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jakeb 03-27-2008 01:32 PM

upgrading service for added garage
My deatached garage is now done and ready for use. I am starting to look into and plan how I will add power to it.

I think the best idea would be to dig a trench and run 3 2awg wires in a conduit to a sub panel. It is only about 60' from the house to the garage and I am sure I could dig it by hand without too much trouble.

I want to run 100a to my garage. I plan to have a 220 compressor right away and will have a 220 welder and a lift in the years to come.

My house currently has a 125A service with a breaker box that is just about full. But does have room for a 100a 2 pole breaker.

I will have to upgrade the service to the house to 200a. I am farily knowledable in adding circuits and running wire, etc but have never done this before.

I spoke with the electric company and they said it is fairly easy from their side to upgrade the service. They will supply me with a meter box/plate and then when I am ready they will come and take care of everything outside. Upgrade wire from the poll if needed, at no charge.

So...what I am wondering is can I use my current breaker box and just upgrade the main breaker from a 125 to a 200a. Run new bigger wire(if needed) from the box to the meter box/plate and then have the elec co come and turn it on. Or do I need to buy an entire new 200a box for the house and install a NEW meter box/plate, wire it together. Then have the city move power to that box and then either a) move all the wires from the old box to the new box or just have a 125amp in the new box to power the old box and then also have a 100amp in the new box to power the garage?

This ended up being pretty long winded.

I may have answered my own question. But would it be best to install a new meter box and have that feed a small box that then feeds the garage and the already installed home box?


220/221 03-27-2008 01:47 PM

I RARELY leave old equipment. New stuff is actually very inexpensive. It looks cleaner to have less stuff on the wall.


jakeb 03-27-2008 02:00 PM

I will check and see how much a full box would be. Could I use the one I pull out in the garage? The old house box, 125A, but run it off a 100a breaker in the main box?

What do you want pictures of? the box i have now? or the garage?

CowboyAndy 03-27-2008 02:12 PM

You will also need 4 wires for the sub panel in the garage. 2 hot, neutral and ground.

jakeb 03-27-2008 02:24 PM

yes, or I can use a ground plate? I can run a smaller ground wire than 2 awg, right?

Would it be possible to have the meter run into a box outside, with one then wire going inside the house to the exsisting breaker box and then 2awg wires going to the garage?

220/221 03-27-2008 05:18 PM

Anything is possible. We need to know the WHOLE picture to deytermine the best cousre of action. Every houise is not set up the same. I know it is hard for a layman to describe everything using the proper terminology but it is necessary. That's why pics realy help.

jakeb 03-27-2008 05:25 PM

Alright I can take some pictures. What do you want me to take them of? The box in the basement? cover on or off? The meter base?

I have done some more reading and think it might be best to get a meter base with a small load center built into it and then have one breaker feed the house box and another breaker feed the garage. Or have the meter goto a outdoor load center that then feeds the house and garage.

220/221 03-27-2008 07:27 PM

What is feeding your existing panel?


it might be best to get a meter base with a small load center built into it and then have one breaker feed the house box and another breaker feed the garage.
If you do this you MAY have to replace/upgrade the feed to a 4 wire and reconfigure/separate the grounds/neutrals in the house panel.

Pics of the panel with cover off if you can do it safely. Don't attempt to take off the meter cover.

jakeb 03-27-2008 09:00 PM

Here are a few pictures. The 220 breaker at the bottom is actually not needed any longer. It was for a dryer but our dryer is gas.

2awg copper is feeding the panel from an aerial drop that connects to the meter. The wire going up from the meter to the aerial looks to be almost twice as big as the actual aerial drop.

I was really hoping to be able to just add a breaker to my current box and run a sub box but i will probably be over my 125a service. I am sure I would never actually use that much at once tho. The garage will have a compressor, maybe a 220 welder and a 220 lift down the road.

jakeb 03-28-2008 09:41 AM

I have been thinking about if I even really NEED 100a out to the garage. It is just a home garage and use for my car hobby. If at all costs I would rather not mess with the service and changing to a new box in the house. If I ran 2awg could I just install say a 60a/80a off the current box and then if down the road I need more power to the garage then I would upgrade the service and current box in the house.

I will never be running all the items in the garage at once anyway. Can't really use a welder with running a lift at the same time.

Would that be possible?

Is 2awg what is needed if I would go to 100a in the future?

Trying to find out what will be easy on the pocket book as well as give me options for the future and enough for right now as well.

thanks again

220/221 03-28-2008 06:03 PM

That panel has "homeowner" written all over it. Why cant they figure out how to strip all the sheath off the romex and how much trouble is it to pull off the paper?

I have never seen a bare neutral before either.

Anyway, I would just run a 40 or 60 amp sub to the garage from your panel with #8 or #6 wire.

3 wire (with gound) UF cable would be the easiest installation for a homowner. It can be direct buried.

jakeb 03-28-2008 07:59 PM

Yeah I am thinking 60amps will be plenty. I am going to look into 6/3 UF cable. So would it have two hots a neutral and ground?


220/221 03-29-2008 12:18 PM


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