should be a 200 amp panel.
    What size wires are run to the garage sub panel?
    The welding problems you are haveing are prpably a voltage drop problem due to the distance of the shop from the house panel.

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  • Leigh
    started a topic Shop and home power supply question

    Shop and home power supply question

    If I have a 100 amp service panel in the house that contains a 60 amp breaker for my remote workshop, can I add a sub panel to feed the shop more amperage, provided the inlet wires are able to supply the extra demand or would I be better off upgrading the panel? When the house was built, I paid for 200 amp service with 100 amp service for the shop, but the sub contractor installed a 100 amp panel in error in the house. The shop got the correct 100 amp panel and heavier wiring. This leads me to believe that the utility company wiring to the house is ok, just the wrong panel. I would have the shop connected to a seperate service, but the trenching would be over 400' I've been chasing a welding problem, and am thinking the supply to my shop may be on the lean side when the demand in the house is high. (125' well, electric dryer, lights, furnace, not to mention the shop furnace, lights, compressor, ect. What should my first move be? By the way, we're talking 1992 error, that I received $ back. I was working literally 7-12, and didn't baby sit the builder like I should have. I just ideas to fix it. Thanks in advance.