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  • Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

    I have done some simple homeowner type of 110 volt wiring, but I've never worked with 220 before. Here's the situation: I recently bought a portable 220 volt compressor that is rated at 15 amps. I do not have a 220 volt outlet in my garage. Behind the garage wall drywall, on the outside of my house, is my breaker box panel. I was thinking it should be fairly simple to add a 220 volt outlet right underneath the breaker box panel inside the garage. Before I attempt this myself, I thought I would run my plan by the forum users who have much more experience in this type of job. Looking at how our other 220 volt 20 amp outlets are wired, here's my plan:
    * Turn off the main power.
    * CAREFULLY cut a hole in the dry wall about one foot under the breaker box panel for the 220 volt outlet box.
    * Fish some 12/3 wire up inside the breaker box.
    * Mount a double pole 20 amp breaker (two 20 amp breakers in tandem) in the two available adjacent slots under the 30 amp double breakers.
    * Attach the red wire to one of the breakers, the black wire to the other, the bare ground wire to where the other ground wires are attached, and the white wire to the bar with all the other white wires.
    * Back in the garage, mount the outlet box, attach the 12/3 wire to the 220 female outlet, mount the outlet, turn the power back on and test with a multimeter.
    Questions:
    * My other 220 volt outlets have 12/3 wire with the white wire attached inside the breaker box and then capped off inside the outlet. In other words, the white wire dead-ends. Only the red, black and ground wires are hooked up. Is this customary?
    * I know the bare ground wire gets attached to the green screw on the outlet. Does it matter which side the red and black wires are attached?
    * Is there anything I've missed?
    Attached Files
    Last edited by VegasGuy; 05-10-2007, 07:26 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

    You got the gist of it.

    If your breaker box is recessed your going to have an issue attaching a connector to the box.

    If your box isn't recessed it would be much easer to attach a surface mounted 4" square and connected with an offset nipple.

    You should be running 12/2 I'm not sure why they ran 12/3 for your other outlets. 240 is two hots no neutral is needed.

    For residential it shouldn't matter which leg goes where. In your case you will have a white and a black and a ground. So white goes to a breaker black goes to a breaker and then on the outlet a black goes to one side the white goes to another.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

      Originally posted by boytyperanma View Post
      If your breaker box is recessed your going to have an issue attaching a connector to the box.
      Sorry, but I am unsure of what you mean by attaching a connector to the box.

      My breaker box is recessed on the outside of my house. I was planning to run the wire up through the bottom of the box in the same hole as the other wires. I was going to cut a hole in the drywall in the garage about a foot below the bottom of the breaker box and fish the wire up through the hole in the bottom of the breaker box. Once I have the wiring completed inside the breaker box, I was going to mount the outlet box and finish wiring the outlet.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

        Anytime a wire goes into a box there is supposed to be a connector of some type. Usually a clamp style that is is held into the box be a romex nut. This helps prevent wires from being accidentally pulled from a box and keeps rodents from climbing in to fry themselves. No box should have an opening that you can shove wires through.

        I think the hole at the bottom of your box there is a conduit.(or there should be) When you cut the hole for your outlet you will get a better picture. BTW the box you need for the outlet is a old work box. You can get them in plastic or metal. A plastic has little arms that hold it in place a metal box uses 'mad bars' to hold it in. I'd use a 'deep' metal box because it gives you more room to work with.

        With either type pt the face against the wall and trace it with a pencil. That is the outline you need to cut out. cut it to big and your screwed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

          Word of advise always connect to the breaker last. No reason to risk zapping yourself while doing the other wiring.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

            Good advice. Just for anyone else working with your box, put a few wraps of black tape on your white wires (both ends), this identifies the white wire that is normally used for neutral as a hot line (if you go with the 12-2).
            Do me a favour and check the gauge of the wire on those 50A breakers, to me it looks smaller than the wire on the 30A breakers but that could be an optical illusion created by the camera. The 50A breakers should have minimum AWG 8 wire

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            • #7
              Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

              VegasGuy

              Is your breaker box outdoors? Yes, there are such things as rain resistant outdoor load centers (breaker boxes) that mount on outside walls or posts. If this is your case you'll need to use liquid tight Greenfield or galv iron pipe and water tight fittings for the outside work. As for color coding, you would in the above case use black, red and green jacket wires.

              As for color coding for the USA it would go like this. Line 1 = black, Line 2 = red, Neutral and only neutral = white, Ground = green or bare. You can do black and red stripes on L2 if you like. What really matters is to never have a hot white or green wire.

