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Old 10-22-2012, 12:06 AM   #1
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Upgrading/relocating main service


My son is in the process of having a new metal building (50'x30') built. The electric service pole where his meter and main service is located will need to be moved. He lives in a rural area and receives his power from an electric coop. When they move the pole we would like to add another electric panel to provide power to the building. We are wanting to put a 200 amp box in the new building so he can also get electricity to other areas on the farm. Right after he bought the farm (built 1890s) 5 years ago we had to upgrade the main in the house to a 200 amp Square D. Since they are moving the pole we are planning to trench new copper wire to both the house and building. The house will be about 75-85' from the pole and the building will be about 50'. Below are the questions I have at this time:

1. What type of boxes will I need to get to attach at the pole to get 200 amp service to both the house and building? Plus is there a 3 way connection in case he decides to add another service later, if it is possible?
2. How deep should the trench be for running the service to the house and building? I believe when we ran our underground service to our house in 1998 it was 40" deep.
3. Is 4-0 copper wire sufficient for both house and building?

Another electrical project we will have later is rewiring the house. As I mentioned we had to replace the main breaker right after he bought the house. We found the back of the box had signs of getting hot. I can't remember the name of the box but it was some off brand that had been discontinued. Anyway we just replaced the box with plans to do the rewiring later. The house is a two story and several of the rooms still have the older wire in them. I don't know how much luck we will have trying to pull some new wire thru the walls but once we get into it I will probably be asking for some more advice. One thing I wondered about was if anyone has had any experience using those tracks you put along the baseboard that covers the wire so you don't have to put it in the wall. I just saw this at Home Depot or Menards the other day but didn't know if it was feasible or not. Or if anyone had any other ideas that might work. Oh well, those are questions/projects we will be getting into later. Thank you in advance for any and all responses. Take care, Shooter

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:01 AM   #2
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Upgrading/relocating main service


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My son is in the process of having a new metal building (50'x30') built. You must use the rebar in the concrete foundation as an Ufer ground (CEE = concrete encased electrode.) Since they are moving the pole we are planning to trench new copper wire to both the house and building. Copper is three times more expensive than aluminum(AL) and no safer in this instance. With careful installation, a torque wrench or torque screwdriver and Noalox grease, the AL will be no different than copper. The house will be about 75-85' from the pole and the building will be about 50'.
Farm animals will die from voltages, leaking through the dirt, that an adult human won't even feel. Even smaller voltages can put cows off milk production. That's about all I know about farms.

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:40 AM   #3
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Farm animals will die from voltages, leaking through the dirt, that an adult human won't even feel. Even smaller voltages can put cows off milk production. That's about all I know about farms.

That is why you give them tin hats.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:52 AM   #4
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Upgrading/relocating main service


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1. What type of boxes will I need to get to attach at the pole to get 200 amp service to both the house and building? I know they make a meter base with double lugs. It has space for two sets of wires.Plus is there a 3 way connection in case he decides to add another service later, if it is possible? I do not know if they make a triple lug meter base. I believe the three sets of wires would each need to go to their own disconnect on the pole. From each disconnect would require four wire feeders.
2. How deep should the trench be for running the service to the house and building? For USE cable, table 300.5 says: 18" from top of cable to grade (approx. 23" trench), for dwellings. If you are not zoned residential or use heavy equipment over the ground, 24" to top of cable ( approx. 29" trench.) Less if under concrete, less if piped. I believe when we ran our underground service to our house in 1998 it was 40" deep.That's crazy! Local rules may apply.
USE cable must be physically protected from when it leaves each panel, down the whole way it is visible, and an add'l 18" until you get to full trench depth. You may sleave it in PVC schedule 80, RMC or IMC.

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Old 10-22-2012, 04:02 AM   #5
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Upgrading/relocating main service


The house is a dwelling. Table 310.15(B)(7), 2011 codebook. 120/240-Volt,3-Wire, Single Phase Dwelling. 200 Amps. 2/0 copper(CU) or 4/0 aluminum(AL).

The building is an, I don't know what. Is it three phase? Did you do a load calculation? What code year are you on? What's the hottest temperature in the year for your soil depth? Will it be in pipe or a cable? What's the labeling for the conductors, USE, USE-2, THWN, THWN-2, something else? What's the labeling for the terminations/lugs at each end of the cable?

I would get a double lugged meter, and feed the disconnect on the house, straight from it, with three conductor (triplex) USE cable. On the pole I would mount a 200A Main Breaker panel box with feed through lugs and half a dozen or more breaker spaces. The breaker spaces are for other feeders, with amperage up to the stab rating on the panel's label( approx. 100A max.) From the meter to this panel is three wires, hot, hot, neutral. From the feed thru lugs to the building disconnect is four wires, hot, hot, neutral, ground. Assuming 120/240, not a three phase service.

