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Old 01-10-2011, 09:58 PM   #1
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What size wire to use running underground


Here goes guys,

I am having electric meter put on my property but would like to run the rest of the way underground to the homesite. It will be 275-325 feet away from the meter pole/meter. It will be a basic home with all the basic things most homes have, it will be under 1400 square feet. Everything will run off electric, unless of course I use propane for stove, waterheater etc.

What gauge wire do i need to use and I know i have to consider the distance because of voltage drop. I will be running the wire in conduit of course, but don't want to have any issues with the wire not being the able to carry the load. The reason for running it so far, is the electric delivery company is charging me lots of money just to get it to my property. What is the greatest distance I can run from the meter with out issues. Can i go even further? Any help would be great. I tried the online calculators, but I don't know enough about amps to figure out what my home would be running.

I heard that copper is the way to go, is that correct? I don't want any issues with safety. I know copper is very pricey these days, so would I just be better off just gettin that darn electric company to run another 300 feet and put another pole. UGH. Don't like the look or the cost!! Also what is this 3 wire (hot, ground, ?) is that what all wire is. I am clueless cant you see! And no I won't be doing this work myself (not that crazy! ), except digging the trench.


Last edited by ms66cadillac; 01-10-2011 at 10:03 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:00 PM   #2
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What size wire to use running underground


first off lets start with the amperage of the service drop. I would anticipate nothing more than 150 from what you said, but it would be nice to know what the POCO put in.

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Old 01-10-2011, 10:08 PM   #3
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What size wire to use running underground


Ball parking this and going off of assumed amperage heres what i came up with:

theres a 99% chance you will go with aluminum on this as copper would be in the neighborhood of a few thousand dollars. SO if you are using aluminum you will need type USE-2 or USE
Heres the table I figured for 325 feet.

100 amps: 2/0
125 amps: 3/0
150 amps: 4/0
200 amps: 250 Kcmil (or parallel runs of 2/0)

Although if you are doing 250 kcmil you might need 3" pvc.

These tables are calculated on a 5% voltage drop at stated amperages.

I suggest whatever amperage you choose you upsize your wire once to leave room for error.

The problem becomes most 100 and 125 amp breakers dont accept 4/0 unless they are the molded case main breakers (not a branch acting as a main)

Most only accept 3/0

My recommendation: 3/0 aluminum URD with a 100 amp service....
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:30 PM   #4
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What size wire to use running underground


Lyons, WHERE are you getting these numbers from?

The service lateral is NOT under the jurisdiction of the NEC, it is under the oversight of the POCO.
Normally the POCO will run, or require, "standard" wire up to 250' for secondary voltage (120/240v). #2AL for 100A and 4/0AL for 200A. Longer and they will bump up in size accordingly.

For a 300+' run to a 200A panel 250AL would be typical.

No way I'd go with a 100A service on a new house. Not unless it was 800 sq/ft or smaller.
200A is pretty standard right now with 320/400A becoming more and more popular/necessary.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:40 PM   #5
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What size wire to use running underground


disconnect on the pole. AL wire. NEED TO DO A SERVICE CALC

Pete I think since you're required to have a disconnect at the pole it would fall under NEC, as it would be private line from the pole to the house. OP said he was only going to have the POCO run to property line. So our meter would be on that pole. In my experience most POCO consider the meter the service point.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:05 PM   #6
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What size wire to use running underground


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disconnect on the pole. AL wire. NEED TO DO A SERVICE CALC

Pete I think since you're required to have a disconnect at the pole....
Where is this written? There is no requirement to have a disconnect at the pole.



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..............it would fall under NEC, as it would be private line from the pole to the house.
OK, but that does not change anything, 310.15(B)(6) still applies which are the numbers I posted above.



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OP said he was only going to have the POCO run to property line. So our meter would be on that pole. In my experience most POCO consider the meter the service point.
True, but in most cases the lateral is still under POCO jurisdiction. At least here it is. It is clearly spelled out in our POCO"s guide book.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:37 PM   #7
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What size wire to use running underground


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True, but in most cases the lateral is still under POCO jurisdiction. At least here it is. It is clearly spelled out in our POCO"s guide book.
If we put a meter on that pole, it is now not a service lateral, but underground feeder.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:53 PM   #8
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What size wire to use running underground


I dont recall a disconnect being mentioned.

