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Old 02-07-2009, 03:23 PM   #1
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Service wire thru attic


Hello all. Thankfully I just found this site and have an issue needing expert advice on. I've a shop sitting 45' behind my house. I've had two electricials come look at running service to it. One has ran service wire through attics (my preference) several times and the other says it cannot be done legally.
I'm no electrician by trade but DO know my way around having done industrial maintenence for 30 + years and home wiring for myself for a long time.
I've done a lot of searching on the net and saw nowhere that running service wire thru an attic is illegal EXCEPT in the case of say a condo/townhouse where you cannot breech a fire barrier.
I live in western Tennessee where attic temp is typically 135/140F.
The building will have a 100amp panel and what I want to do is run a service wire through the house attic from end/end (conduit up into, conduit down out of) to a disconnect then underground via conduit to the building.
I'm not very familar with wire ratings/terminology when it comes to a case like this.
That said, what wire is best suited and legally/safely correct for attic use? I prefer copper but am open to aluminum.
From researching I've found using copper it should be 2/0 THHN or 2/0 THWN? What size conduit, 2"?
Thanks greatly in advance!!!

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Old 02-07-2009, 04:26 PM   #2
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Service wire thru attic


1 1/2" or 2" conduit with three #2 thwn copper and a #6 ground.

Thru the attic is fine. It's not really service wire, they are feeders.

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Old 02-07-2009, 08:11 PM   #3
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Service wire thru attic


Unfused service wires must be as short as possible inside the house. Usually less than 5 feet. However these are not service wires. These are feeder wires protected by a breaker in the main panel.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:28 PM   #4
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1 1/2" or 2" conduit with three #2 thwn copper and a #6 ground.

Thru the attic is fine. It's not really service wire, they are feeders.
Thanks for your reply and I do appreciate it.
So #2 wire is what, two seperate wires with the #6 ground being the 3rd? Or do you mean #2 as in 2/0? The one electrician who'd run it through the attic was using 2/0 romex. No good???
I'd rather use a romex type to make one pass through the attic and be done.
Like I said, I'm no electrician by trade so I'm not up on the "terms" so being more specific would be very helpful.
In other words break it down for this dummy please sir.
I know the THWN represents the environment a wire should be used in but to me #2 could mean a single #2 thwn wire x's 2 + the #6. And are you saying I should run conduit all the way through the attic? If so, not a big deal, just want to be clear and get it right and safe the first time. Thanks.....and sorry for being a little thick about this.

Last edited by Poot; 02-07-2009 at 10:01 PM. Reason: left a question out
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:01 PM   #5
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Service wire thru attic


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Thanks for your reply and I do appreciate it.
So #2 wire is what, two seperate wires with the #6 ground being the 3rd? Or do you mean #2 as in 2/0? The one electrician who'd run it through the attic was using 2/0 romex. No good???
I'd rather use a romex type to make one pass through the attic and be done.
Like I said, I'm no electrician by trade so I'm not up on the "terms" so being more specific would be very helpful.
In other words break it down for this dummy please sir.
I know the THWN represents the environment a wire can be used in but to me #2 could mean a single #2 thwn wire x's 2 + the #6. Thanks.....and sorry!
I thought you said you were running conduit? You don't put romex in conduit. You use thhn/thwn, single strands of wire, normally 4 wires to feed a sub.

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Old 02-07-2009, 10:34 PM   #6
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I thought you said you were running conduit? You don't put romex in conduit. You use thhn/thwn, single strands of wire, normally 4 wires to feed a sub.

Jamie
I know you don't typically run romex in conduit. What I wasn't clear about was the reply to use #2 wire + a #6 ground. Does #2 mean as in 2/0 romex or two seperate #2 thwn wires plus a ground? I'm guessing two #2 thwn + the one #6 but I'm not going to assume anything about this. Earlier when I mentioned conduit I said INTO the attic and OUT of the attic but none in-between. They would be short runs just to get in/out. If it needs to run the entire length using two #2 wires plus the #6, not a problem. Or use 2/0 romex with NO conduit, can do that too. Look, I don't fear electricity but I HIGHLY respect it. And I'm not dumb (no, no one said I was!), I just want to do this correctly/safely because it involves my family/house which is why I want a clear understanding with no guessing on my part. Thanks
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:45 PM   #7
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Service wire thru attic


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I know you don't typically run romex in conduit. What I wasn't clear about was the reply to use #2 wire + a #6 ground. Does #2 mean as in 2/0 romex or two seperate #2 thwn wires plus a ground? I'm guessing two #2 thwn + the one #6 but I'm not going to assume anything about this. Earlier when I mentioned conduit I said INTO the attic and OUT of the attic but none in-between. They would be short runs just to get in/out. If it needs to run the entire length using two #2 wires plus the #6, not a problem. Or use 2/0 romex with NO conduit, can do that too. Look, I don't fear electricity but I HIGHLY respect it. And I'm not dumb (no, no one said I was!), I just want to do this correctly/safely because it involves my family/house which is why I want a clear understanding with no guessing on my part. Thanks
You can't use romex for this feed unless you plan to junction it over to thhn when it leaves the house, which seems kind of silly, this gage of wire isn't as easy to junction as some 12 gage branch circuits. This should be a solid conduit from the house panel to the shop. You need a 4 wire feed, 2 hot, 1 neutral, and 1 #6 ground if it is 100a.
#2 is 2awg wire. Are you planing on supplying a full 100a of service to the detached building?
I don't know of any 2/0 romex. I suspect your speaking of SEU cable, I would not use that, again it can't run outside in conduit.
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:59 PM   #8
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Service wire thru attic