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Old 10-22-2012, 06:14 AM   #6
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Upgrading/relocating main service


WAG for the building. The two hots, 3/0 for copper, 250 kcmil for aluminum. If you can find quadplex USE cable that big, you wont have a choice of ground and neutral size. It comes the way it comes. If you pipe it, the whole way, the ground is, #6 CU or #4 AL.

If you have a whole bunch of 240v equipment, or really know how to balance your loads, you can undersize your neutral. Do you?

A whole farm load calculation might save your son big bucks in the long run. You may, for instance, only need a 300A meter and service drop for your two 200A feeds. Based on demand factors. Does your co-op charge more or less per month based on service drop size? You need an engineer or an experienced, licensed farm electrician for this. Tell them up front you just want the calculation, not the work. No hard feelings if it's just quotes for the calcs.

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Old 10-22-2012, 06:56 AM   #7
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The breaker spaces are for other feeders, with amperage up to the stab rating on the panel's label( approx. 100A max.)
To be clear. Each feeder can have a breaker, sized up to the stab rating. (warning, some stabs feed a left side and a right side breaker.) It's ok, just as long as you don't turn everything, at each building, on at the same time and overload the panel. This is also where load calcs help.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:54 PM   #8
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Upgrading/relocating main service


Hi, Thanks for all the responses I appreciate them all (even the tin hat one ).

First off, I got to thinking a little more about the trenching and realized the 40" depth I mentioned before was the depth our electric company buried the service coming back to our transformer. When we built back in 98 our neighbor was also building. Since we both are about 200 feet off the road the power company ran the service underground back to a transformer pad which fed both our homes. The trench going back to the pad was the one that was 40" deep. The service going from the transformer into the meter on our house was closer to 24-28".

Now getting to the electric load for the farm. My son and daughter-in-law have 5 acres they grow sustainable produce on and also raise free range poultry. The new building (50'x30') will include a 20'x20' prep area to get the produce ready for market. Electric use in this area would be about the same as a regular kitchen. There is also plans for an efficiency 1 bedroom apartment on the second floor so we could use 3-4 breakers for that area. The rest of the building will be primarily used to work on farm equipment. About the only 240v equipment they may have will be a welder and possibly a well pump. In the house they need 240 for an electric stove, AC unit and dryer. They will have 3-4 smaller outbuilding that may each require a single designated 20 amp breaker from the metal shed distribution box.

Concerning the power pole where the meter will be located presently they have 100 amp service going to the house. What we are wanting to do is upgrade that to 200 amp service with a 200 amp box in both the new shed and the house. As I mentioned in my first post a new 200 amp box has already been put in the house. My son had an electrician do that right after they moved in. We found some burn spots on the back of the box. Not sure the brand of the box but if I remember correctly the electrician told my son the company went out of business. When they replaced the house box my son purchased copper wire from the coop but since we had plans of moving the service after the building was up we haven't used it yet. The service wire going to the house now is aluminum with 100 amp feed.

As far as how much of a a load there will be at any given time it is doubtful there will ever be full use of both the 200 amp services at the same time. At the pole after the meter I plan to install a breaker box. Originally I had asked if there is a box made that could handle three separate 200 amp service feeds but it may not be cost effective to do that at this time. My son's thinking was since we are upgrading just in case he needed the third feed in the future the box would be there. However we were not thinking about the coop maybe charging more fore the added feed whether we use it or not. So back to the drawing board, what type of box do we need to bring the service from the meter to the box then run two 200 amp feeds, one to the house and one to the shed? And you mentioned either using 2-0 copper or 4-0 aluminum is that correct?

We realize before the day the coop comes out and moves the pole we will need to be ready so they can reconnect the service. Last week when they met the engineer told my son he thought the cost for moving the service would be $500. He thought they could re-use almost everything already on the pole except for the new breaker box. If I have forgotten anything please let me know but below is what I "think" we need to do:

1. Trench from new pole location to both house and new shed and lay wire in trench
2. Mount new 200 amp box in shed. This can also be connected with service wire.
3. Get everything ready at house electric panel to remove old service and connect new one after coop cuts the power.
4. Have breaker box and components ready to mount on new pole and reconnect.

Thanks again for your input.
Take care,
Shooter
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:26 PM   #9
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Hi Shooter. What part of the country are you in? I need to know the temperature range. And just to be sure, please confirm you do not have three phase service. It's plain old 120/240, right?

I don't know anything about the co-op's billing. You need to talk to the co-op and find out what's free, what's reasonable and what's beyond the budget.

The chickens are a big deal. That's a whole different section of the code book from just plants. Chicken poop and water runoff from cleaning the building is very corrosive. It will seep into the dirt and destroy the cable. So, how close will the electrical trench for the house get to the chickens?

Including the new building, how many buildings are on the property now?

Last edited by Glennsparky; 10-22-2012 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:23 AM   #10
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Hi Shooter. What part of the country are you in? I need to know the temperature range. And just to be sure, please confirm you do not have three phase service. It's plain old 120/240, right?

