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Old 04-06-2011, 08:48 AM   #1
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


Hi Everyone, I have just bought a house with a detatched garage. I was looking around yesterday with the previous owner, and he had run #3 wire (at least #3, couldn't find markings on the sheath) under his driveway out to the garage decades ago when he built it, but only has it connected to a 40 amp breaker in his panel in the house. He said since he worked for Ontario Hydro he got the #3 cheap, and figured since it was being paved over he might as well go big incase he ever wanted to upgrade the garage.

I would like to get a minimum of 60 amps out there, but would prefer 100 for future projects. The main panel is only 100 amps, and I would rather not replace it if possible. I wanted to know if it's possible to have an electrician install a splitter box before the house' panel, and have 2 sets of #3 wire coming off the meter. One set to the house panel, and one set to the garage. Is this possible/legal?

Thanks,
Jim

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Old 04-06-2011, 08:59 AM   #2
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


Yes, it is legal in the US. My garage and my house both connect to the meter. Each has it's own main panel and GES. Your meter and service have to support this arrangement.
Is the feeder to the garage copper or aluminum and is there three wires or four wires?

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Old 04-06-2011, 09:09 AM   #3
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


It's copper, 3 wires, with a ground stake at the garage. Two huge wires which are at least #3, and a third wire which is very slightly smaller, I'm assuming that's the neutral. He has one 220 volt circuit in the garage currently.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:37 AM   #4
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


It would all depend on if the service is 200 amp rated. The wires and meter based would need to be 200 amp rated and they most likely are not.

Likely the entire service would need to be upgraded to 200 amp.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:43 AM   #5
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


It is a 200 amp meter, but I will likely have to phone the city and see if they can tell me what the service to the meter is.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:52 PM   #6
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


All meters I think are 200 amp. It's the cables from the weatherhead down to the meter that are likely not the proper size.
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:50 PM   #7
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


just so you guys are aware there are, um, incorrect AHJ's out there; I was shot down on such an installation.

It is legal to either have a meter that will accept 2 wires (I don't know of a meter under a 320 that you can double lug) or you can tap the service feeder and run it to the other building. For some reason, the AHJ in my area said both methods are illegal.

Since I didn't want to challenge him at the moment and the owner didn't want to wait for a challenge, we went a different route.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:56 PM   #8
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


Just curious....what will protect that wire from the meter to the garage? You have buried wire with basically no protection except for the utility's fused disconnect at the pole. No wonder the AHJ doesn't want it.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:29 PM   #9
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


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Originally Posted by Missouri Bound View Post
Just curious....what will protect that wire from the meter to the garage? You have buried wire with basically no protection except for the utility's fused disconnect at the pole. No wonder the AHJ doesn't want it.

I forgot to mention that currently the wire leaves the house breaker box, goes into an old school G.E. fused disconnect, and then underground to the garage. That's how he was able to get a 40 amp breaker to feed #3 wire.

In the garage, he has it entering another fused disconnect, then into an old fuse box with socket fuses. I'd like to remove the disconnect and fuse boxes and replace them in the garage with a 100 amp panel.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:31 PM   #10
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


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Originally Posted by Missouri Bound View Post
Just curious....what will protect that wire from the meter to the garage? You have buried wire with basically no protection except for the utility's fused disconnect at the pole. No wonder the AHJ doesn't want it.
the same that would protect it if the house wasn't there and power was running only to the garage.

In other words; it is no different in function than many other installations. The fact is; it is legal per the NEC and the ahj had no right to shoot it down. It wasn't even a poor interpretation of a rule. It was a blatant self made rule by the ahj.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:35 PM   #11
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


Yes...currently it's protected.....but it won't be if double lugged at the meter...NO PROTECTION
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:56 PM   #12
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


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Yes...currently it's protected.....but it won't be if double lugged at the meter...NO PROTECTION
there is no difference.


think about it like this. I have a house 300 feet from the power pole. I have an underground service to the house. What protects the lateral?

Now, I have a house 50 feet from the power pole. What protects the lateral?


So now, I have both buildings, I run to the closest building first. Before I enter the building, I tap the feeder. I run from there into the first house as well as a feeder to the far away house.

That is all that is happening. There is no more protection afforded the service feeders in any of the sitatuations over the other ways.

I don't know where you are coming up with some additional protection in any of the scenarios.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by nap View Post
The fact is; it is legal per the NEC and the ahj had no right to shoot it down.
Doesn't the AHJ have ultimate authority? They accept or amend the NEC as they wish. If you get an interpretation or ruling from an inspector, you should have the right to get it reviewed by his boss. In my case (Oregon) there is a Chief Electrical Inspector for the state to whom you can make an appeal.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:31 PM   #14
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


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Jupe Blue;625915]Doesn't the AHJ have ultimate authority?
no, and their authority is limited to interpretation of rules. This was clearly not a matter of interpretation of some ambiguous rule. It was clearly the ahj making his own rule. I can clearly show you where the installation is allowed. check out 230.40 exception #3. for clarity sake, a service drop is an overhead feed from the pole to the service entrance conductors. The service entrance conductors are the wires, either in a conduit riser or as SE cable that runs up the side of a building and attaches to the service drop. A service lateral is the same as a service drop but it is underground rather than overhead.

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They accept or amend the NEC as they wish.
No. In fact, the NEC has moved further towards limiting their ability to interpret the rules. Their decisions must be based on the code. If there is something that is ambiguous, they are allowed to interpret but they must be able to support their action. They don't get to simply make up rules they believe should be in the code and they do not get to knock an installation because they do not agree with some rule in the NEC.

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If you get an interpretation or ruling from an inspector, you should have the right to get it reviewed by his boss. In my case (Oregon) there is a Chief Electrical Inspector for the state to whom you can make an appeal.
absolutely. The problem is, in may state, I have to take it to a state level review board. It takes about 6 months to get it heard and a decision. Customer didn't want to wait so we simply made it comply with what the ahj believed it should be.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:42 PM   #15
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Splitting your input before your house panel?


Nap...my hat's off to you. You have done nothing but pose a very factual accurate presentation. You have me agreeing with you, hands down. My only concern would be as mentioned earlier, that the entrance drop wires were adequate to handle the additional amperage...could be, but probably not. And I didn't see any mention of a grounding rod...and that would be needed at the garage.
Well done.

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