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Old 07-02-2012, 08:08 PM   #1
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Help on New Electrical to Outdoor Garage


I live in Queens NY and I have a garage that's detached from the house by about 15 ft. The garage is made of cinderblock and the house is masonry. The garage doesn't have any electrical and I plan on hiring an electrician to come in and hook me up, but really could use a hand on the bill of materials.

The garage is unfinished, so all the joists are exposed, and considering the weather in the northeast, i'm interested in what other folks did in terms of brining service into your Garage.

I plan on running 3/4 Galvanized rigid EMT pipe from the house across a block masonry wall that joins the two (house and garage, which acts as a privacy wall since the house is semi-detached) I know BX is a brand, so hoping the pro's could chime in on the following:

Type of electrical cable?
Should the electrician run a dedicated line from the breaker panel ( another 50ft into the house)
What kind of housing and importantly, type of outlet should be used since this is an outdoor garage?
I need light --- not trying to get Bruce Wayne lighting, but could just some affordable ideas that work better than a standard fixture ?

I won't be doing much in the room above the "normal" DIY stuff. Including but not limited to:

Miter saw ; circular saw, wet tile saw (7" job site type) air compressor, etc.

Electricians i've come across around here tend to just default to home depot for the basics, which i'm sure is adequate, but definitely curious to what the collective group may recommend or have in place that may be better quality without breaking the bank.

Thanks for reading.

Harry.

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Old 07-02-2012, 10:01 PM   #2
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Help on New Electrical to Outdoor Garage


For air conditioner, air compressor, electric heat, power tools, etc.

Suggest #6 gauge black, red, white wires suitable for wet locations (THWN?) and #10 green for the ground, all to go inside the conduit.

Ten slot subpanel, two ground rods, #6 bare copper for grounding electrode conductor.

Sixty amp double breaker to feed this from your main panel.

With propane or natural gas heat you could use #8 conductors for 40 amps and 8 slot subpanel.

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Old 07-03-2012, 01:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hboogz View Post
I plan on hiring an electrician to come in and hook me up, but really could use a hand on the bill of materials.
The electrician you hire may or may not want you getting involved in purchasing the materials. If they do it themselves, they don't have to worry about getting the wrong parts. Also, they probably get discounts for buying in bulk.

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Originally Posted by hboogz View Post
I plan on running 3/4 Galvanized rigid EMT
Rigid Metalic Conduit (RMC) & Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT) are two types of conduit. RMC is expensive, so you might want to see if you can use Intermediate Metallic Conduit (IMC) or PVC. I've read that EMT doesn't hold up to well when exposed to weather. So I'd stay away from using it on the outside. When you have the electricians come by to give you a quote, they can discuss what type of conduit you can run. You may also have some non-conduit options available.

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Originally Posted by hboogz View Post
I know BX is a brand
Many folks use Armored Cable (AC) as the generic term for BX. Some folks get picky about whether BX refers to armored cables before they started putting a bonding strip in to allow the sheath to be used as a ground.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hboogz View Post
Type of electrical cable?
Depends on what type of wiring you decide upon. In conduit you'll want individual conductors. Here there are multiple different types of wire that you can get, a lot of it depends on what's in stock locally and what has the best price. Also depending on the size panel you decide to run, you may even go with aluminium feeder wires to keep cost down.

Inside the garage you'll have to decide on conduit vs. armored cable. There may even be some places that you can use NM-B (romex), but it sounds like they'd be extremely limited if any from your description.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hboogz View Post
Should the electrician run a dedicated line from the breaker panel ( another 50ft into the house)
It sounds like you'll want it. I believe you can tap into an existing circuit if it's GFCI protected, but you're limited to 120 and the amperage of that circuit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hboogz View Post
What kind of housing and importantly, type of outlet should be used since this is an outdoor garage?
There are different requirements depending on where you put outlets, outside vs. inside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hboogz View Post
I need light --- not trying to get Bruce Wayne lighting, but could just some affordable ideas that work better than a standard fixture ?
Go to a store and find some fixtures that you like. Hopefully you're not in the crazy land of California. Otherwise you're looking at needing motion sensors, dimmers, or florescent (not the compact variety), for the new fixtures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hboogz View Post
I won't be doing much in the room above the "normal" DIY stuff. Including but not limited to:

Miter saw ; circular saw, wet tile saw (7" job site type) air compressor, etc.
Sit down and make up a list of everything you think you'll be running simultaneously out there. and their nameplate amperages. Remember lighting, heaters, etc. This will give you a rough idea of how many amps you'll need at the garage. Discuss this with your electrician. You'll probably be surprised at how little it'll cost to over deliver now, and you'll be happy when you need it in the future.


Other food for thought:
- Have the conduit run to the sub panel on the garage made larger than necessary. It'll make it significantly easier if you need to upgrade in the future.
- Put in more outlets than you think you'll need. Otherwise, you'll always find your cord a foot too short.
- Get multiple bids.
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a_lost_shadow View Post
The electrician you hire may or may not want you getting involved in purchasing the materials. If they do it themselves, they don't have to worry about getting the wrong parts. Also, they probably get discounts for buying in bulk.