Thanks Jamie and I realized I've left a part out. Via a double carport I've an attached garage on one end fed by an outside 100 amp disconnect @ the meter base. The idea is to replace that disconnect with a 200 amp feeding 100 amp's to each building. I wanted to come out of that and conduit up roughly 6' then turn into the attic running the wire without conduit at that point to the opposite end then conduit out/down roughly 10' to another box to terminate it but from that point on I hadn't planned to use romex.
Unfortunately I'm handicapped so when it comes to trenching I have to do it a little at a time hence the reason for a termination point. Yes I could get the trench dug then do all the wiring at one time but there again I can't physically last that long in one stretch so I need to do this in stages. Replace the disconnect one day, another day running conduit/wire and so forth. I know it's backwards but you do what you hafta do sometimes.
So romex is out since it can't be in conduit and I suppose it can't be used unprotected outdoors between the disconnect to the attic's entrance point? And in using #2awg it must be in conduit all the way, correct?
Thanks again
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:45 PM   #9
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Service wire thru attic


I am confused, but.....

#2 refers to the size of a single wire. The smaller the number, the larger the wire up to 0, (ott). Then it's 1/0 (one ott), 2/0 thru 4/0. The bigger the wire, the more current it can carry. #2 will generally carry 100+ amps.

You can use cable (multiple wires enclosed in a sheath) thru your attic and change to conduit and individual wire outside/underground. You could also use UF (underground feeder) cable (if you could find it) the entire distance with no junctions/splices.

I think you should call a real electrician
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:27 PM   #10
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Service wire thru attic


I think you should call a real electrician [/quote]
I did but I don't see the price they wanted.
One wouldn't run it through the atttic because "That's illegal" but
would run it overhead for $1400. However, because of my wife's above pool there was no way to get the required clearance to do that. Then he wanted $2400 to run it underground, about 70', but flat out refused to do it if I dug the trench.

The second guy would install a new 200 amp disconnect then run it up/thru/out of the attic. This was a less direct route to the building, about 7' up from the disconnect to the attic, 60' across, then down
about 10' and stop, for $2000. Material was about $1000 and while I don't expect someone to work for nothing, I don't see $1000 labor for roughly a 4 hour job which is why I'm not using a REAL electrician. I understand paying for experience but experience doesn't mean THAT much on a straight forward job like this. The attic is tall and wide open so he wouldn't be in it but MAYBE 30 minutes, 45 tops. I think it's unreasonable....or maybe I'm cheap?!
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:52 PM   #11
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Service wire thru attic


Why not run flex conduit where you need to and run conduit in the more accessible parts of your attic. Junction to pvc conduit outside.

No way your going to find 2 awg romex.

AL is cheaper, though, you would need big conduit for room.

Last edited by rgsgww; 02-08-2009 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:09 PM   #12
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Service wire thru attic


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while I don't expect someone to work for nothing, I don't see $1000 labor for roughly a 4 hour job which is why I'm not using a REAL electrician.


But you expect us to work for free and tell you how to do it?

I only help people who really need help. I do not help people like you that are just trying to save a buck.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:06 AM   #13
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No way your going to find 2 awg romex.
http://www.wesbellwireandcable.com/ROMEXNMB.html
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:10 AM   #14
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Never mind...
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:12 PM   #15
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But you expect us to work for free and tell you how to do it?

I only help people who really need help. I do not help people like you that are just trying to save a buck.
No I DON'T expect you to work for free and I so stated. YOU on the other hand act like I should accept your royal screwing @ $250 an hour THEN shake your hand and thank you greatly. If your a REAL electrician, sorry to pop your bubble but your well beneath a God. Don't know you, don't care to, but I guarantee your NOT worth $250 an hour, at least not to me. As for me, yeah I'm trying to save a buck just like YOU and everyone else right now. And so?! I'm also trying to save because last year I became disabled after working 40 years because of degenerative disc disease. I went from $4200 a month to under 2k monthly but still have a mortgage, a 12 year old in private school, etc, so yeah, I'm trying to cut corners. And who knows, maybe one day you'll have the pleasure of developing this and I bet you'll start cutting corners yourself.

I've helped a LOT of people in my life fixing their cars, mowers, roofing, whatever, for FREE if they were needy and a LOT of times they were. Apparently you and I come from completely differently backgrounds. I was taught to help AND what goes around comes around. It does, I've seen it, and so will you. What is the big deal for you to type a few lines telling me what I need to know? You've no problem typing what you did after CLEARLY stating I did not expect this to be done for free, I just don't see how you think your worth $250 an hour.
I understand paying for experience, your licensed (?) which takes time/work/years to obtain and blaa blaa blaa but still, you AIN'T all that. I've worked with industrial electricians a lot in my career and yes it IS work just as what I did was, but at that rate? C'mom.
And yes I WILL get this done without your wealth of knowledge. Oh, thanks for nothing and you oughta learn to REALLY read before replying. And no offense/disrespect meant towards the trade or anyone else.

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