I don't know anything about the co-op's billing. You need to talk to the co-op and find out what's free, what's reasonable and what's beyond the budget.

The chickens are a big deal. That's a whole different section of the code book from just plants. Chicken poop and water runoff from cleaning the building is very corrosive. It will seep into the dirt and destroy the cable. So, how close will the electrical trench for the house get to the chickens?

Including the new building, how many buildings are on the property now?
Glenn, The farm is located in southern Illinois, generally pretty mild conditions. The service is not three phase just plain old 120/240. I talked to the engineer this afternoon and he said they will mount a breaker box below the meter where we can hook up the two 200 amp leads to the house and shed plus a third one for future use if needed. There are no chicken or coops anywhere near where the two services will be coming in. Where they are located the runoff is going away from all the trenching we will be doing. Counting the new building there are 5 separate buildings/hoop houses where we will be running electricity. Four will each have one 20 amp breaker designated for lights or fans. They will be trenched in at least 24" with 12 guage outdoor wire. We will probably also run them in pvc conduit. Most are towards the same area of the farm so we could probably get by with running them in the same trench. Plus the way they will be laid out there will be no poultry or waste runoff going over the top of them. As far as the 200 amp breaker box in new shed we will have either one or two 240s and the rest will be 120.

Also dealing with the coop the engineer said we could get most of the supplies from them and it would be cheaper than getting it at any of the local stores.

Thanks again Glenn for your suggestions, it is appreciated.

take care,
Shooter
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:33 AM   #11
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Upgrading/relocating main service


If ya going to make a building for Poulet ( Chicken ) for nite time or cold weather operations this what you will have to keep in your mind is that there will be NO metal conduit and NO UF cable svp ( please ) due the poulet will peck the heck of it.

The only conduit it work for poulet area is plastique pipes they are only one I know they can hold up to the abuse and corrosion situation.

And make sure you tie the UFER bar to the ground conductor to keep the same plane this is crictal otherwise a farm cerified electrician can assit you on that.

You can have metal conduit like EMT ( electrcal metalic conduit aka thin wall conduit ) inside where there is no corrosion will show up.

For the main service you can use the class 320 socket aka 400 amp resdentail meter socket otherwise a 400 amp rated meter socket will have to be used ( depending on your POCO requirment so ask them )

Merci,
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:16 AM   #12
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Great Now we're cooking. As it stands now the home and building feeds are the same type. A four wire feeder (like quadplex USE), with the hots sized, 3/0 copper or 250 kcmil aluminum.

Things would change quite a bit if the inspector(AHJ) decides the whole farm, including these two buildings, falls under Article 547 of the code. (Agricultural Buildings) Nothing's as expensive as redoing all your work, with all new materials, becouse the inspector says so. So, please, find out who makes the decision on this and ask them.
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:32 AM   #13
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Four will each have one 20 amp breaker designated for lights or fans. They will be trenched in at least 24" with 12 guage outdoor wire. We will probably also run them in pvc conduit. Most are towards the same area of the farm so we could probably get by with running them in the same trench.
"outdoor wire" sounds like you are talking about UF 12/2 with ground. It looks like grey romex but the sheath is solid plastic from the wires out. I don't think this is legal to run to any chicken coop. And I advise against running UF in PVC. (Except above ground, short distances, sleaved in sch. 80 is correct)

Once you cross into chicken or chicken/adjacent areas the ground wire must be green insulated(covered), copper only.

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Old 10-23-2012, 11:25 AM   #14
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If you add one hot wire, like 12/3 with ground. You get two 120V circuits. They share the neutral and ground. And you still don't have to drive ground rods at the building. It's called a MWBC (Multi Wire Branch Circuit). Do a search for it on this forum for the special rules.

That common trench you're digging to the four buildings? I would mount a panel box, with a dozen or so spaces, at the end of it. Then feed each building from there. If you like the idea I'll give you the specifics.

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Old 10-23-2012, 12:39 PM   #15
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"outdoor wire" sounds like you are talking about UF 12/2 with ground. It looks like grey romex but the sheath is solid plastic from the wires out. I don't think this is legal to run to any chicken coop. And I advise against running UF in PVC. (Except above ground, short distances, sleaved in sch. 80 is correct)

Once you cross into chicken or chicken/adjacent areas the ground wire must be green insulated(covered), copper only.
Thanks Glenn, yes I was talking about the solid plastic UF 12/2 with ground but if that is not legal we will use whatever is. I just assumed the UF 12/2 with ground with conduit would be safe but I didn't think about the bare ground. The path/area we will be running the wire to will have no "chicken" traffic. They are all fenced in. Even inside the coop the wire we will be coming into the coop opposite side of the pasture. We will run it up the outside of the coop to the inside switch and then to the receptical/light. All the inside wiring will also be in conduit.

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