I really appreciate the responses. Thank you.

I obviously want to hire someone who has wide knowledge of materials he can use to get the job done, but in my experience, I feel much more comfortable in knowing what should/can be used in order to get the job done right and up to code. It's part of the implied experience by posting in a DIY forum. As crazy as it may sound, there are guys out there who will get me a working outlet and light in the garage but may use inadequate materials and do a sub-standard job of rigging it up to the existing electrical service. Ultimately it's up to me to make sure the job is done up to snuff. Which is why i'm looking to prepare myself with as much helpful information as possible so i know what to expect when i start obtaining bids for the work.

Thanks again for your helpful feedback.

H.
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:59 AM   #5
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My apologies, rereading my post I came off as much more "leave it up to your electrician" than I meant to. Getting background information like you're doing is both a great idea and extremely responsible. If you're willing, I'd actually suggest borrowing a book on basic wiring from the library, such as Black and Decker's Complete Guide to Wiring. It's a pretty quick read and will give you a lot of the basics. In addition Black and Decker's Codes for Homeowners gives a quick rundown of all the basic electrical codes you might need to run across. Between those you'll get a good idea of the basics, such as what types of wire can be run in different locations, where you need GFCI protection, etc..
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a_lost_shadow View Post
My apologies, rereading my post I came off as much more "leave it up to your electrician" than I meant to. Getting background information like you're doing is both a great idea and extremely responsible. If you're willing, I'd actually suggest borrowing a book on basic wiring from the library, such as Black and Decker's Complete Guide to Wiring. It's a pretty quick read and will give you a lot of the basics. In addition Black and Decker's Codes for Homeowners gives a quick rundown of all the basic electrical codes you might need to run across. Between those you'll get a good idea of the basics, such as what types of wire can be run in different locations, where you need GFCI protection, etc..
No worries. I have that book saved on my amazon wish list -- this being the third time i've been told about that book i think it's about time i pull the trigger on it. (FWIW, I heard the Carpentry book within the same series is just as good)
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:17 AM   #7
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Don't you guys get tired of explaining the same thing over and over again? I already know how smart you are.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:29 AM   #8
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Help on New Electrical to Outdoor Garage


Quote:
Originally Posted by hboogz View Post
I live in Queens NY and I have a garage that's detached from the house by about 15 ft. The garage is made of cinderblock and the house is masonry. The garage doesn't have any electrical and I plan on hiring an electrician to come in and hook me up, but really could use a hand on the bill of materials.

The garage is unfinished, so all the joists are exposed, and considering the weather in the northeast, i'm interested in what other folks did in terms of brining service into your Garage.

I plan on running 3/4 Galvanized rigid EMT pipe from the house across a block masonry wall that joins the two (house and garage, which acts as a privacy wall since the house is semi-detached) I know BX is a brand, so hoping the pro's could chime in on the following:

Type of electrical cable?
Should the electrician run a dedicated line from the breaker panel ( another 50ft into the house)
What kind of housing and importantly, type of outlet should be used since this is an outdoor garage?
I need light --- not trying to get Bruce Wayne lighting, but could just some affordable ideas that work better than a standard fixture ?

I won't be doing much in the room above the "normal" DIY stuff. Including but not limited to:

Miter saw ; circular saw, wet tile saw (7" job site type) air compressor, etc.

Electricians i've come across around here tend to just default to home depot for the basics, which i'm sure is adequate, but definitely curious to what the collective group may recommend or have in place that may be better quality without breaking the bank.

Thanks for reading.

Harry.

I would consider a small sub panel in the garage fed by 4 wire circuit (2-hot, neutral and ground) in the conduit. You'll need to drive ground rods near the sub panel if the garage is detached. Serve it from a 50-60A breaker in the main panel.

A small sub panel is pretty inexpensive and it future proofs you as your needs change. It also saves you running into the house when the table saw binds on that slab of oak and trips the breaker in the basement .

Another nice thing with this is you will be able to have a 240VAC Nema 6-20 outlet which might be useful for your compressor. I changed my 120VAC compressor to 240VAC and it starts up far better and less straining, especially in cold weather. Some table saw motors can also be set for 240VAC for similar benefits.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousB View Post
I would consider a small sub panel in the garage fed by 4 wire circuit (2-hot, neutral and ground) in the conduit. You'll need to drive ground rods near the sub panel if the garage is detached. Serve it from a 50-60A breaker in the main panel.

A small sub panel is pretty inexpensive and it future proofs you as your needs change. It also saves you running into the house when the table saw binds on that slab of oak and trips the breaker in the basement .

Another nice thing with this is you will be able to have a 240VAC Nema 6-20 outlet which might be useful for your compressor. I changed my 120VAC compressor to 240VAC and it starts up far better and less straining, especially in cold weather. Some table saw motors can also be set for 240VAC for similar benefits.
This sounds like a great idea, but how much in cost difference would this pose in your opinion? Without calling up my local buildings department, would anyone know what kind of service is being brought in from the street into a 2 family house, typically, in NY ? House was built in the late 1930's.

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