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Old 11-27-2011, 06:11 PM   #1
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Howdy. My wife and I are building our home in Parrish FL. Something a bit different, for sure, we are building it out of recycled shipping containers. Now that the containers are set, we will begin framing (after mom goes home from her Thanksgiving holiday) and then will need to begin wiring. I modeled the entire house in Sketchup, including the plumbing and electrical. What I am interested in is a FL licensed electrician to consult with me on my plan, circuit loads, etc. I know that real world and whats in books doesn't always jive, and I know that your experience will be far more efficient than what I came up with. Interested? Reply to this and we'll get something going.

I have the current FL code books and my wife and I will be doing the work ourselves. We are funding everything out of pocket and simply can't afford labor.

A bit more about the project. While doing volunteer work in Indonesia for 2.5 years, my wife and I bought a piece of property in FL. I spent a year designing our "dream house" only to find there was NO way we could afford it. After lots of soul and internet research, we came up with container building. Then - after a crash course in FL building codes and land use restrictions, we came up with something great. Since I designed the home, all we needed was an engineer to do the plans and permitting went like clock work. THANK YOU MANATEE COUNTY.

While researching container building, we quickly discovered that, like most cool and affordable things, it is quickly becoming chic and unaffordable. We has a few architects bid the job before we learned we only needed an engineer and were blown away by the cost! Over 5 TIMES what the engineer charged. Beyond that, contractors wanted an obscene amount of money to handle the project. So, we are doing it ourselves - and documenting the ENTIRE build. When done - a website will be created giving our hard learned lessons, advice, and EVEN BUILDING PLANS away for free. Since my wife runs her own design business (Fair Price Studio) - its our way of giving back what we can.

WHY? Well, with what we went through and learned, its almost impossible to own a piece of land and live on it (in FL) on a limited budget. We think this is a shame - and not inline with the spirit of the industrious American. We want to see hard working folks be able to own their own homes and not get gouged in the process. We also want to see this very cool way of recycling become more popular.

Anyway - give me a shout if you would like to help us out. Yes, it is a paying consultation. BY THE WAY, before the discussion gets going in a different direction, here are some facts:

1. In FL, an owner / builder can do any and all work in their new homes - including electrical.
2. In FL, when building a home, no separate electrical permit is needed. Its all included in the construction permit.
3. It is not necessary to have a licensed electrician hook the panel to the supply from FPL. Although - its probably a great idea!!!



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Old 11-27-2011, 06:23 PM   #2
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I'm not from FL, but would like to see the progress you make.
On the opening page you will find a section called project showcase.

I'm sure others would like to follow this.

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Old 11-28-2011, 02:12 AM   #3
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You may not need to hire a consultant. If you already understand the basics of electricity and know a little bit about wiring, the people on this forum can probably help you work through all the rest of the issues you'll face. We routinely help people tackle electrical work much more challenging than they thought they could handle. The key is that you'll need to put the effort into actually learning and understanding how things work, rather than just hoping to get quick answers and gloss over the details. This is true regardless of whether you have a consultant in FL or use this forum as a resource.

Very cool project, BTW. I've considered building a smaller version of this shipping container structure on some land I have in the mountains. I think I'm going a different direction with it instead, but it's a great way to build on a budget and in difficult areas to access.
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:05 AM   #4
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Regarding learning - I completely understand and agree. I was a web developer for 16 years and often had folks ask - "How can I make a web site?" "Get a book, ask me some questions, figure it out, or pay me." Anyhow, I've been studying the "Illustrated Guide to the National Electrical Code" for the past 6 months. Many of the chapters seem to be for projects WELL beyond a 1000sq' residence. But, the book is great none the less.

So, calculating circuit loads seems straight forward as do rules for receptacle volume, tail ends, distance from edges and size of hole bored in frames, etc. I guess a better way is to ask some questions:

CODE
1. When running insulated wire (like Roamex) how many strands are allowed per hole in 2x4 framing?
2. If I have more than allowed, what is the minimum distance to the next hole in the framing?
3. I believe bathrooms are exempt from the "one outlet per 6' AND on each 2' span of wall" rule. Correct?
4. I'm combining laundry and the guest bathroom. I see that multiple receptacles are allowed on the 20 amp washing machine circuit in the same room. BUT, is a luminary and exhaust fan allowed on the same circuit?
5. My water heater will be outside line of sight from the main panel. Can someone confirm I need a designated disconnect?
6. In houses Ive owned in the past including the one I'm renting now, the dishwasher is powered by a cord running through the sink cabinet. Allowed?
7. Services are fed underground through conduit. Is there any device needed between the meter box and the main panel?
8. Part of my interior walls will be exposed metal. There is at least one case where I will transition from wire in walls to wire feeding an exposed receptacle. I understand I need to use conduit for the exposed wire - but how is the transition handled in the wall? Just an open ended conduit - or do I need some sort of box?

