Circuit breaker panel discussion (not to hijack someone else's thread)

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
5,966
THIS thread was discussing how to identify which circuit breaker is associated with which outlets and other stuff. I made a comment that kind of took that thread off topic, and somewhat hijacked. I don't want to hijack anyone's thread so since the conversation seems to want to continue in an "off topic" direction I'm opening this thread for anyone who wants to discuss this further. Personally, I don't have a problem that needs resolving. However, I'm always open to hearing what others have to say about the matter.

So here's the outlay:
I've signed the contract with a contractor to put a second story on my garage. At present (work hasn't begun yet) the garage is powered by two breakers. One 20A 120V circuit and one 30A 240V circuit. When I run too much equipment on the 20A circuit, i.e. saw and vac, I sometimes blow the breaker. So I've been running the vac on half of the 240V circuit. I know I'm going to hear it for that. But all that is going away.

The addition is above the garage and I'm purchasing a table saw for 240VAC and the rest of the equipment will be 120VAC. Drill press, band saw, chop saw, planer - etc. etc. Currently the power coming from the pole goes directly over my back yard. I've always hated that intensely. Internet and phone line also crosses over the middle of the yard. What I want is to run power to the back side of the garage. But putting a disconnect on the back side will be difficult for the fire department to find in an emergency; so I want the meter and disconnect on the front of the garage. The power can come in through a conduit from the back of the garage to the front then down to the meter and disconnect where it can be immediately seen and shut off in an emergency. The electrician said he wants to break up my new driveway and run power lines from the garage to the house. I'd rather not. So I've asked him to put another overhead line from the front of the garage to the back of the house. He didn't seem to balk at that idea, but I have yet to finalize the plans with him. I just don't want to break up new concrete (5 years old). But if I must I will. I'm also planning on an additional grounding rod. I've been having trouble with the GFCI on the jetted tub. It doesn't always break when I push the test button. I've replaced the GFCI's but get the same results. So an additional ground rod should improve matters. But I'm not the expert on this subject. So discussion is welcome.

This is what I'm thinking

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SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,400
Not knowing your local electrical code but knowing that the power company is responsible for wiring from the transformer to the meter base. I would contact the power company about their ideas on where and how to place the new meter base. They may not want or be allowed by code to route the feeder in conduit through a building to where you want the new meter base to mount.
 

Lo_volt

Joined Apr 3, 2014
189
Not knowing your local electrical code but knowing that the power company is responsible for wiring from the transformer to the meter base. I would contact the power company about their ideas on where and how to place the new meter base. They may not want or be allowed by code to route the feeder in conduit through a building to where you want the new meter base to mount.
Tonyr1084, I'll agree with SamR, do talk to your power company. They'll have their own rules as to where and how they'll want to run their lines.

I recently moved my meter from the corner of my house to a garage that I'd just finished. It allowed me to boost the service capacity to 200A and to bury the incoming wire underground. I worked with a licensed electrician to have the work done and he, of course, had to work with the power company. They asked him to bury conduit and place the meter socket on my garage. He prepped as well by burying conduit around the garage to my house. Once the electrician was ready, the power company came and worked with him. They pulled wire through the conduit, disconnected the old supply and connected the new meter. While they were doing that, he connected the wire from my garage breaker panel to a disconnect breaker outside of my house. The breaker was mounted where the old meter socket was.

The power company insisted on using the pole closest to my house and wouldn't even discuss changing it. That disappointed me because it still went through tree branches before it went undeground. Oh well, at least it's now the power company's responsibility.

Another interesting tidbit, the original wire gauge to the meter was 2 AWG aluminum. What they added to the new meter was 2/0 aluminum but at the pole where they spliced it in to their original lines, it was back to 2 AWG. Especially weird because they now say I have 200 amp service. I guess their rules allow them to use #2 for 200 amp service!?
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,400
I guess their rules allow them to use #2 for 200 amp service!?
One thing I learned doing industrial electric power design is the GA Power does NOT have to abide by the NEC. Go figure? They do things their own way and have legal agreements with the state to do so. Power companies do pretty much what they want to without any repercussions from the state.
 

metermannd

Joined Oct 25, 2020
189
A slight digression, but corroboration of Sam's statement that the power company will do things the way they want, full stop.

The power company in my area decided to build a 34.5kV distribution trunk line through my neighborhood, and as it overlaid one leg of the existing 13.8kV system, two step-downs were installed, a 3-phase bank for two businesses a few blocks from my place, and a singlephase can for the branch line serving my block and 3 others. The rest of the neighborhood is on a 13.8kV circuit out of a substation a mile away, while the 34.5kV circuit comes from a sub 3 miles away or one 5 miles away. Care to guess which circuit endures at least one outage a year, and which circuit has had ONE outage in TEN years? The kicker is that some realignment on the 13.8kV system resulted in a branch line being installed that is less than a block away from the 'isolated' strand of 7970V distribution. A question to the PUC about reliability and the chance of swapping over the branch line was met with a shrug.
End rant / digression.
 

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
5,966
bury the incoming wire underground.
Rocky Mountain Power does not allow buried lines in my neighborhood. In "New" housing tracts they do. The source line is single phase 7KV. I know this because when the leader line from the transformer to the three lines that run to several houses burned out. Discussing it with the line worker he remarked that it was surprising that so many houses were off a single "Tub" (as they call the transformer can). I don't have a problem with having an exterior conduit running from the back of the garage to the front, running it just under the eaves. I CAN run a line underground from the meter to the house, but that would mean cutting up the driveway; something I really want to resist doing.

In the house there's a 120V 20A line going to the garage and there's a second line 240V 30A line. With the changes I'll take those lines out. There will be a panel in the garage for both the garage and the new shop. More power.
Did this contractor trick you into making a down payment?
I know the contractor and his work. He's done work in the neighborhood and has done work for my daughter. He does good work and has a good reputation. Yes, I gave him a down of $25K. The total addition will cost $70K. Then I get to buy new power equipment and retire my contractors table saw. I may even give it to my son-in-law. But the contractor is trusted and proven trustworthy.
 

Lo_volt

Joined Apr 3, 2014
189
Rocky Mountain Power does not allow buried lines in my neighborhood.
Interesting. Would they do it if you offered to bury conduit for them? Delmarva Power here in MD specified the conduit size and depth. They did allow me to have my electrician bury the conduit which saved me $$ because he's cheaper than union linesmen.
 

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
5,966
Between the garage and the house is all concrete. There is no way to dig under, or to tunnel, or anything but cut the concrete out and then patch the work. Not interested in doing more concrete work when overhead is fine.
 
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