However it is NOT jurisdiction of the POCO. POCO is meter and up.

I think he will need to have a disconnect as it is too far away and is considered a feeder not a lateral.

Do a calculation on it.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:55 PM   #9
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What size wire to use running underground


Quote:
Originally Posted by LyonsElecSupply View Post
first off lets start with the amperage of the service drop. I would anticipate nothing more than 150 from what you said, but it would be nice to know what the POCO put in.
The POCO hasn't yet installed the service drop, but it would be the typical for a homesite. I will have seperate "commercial" meter for the pole barn/shop and then one for the gate up towards the front of the property. The reason for the seperate meters, is because the POCO give 4500 credit for each meter installed. I know this will bring in more service charges in the long run, but I don't have 24,000 to drop just to get it 1400 feet to my property.

So, I am hoping to save a little money once the meter gets to my property and run the utilities underground from the meter. Because if I don't it adds on another 300 feet from the meter to my homesite, and well I am hoping that going underground on my own will be less expensive then them putting it in for above ground.

Now in regards to these other two meters I am going to have. One will be down at the gate, but the other I want where my homesite meter will be. My question is can you put 2 meters on one pole, or will POCO put the meters on two seperate pole. If on one pole, can I run both wires from each meter in the same conduit. The one meter is going to service my shop/shed which will be near my homesite. I won't be using any welders or anything. Just basic tools that don't run on 220 or 240, whatever it is...
An electrician is going to do this for me, but I want to make sure I am making the most economical choice, but wise choice. Is alum. wire safe to use? I hear all kinds of stories about it. I don't see myself affording copper at this time. Will aluminium get the job done?

Thanks yall.
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:51 AM   #10
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What size wire to use running underground


Quote:
Originally Posted by ms66cadillac View Post
The POCO hasn't yet installed the service drop, but it would be the typical for a homesite.
typical whats that?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ms66cadillac View Post
I will have seperate "commercial" meter for the pole barn/shop and then one for the gate up towards the front of the property. The reason for the seperate meters, is because the POCO give 4500 credit for each meter installed. I know this will bring in more service charges in the long run, but I don't have 24,000 to drop just to get it 1400 feet to my property.
come now have you talked to the POCO? do you think they're that dumb? I bet they won't count meters as much as costumers for credits? Let me know
Quote:
Originally Posted by ms66cadillac View Post
So, I am hoping to save a little money once the meter gets to my property and run the utilities underground from the meter. Because if I don't it adds on another 300 feet from the meter to my homesite, and well I am hoping that going underground on my own will be less expensive then them putting it in for above ground.
If you do the work yourself I would think you could save some money. And I recommend underground wiring vs. overhead. But once you hit that meter its all private install/maintain, and the meter has to be on the upstream side of your underground feeders save less you pay the POCO to install them.
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Originally Posted by ms66cadillac View Post
Now in regards to these other two meters I am going to have. One will be down at the gate, but the other I want where my homesite meter will be. My question is can you put 2 meters on one pole, or will POCO put the meters on two seperate pole.
don't see why not.
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If on one pole, can I run both wires from each meter in the same conduit.
hafta check but I think not. There is a rule that nothing but feeders can be
in a conduit, but can't remember if that excludes other feeders.
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The one meter is going to service my shop/shed which will be near my homesite. I won't be using any welders or anything. Just basic tools that don't run on 220 or 240, whatever it is...
An electrician is going to do this for me, but I want to make sure I am making the most economical choice, but wise choice. Is alum. wire safe to use? I hear all kinds of stories about it. I don't see myself affording copper at this time. Will aluminium get the job done?
Large AL wire is just fine. matter of fact favored do to cost/little loss oof performance at such size. I'm all over the smilies tonight so heres another
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:08 AM   #11
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What size wire to use running underground


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typical whats that?


come now have you talked to the POCO? do you think they're that dumb? I bet they won't count meters as much as costumers for credits? Let me know

The POCO designer is the one who told me that and encouraged to take the extra meters, it was his idea to have on at the gate for "you know christmas lights, opener, etc.".... I was only going to take two, but he said I would save money taking more as long as they are used within a year of install, they will audit it to make sure it was being used. Which isn't a problem.