STUPID
1. Switches have always mystified me. In the book, under switches controlling lighting loads, the power first comes into the luminary by way of a 2 wire cable and then down to the switch with a 3 wire. The switch interrupts the supply via the third wire.

1A. Can I continue the circuit from the luminary box?
1B. Is this the best rout for wiring? Please see attached image.

WHERES WALDO?
I've attached several images for reference. NOTE! That the routes shown are so I can make my mistakes in pixels instead of copper. They are separated and color coated so I can see the circuits. I don't plan separate race holes or funky 90 degree turns for each cable...

IF you could take a look and point out obvious mistakes, I would much appreciate it. And if you are local to Bradenton and want to spend a paid hour or so looking at my model to do the same - let me know! In the spirit of the form, I will share whatever gems you drop on me.





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Old 11-28-2011, 03:24 PM   #5
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Comments on the questions I know the answers to off the top of my head are in red:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrantiii View Post
CODE
1. When running insulated wire (like Roamex) how many strands are allowed per hole in 2x4 framing?

More than you need to worry about. The real limitation will be on how large a hole you can drill in the stud and still keep the cables far enough from the face of the stud to avoid needing nail protection, or avoid compromising the structural integrity of the stud. I'd drill 3/4" holes maximum, and use 2-3 cables per hole.

2. If I have more than allowed, what is the minimum distance to the next hole in the framing?

No specific limitation. The cables just need to not be tightly bundled together. A few inches of vertical separation is easy to work with.

3. I believe bathrooms are exempt from the "one outlet per 6' AND on each 2' span of wall" rule. Correct?

210.52 dictates all receptacle spacing and placement requirements. The rule you mention is from 210.52(A), and applies to "every kitchen, family room, dining room, living room, parlor, library, den, sunroom, bedroom,
recreation room, or similar room or area of dwelling units." Bathrooms are therefore not included. They are separately addressed by 210.52(D).


4. I'm combining laundry and the guest bathroom. I see that multiple receptacles are allowed on the 20 amp washing machine circuit in the same room. BUT, is a luminary and exhaust fan allowed on the same circuit?

The laundry branch circuit and outlet required by 210.52(F) can have no other outlets. It can't be combined with the bathroom branch circuit, and it can't supply the lights. Also note that there is no exception to the bathroom GFCI requirement. If you combine the laundry and bathroom areas, the laundry circuit must be GFCI protected.

5. My water heater will be outside line of sight from the main panel. Can someone confirm I need a designated disconnect?

You need either a disconnect or a lockable breaker in the panel. It's easy and cheap to use an air conditioner disconnect to make the transition from NM cable in the wall to flexible conduit to the water heater.

6. In houses Ive owned in the past including the one I'm renting now, the dishwasher is powered by a cord running through the sink cabinet. Allowed?

Yes, if the dishwasher is listed for cord-and-plug connection. Some of them are only supposed to be hardwired.

7. Services are fed underground through conduit. Is there any device needed between the meter box and the main panel?

There may be, but it depends on how long the run is, how it's physically protected, and where it goes. Let's revisit this in more detail.

8. Part of my interior walls will be exposed metal. There is at least one case where I will transition from wire in walls to wire feeding an exposed receptacle. I understand I need to use conduit for the exposed wire - but how is the transition handled in the wall? Just an open ended conduit - or do I need some sort of box?

You can use conduit as a sleeve to protect NM cable from damage where exposed. There is no need to do anything special to make the transition when you do this. The conduit is not being used as a raceway, it's just a sleeve to keep the NM cable safe.

STUPID
1. Switches have always mystified me. In the book, under switches controlling lighting loads, the power first comes into the luminary by way of a 2 wire cable and then down to the switch with a 3 wire. The switch interrupts the supply via the third wire.

This sounds like the drawing is showing an NEC-2011-compliant installation, with a neutral wire available in the switch box. You should do yours this way, but understand that one of those three wires to the switch box is unused under most circumstances. You can also wire it with power to the switch box first, and then use 2-conductor cable to the fixture.

1A. Can I continue the circuit from the luminary box?

Yes. Wired as you describe, you can either continue the switched circuit or extend unswitched power from either the fixture box or the switch box.

1B. Is this the best rout for wiring? Please see attached image.
There are many different ways to route wiring for switched circuits. Conceptually, I prefer to run power to the switch location first. This also can save some wire, since you will not need 3-conductor cable from the switch to the fixture to comply with the 2011 code requirement to have a neutral wire at each switch location. However, there are situations where it's easier to run power to the fixture first and extend a switch loop (with spare neutral wire) to the switch location.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:40 PM   #6
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Brilliant! You sir or madam are a hero. A few refinements:

4. I'm looking at 210.11(C)(2) that states "Multiple receptacles are permitted on the laundry circuit as long as the outlet(s) are within the laundry area." Of course, the 240V to the dryer is on its own branch. It doesn't mention luminaries or exhaust fans. Allowed? And - thanks for the GFCI catch. Makes sense.

