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Old 05-31-2014, 04:38 PM   #1
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Power to Detached Garage


Friends of mine would like to increase the available power in their detached garage. They host many pool parties and the garage becomes the bar and lounge with refrigerator, old 53" projection TV, stereo and a couple lights. They would like to add a second refrigerator or chest freezer. I need to do a load calculation to see if they can get away with 15 amps, but an additional circuit would be nice. Anything that gets done would be performed by a licensed electrician, but I'm curious as to the options.

The problem is that their entire yard is concrete - driveway, patio, and pool deck. There would be no way to dig a trench to lay wire between the main panel in the basement and the garage.

The first thought I had would be to split off after the meter, go back up a mast (through the patio roof) and across to the garage to a panel in the garage. Is that feasible/legal?

The second thought is to use the line for their central air. The unit is broken and has been abandoned since replacing it would also involve massive concrete tear out to run new coolant lines. Could that line be taken up a mast and across the yard to a panel in the garage?

Third option I could see is a new drop from the pole with a new meter and panel in the garage. Seems like overkill to power another appliance.

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Old 05-31-2014, 05:21 PM   #2
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Power to Detached Garage


The AC line is 240 and does not have a neutral.

Only service conductors are allowed on or in the mast.

What size is the conduit out to the building?

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Old 05-31-2014, 08:57 PM   #3
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What's the capacity of the existing 240v lines to the shed ?
You may be able to use a 240v to 120v tranny ?
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Old 05-31-2014, 09:25 PM   #4
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Power to Detached Garage


It really depends on the Load Calculation from what is needed for the house. Find out what the total of the watts are for everything that they want to power on at the same time out in the garage. Then divide the Watts by the voltage of the appliance. Lets just use 120 vAC to keep it simple. Since everything you stated is going to only need 120 vAC.

Most likely at peak demand. You are talking at most 20 amps when everything is running at the same time. Start-up current on an older fridge or freezer may peak at 30 amps for demand if everything is on.

If they plan on running a compressor, welding equipment. Probably looking at no more then needing a 40 amp circuit out there. You could get away with #8 THHN/THWN in a Conduit, or 8/3 UF.

The biggest factor would be the distance and demand at the house. That is going to be the deciding factor of how much lee-way they have for the garage circuit.

Also keep in mind that if the garage is kept closed and gets in the upwards of 110 degree Fahrenheit during the Summer. The fridge and freezer will not keep cool enough.
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:15 PM   #5
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Power to Detached Garage


I realize that load calculations are required - have not looked into all of that yet. My primary question now is, is it legal to route a branch circuit or sub panel service line in the air between a house and garage?

Adding a freezer would take them to 16-17 amps by my rough estimate. One additional 15 or 20 amp circuit would help. No welding or anything like that, but there is the possibility of someone using a circular saw or other hand tool that would definitely trip a breaker if everything was running. Can't let the beer get warm.

Turns out they do want to repair the AC, so that line is no longer useable even if it had a neutral.

I was not suggesting using the service entry mast. I was thinking of a second mast over to the garage. My thought was split the service line after the meter but before entering the house, with one line going to the main panel in the basement and the other going up to a second mast, across to the garage, to another panel.

A second drop would probably be the easiest, but do power companies (DTE Energy in this case) typically allow two drops for residential customers?
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:31 PM   #6
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Power to Detached Garage


Yo, hey tev. Just call a boring company. They can pull you a new feeder with conduit as well to your dettatched garage and your done. Not real cheap but an option. It's like a little caving machine, pretty cool how they do it
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:33 PM   #7
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Power to Detached Garage


Like this Tev

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRG2rPcj93U[/ame]
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:46 PM   #8
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Power to Detached Garage


It is OK to have an overhead wire from a building to another building but not when there is a pool present.
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Old 06-01-2014, 06:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoleCat View Post
It is OK to have an overhead wire from a building to another building but not when there is a pool present.
Not completely true.

If he is not going over the pool / pool deck there's no issue

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