If you do the work yourself I would think you could save some money. And I recommend underground wiring vs. overhead. But once you hit that meter its all private install/maintain, and the meter has to be on the upstream side of your underground feeders save less you pay the POCO to install them.

When you say "upstream" what does that mean in terms of the meter being upstream from underground feeders?


don't see why not.

hafta check but I think not. There is a rule that nothing but feeders can be
in a conduit, but can't remember if that excludes other feeders.


Large AL wire is just fine. matter of fact favored do to cost/little loss oof performance at such size. I'm all over the smilies tonight so heres another
Love the smiles.... Does the large AL wire that is being run just one strand, or will there be multiple strands? Ground, Hot, Ect? or is it just one big wire? Yes I am clueless and probably asking silly questions... If seperate strands, does the ground have to be the same gauge as the hot wire?

So from all this I get alum. wire is the way to go. Now is it better to go up on the amps for the home just to be safe, instead of not having enough later one. So what would you suggest for a home? Its a small home 28 by 32 with a loft. The outdoor lighting in the back will be run from the shop/shed. Also you said putting a couple meters on one pole is doable? I just don't want the additional cost of another pole just to have a meter on it, since both lines from each meter will be running pretty much in the same direction and length.

Thanks for everyones help. i really appreciate it!
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:16 AM   #12
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What size wire to use running underground


Each meter, if more than one, needs its own cable to the building it will serve. If you need to run two sets of fat cables 300 feet from the pole to the house and workshop respectively, don't forget to decide how many amps you need on each (at least 200 amps for the house) and then figure out the cost of the cables.

I can't see any reason why two or three meters cannot be on one pole but if not, the separate poles can be five feet apart if that will save you money.

If the meters are on separate poles more convenient to the buildings, you still need the 300 or so feet of fat cables but this time a portion of the cable run will be up in the air. THe utility will install and charge you for the portions of the cable runs from the meters to the pole transformer.

The fat wires you install yourself will probably be single conductors given the weight per foot. (The conductor itself inside the insulation is stranded as opposed to being a solid bar perhaps 1/2 square inch in cross section) For transmission and distribution it is not unusual for three insulated conductors to be twisted together.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:48 AM   #13
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What size wire to use running underground


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When you say "upstream" what does that mean in terms of the meter being upstream from underground feeders?
means your meter can't be mounted on the house thats all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ms66cadillac View Post
Does the large AL wire that is being run just one strand, or will there be multiple strands? Ground, Hot, Ect? or is it just one big wire? Yes I am clueless and probably asking silly questions... If seperate strands, does the ground have to be the same gauge as the hot wire?
No/yes

All wire the size you will be using is what we call stranded. A wire is made up of many smaller strands in a outer insulation. You will be using 4 wires underground. Two hots, a neutral, and a ground. The neutral and the ground can be undersized according to rules. However I recommend a full size neutral.
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So from all this I get alum. wire is the way to go. Now is it better to go up on the amps for the home just to be safe, instead of not having enough later one.
With conduit you can always pull out wire and pull in bigger later.
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So what would you suggest for a home? Its a small home 28 by 32 with a loft. The outdoor lighting in the back will be run from the shop/shed.
You must do a service calculation.
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Also you said putting a couple meters on one pole is doable? I just don't want the additional cost of another pole just to have a meter on it, since both lines from each meter will be running pretty much in the same direction and length.
Yes two meter one pole-check with POCO.

I case your wondering how I am doing my formating with quoting, just copy the stuff in the brackets, before and after every snippet, the top bracket before and the bottom one after.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:43 PM   #14
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What size wire to use running underground


Quote:
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I think he will need to have a disconnect as it is too far away and is considered a feeder not a lateral.
I am not sure what the distance has to do with requiring a disconnect. I have never heard of that before.

Without a disconnect it is a lateral.
With a disconcert it is a feeder.

EITHER way 310.15(B)(6) applies.


Saturday, your area has different rules than most of the rest of the country. In most places you can have a meter on a pole or pedestal and NO disconnect is required. The lateral goes from there to the house or other disconnect location.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:01 PM   #15
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What size wire to use running underground


I think if you have your electrician and the power co cost it out , you will be better off if the POCO puts in another pole and gets closer to the house. They can run a small wire because they are running 8000 volts or so and they put the xformer on the closest pole. My son lives in the country in Texas and that is how I have seen it typically done there.

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