7. The run from meter to panel will be no more than 10' or so.


STUPID
1. The drawing references 404.2(C) and yup - requires the additional grounding conductor. NEW QUESTION - is this grounding conductor for branching off to something else from the switch? Or - for more (future) switches?


NEW QUESTION
1. The slab is grounded with 4 copper wire. Does this need to be connected to the house ground and 8' ground rod (all water pipe is CPVC)? Or - does this need its own rod?
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Not a specific answer to one of your questions but I prefer lighting to be on separate circuits from receptacles. That way if you pop a breaker for some reason, you won't trip and kill yourself on the way to the panel.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:45 PM   #8
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In red again:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrantiii View Post
Brilliant! You sir or madam are a hero. A few refinements:

4. I'm looking at 210.11(C)(2) that states "Multiple receptacles are permitted on the laundry circuit as long as the outlet(s) are within the laundry area." Of course, the 240V to the dryer is on its own branch. It doesn't mention luminaries or exhaust fans. Allowed? And - thanks for the GFCI catch. Makes sense.

Not allowed. They aren't receptacle outlets. Have to put them on a different circuit.

7. The run from meter to panel will be no more than 10' or so.

Where does it go, exactly, and how does it get there? There are issues of protection for that cable, since it is completely unfused.

STUPID
1. The drawing references 404.2(C) and yup - requires the additional grounding conductor. NEW QUESTION - is this grounding conductor for branching off to something else from the switch? Or - for more (future) switches?

That's "groundED" conductor not "groungING" conductor. A "groundED" conductor is more commonly known as a neutral. It is for future use, either for extending the circuit, or more commonly to power a timer or remote-controlled dimmer device that requires a neutral connection. It's a minimal additional cost, and definitely worth doing even if it weren't required by code.

NEW QUESTION
1. The slab is grounded with 4 copper wire. Does this need to be connected to the house ground and 8' ground rod (all water pipe is CPVC)? Or - does this need its own rod?
Yes, the connection to the slab (a "Ufer ground" or "concrete encased electrode") is required, and must also be connected to the system grounding bus.
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:38 AM   #9
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Ahh, yes. The ED is important!

For 7 - see attached. The conduit will run through the wall steel as well as through the wall frame footing. Look right to you?
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:21 AM   #10
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Given the apparent distance inside the house to the panel I believe you would need an exterior disconnect near the meter. You would then run a 4 wire feeder to the inside panel.

Given the small size of junction boxes on bathroom exhaust fans you should plan on them being the end of the run from the switches. Do not try to continue the circuit using that JB.
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:11 PM   #11
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I concur with Jim on protection of the service feeder between the meter and panel. That's a fairly long interior run, and protecting it adequately will be difficult. The NEC does not specify a maximum distance that service entrance conductors can run inside a building, but your local codes may, and your local inspectors may set a limit. The NEC allows them to arbitrarily prohibit any installation of service entrance conductors inside a building. Better to install overcurrent protection/disconnect outside at the meter.
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:19 PM   #12
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You could also stay outside the container until you reach the level of the panel if you don't mind the conduit on the outside.
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:57 PM   #13
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So, the issue is more the distance to the panel from the point of entry? I'll check with the county tomorrow and post their reply. I need to drop off the elevation cert anyhow.

Any recommendations on exterior disconnects? Its a 200amp service.
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:05 PM   #14
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Any exterior rated disconnect should be fine. Many would try and match the same brand as the panel.

The unfused service conductors need to be kept as short as possible inside the house.
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:37 PM   #15
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Great thanks. I found a good post while looking for the disconnect and thought I would share. Original thread is here:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...p-service.html

Here is what interested me:

> What would be the recommendation?

A 200A service of reasonable distance (<100') is just fine with either #2/0 copper or #4/0 aluminum. Given the price of copper, it's hard not to recommend aluminum. The only special considerations with the termination of aluminum wire are that it must be shined up with a wire brush, coated with non-oxidation grease, and torqued to the panel manufacturer's specs (which really should be done with copper too).

> Do I need to run it in conduit?

Service entrances need to be in either metal conduit (EMT, IMC, RMC) or schedule 80 PVC conduit (RNC). Standard schedule 40 PVC is not acceptable, nor are flexible conduits. If the service wires attach to a conduit mast above the roofline, then you need to contact your power company for structural requirements of the mast.

The (3) #2/0 copper conductors require a minimum of 1-1/2" conduit, and the (3) #4/0 aluminum conductors require a minimum of 2" conduit. However, local or power company rules frequently overrule national code on service entrances -- check with your electrical inspector and/or power company.

> It's 25 feet from the outside meter along floor joists to the new 200
> amp panel.

If the service entrance runs 25' into the house, you will need to either install a main disconnect outdoors or redesign the conduit run to follow the exterior of the building. It is no longer legal to have un-fused conductors run through a dwelling for more than 5'. This issue needs to be resolved first, because it will determine if you need to install (hot-hot-neutral) conductors to the house panel or (hot-hot-neutral-ground) conductors.

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