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Old 08-24-2012, 09:15 PM   #1
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I'm looking for opinions on cost effective options for an underground service I would like to install to a new home. (1000 SQFT) 93 sq meters.

At the property line I have a pole with mast and 200A meter base. The house is 48 metres (exact from panel to load centre) away. My load caculation came to 102 Amps so I think a 125A or 150A panel with a 30A transfer panel will be sufficient. This will require 2/0 or 3/0 AL conductors or 1 AWG or 1/0 CU respectively.

The installation will be on Vancouver Island where everyone seems to prefer ACWU90.

As far as I can see my options are ACWU90 or USEI90 for direct burial. What about individual AL conductors in a DBII conduit? That is what the local utility here uses for undergound service.

It looks like USEI90 is 2/3rds the price of ACWU90.

Am I missing anything?
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:45 PM   #2
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Did you take voltage drop into account?

Why not run PVC and individual conductors?
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Last edited by andrew79; 08-24-2012 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:34 PM   #3
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Did you take voltage drop into account?

Why not run PVC and individual conductors?
Voltage drop? Yes, that is why I quoted distance and how I came up with 2/0 or 3/0 AL conductors or 1 AWG or 1/0 CU (125Amp or 150Amp)

I guess I was being lazy and looking to lean on some one elses experience for the conduit & conductor combination costs.

So I looked it up...

At $10/M for 3" DBII conduit the conductor would have to be very cheap to beat the $13/M of USEI #3/0. I think RW90 AL #3/0 is about $3.70/M.

Even with 2" DBII at $6.75/M 3 runs of RW90 AL #3/0 + conduit would be about $17.80/M. Still more that the USEI #3/0.

That is my current understanding of the costs (Subject to change without notice )

Am I missing anything? Can USEI be used in a direct burial application?
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:42 PM   #4
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I have one question to ask ya which location where you will install the transfer panel will be at ?? due there will be some rules that will change your plan to run the panel et conductors.

Really for myself I rather bury this in conduit and use alum conductors.

Make sure you follow your local codes on the transfer switch useage.

This part you do not want any goof up on that.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:00 AM   #5
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There's tons of different cable you can use in pipe but cost wise your probable not going to beat the usei cable no matter what you do unless you go overhead instead of underground.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:03 AM   #6
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I have one question to ask ya which location where you will install the transfer panel will be at ??
The transfer panel is a combined load center transfer panel which is appoved for our area.

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Really for myself I rather bury this in conduit and use alum conductors.
Me too but the cost is an additional $3.50 a metre over USEI, mind you that is still less than ACW90 #3/0 at $20.27/m.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:07 AM   #7
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The acwu cable has a ground and a hazardous location rating. The usei does not. Thats where your price difference comes in.

Bering as you have 200a at the meter if you can afford it id put in the 200a service. It's a big selling point if you ever decide to move.

Your load calc seems high for a 1000 sq. Ft. Home though. Electric heat?
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Last edited by andrew79; 08-25-2012 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:27 AM   #8
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The acwu cable has a ground and a hazardous location rating. The usei does not. Thats where your price difference comes in.
Okay... That makes some sense. When cost is often a factor I still can't understand why most local electricians default to ACWU90.

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Bering as you have 200a at the meter if you can afford it id put in the 200a service. It's a big selling point if you ever decide to move.
The meterbase on the pole is pre-existing. It seems like everyone wants a 200a service although I've never lived in a house with 200a and never had the need for it. I'm not allowed to arc weld in the livingroom. Any other service requirements on the property would be located within a few feet of the pole so it doesn't seem to make sense to pull a service to the house and back again for a shop or garage. A load side tap or secondary meter would make more sense in this case. (IMHO)

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Your load calc seems high for a 1000 sq. Ft. Home though. Electric heat?
Forgive me. That should have been 1500 sq. ft. and yes, for insurance purposes I'll be installing electric heat.

From what I can gather from a conversation this morning the local inspectors are less picky with ACWU installs than with USEI installs so I guess I'll fall in line and use ACWU90. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't cutting the end off the pot roast without good reason.

Thanks everyone.
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