              Do check the wire gauges too as Wayne asks.


              Wayne: You have good eyes and to me here it looks like he does have too light wires on the 2 pole 50 Amp breaker. Actually what's on the 30 Amp breaker looks like #10 and on the 50 #12 to me. Let's hope that's not the case.
              Last edited by Woussko; 05-10-2007, 10:57 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

                I see something else that's bad news. Look at the bottom of the inside of the load center. There are fittings but there aren't any bushings over the threads. A bushing is needed to protect the insulation and there are too many wires going though the big fitting (not sure what it is all about) in the bottom center.

                I don't like howling, but this looks like a case where for safety reasons it would be wise to call in the help of a good electrician to clean things up and get everything to code.

                This may just be the picture, but to me it looks like something bad has happened to or near to the main breaker. A good exam (looking it over) would be wise. It may just be some dirt.
                Last edited by Woussko; 05-11-2007, 07:25 AM.

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                • #9
                  Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

                  Finally figured out what else was bugging me about this panel. It is a pony panel, mickey moused into a main load center. Someone cut the buss bars below where the first breakers go and then back fed a (looks like) 200 Amp breaker to power the buss bars. I hope that the neutral buss is connected to the neutral line somewhere outside the box (strange to me)
                  Where is the ground wire , shouldn't there be a AWG 3 ground wire for a 200A panel?
                  What is with all the 3 wire (too many red wires)? There are what looks like 16 neutral but 23 single breakers that should require a neutral?
                  I don't have a Vegas License but I don't think they would be that far off from our code

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

                    What you have here is a "main lug only" panel which has been boogered up to be a main panel. Sorry sight, but functional. You have MANY dual single space breakers which "technically" should not be in that panel. You also have MANY "shared nuetral" circuits, hence all the red wires and the lack of the same amount of white nuetrals. This is "OK" but a potential for problems (could be big problems) if not treated the right way especially that you have so many single space dual breakers and shared nuetral circuits. The problem is this, with a shared nuetral circuit it is IMPERATIVE I repeat IMPERATIVE that the balck and red wires associated with a common nuetral are on different phases in the panel. If this warning is NOT heeded and both the red wire and black wire are on the same single space dual breaker(or the same phase at all) the nuetral can heat up with 2 times the current and cause a fire EASILY. AS long as this warning is heeded, there is no problem, but one must be careful when you have a panel such as that one and one moves breakers and wires around on breakers within the panel. Adding a 220V plug is easy. If the outlet is a 220V "only" then you only need to use 2 wires and a ground, like 12-2. You don't need a nuetral. Mark the white wire with black tape to induicate the wire is being used as hot. White wires MAY be used to carry current just mark them with black tape. GREEN WIRES NEVER should carry current, only in a fault. Lou

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                    • #11
                      Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

                      I really think that before VG has a fire or other disaster that he best call in a good electrician, bite the cost and get his mess fixed correctly. As others have posted, this is a 1/2 @$$ mess and over time such only causes trouble. In too many cases it's big trouble. The more I look at the pictures, the more I see all manor of troubles in the making. Get things made right and live without fearing what may soon happen.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

                        wbrooks,

                        I have included more pictures. One of them (rotated 180 degrees to make it easier to read) shows the printing on the large wire that connects to the 30 amp breakers. I can see "AWG" and then the number was partially worn away. It looks like it could be a 6. The other shows me holding a ruler up to the wires and maybe you can tell what gauge the wires are from that. The wires you think may be too small do not have any printing that I could find.

                        There are other pictures of how the box looks on our outside wall, the panel labels, the bottom of the box, the model of breaker box, etc.

                        Our house is 7-1/2 years old. We had it built so we are the only occupants. I know this house went through all the proper inspections. We also have a separate 750 sq' building in our back yard. Power comes off this main panel to a sub-panel in the out building. Maybe this information helps in explaining some of the wiring.

                        I understand now what is meant by a connector. It makes sense now that you gentlemen have expalined it so well. It sounds like I should knock out one of the slugs in the bottom of the box, attach a connector and run my wire through it. Is this what would be best?
                        Attached Files

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

                          Originally posted by Woussko View Post
                          I really think that before VG has a fire or other disaster that he best call in a good electrician, bite the cost and get his mess fixed correctly. As others have posted, this is a 1/2 @$$ mess and over time such only causes trouble. In too many cases it's big trouble. The more I look at the pictures, the more I see all manor of troubles in the making. Get things made right and live without fearing what may soon happen.
                          My neighbor works construction in the big high rises that are going up like nuts here in Vegas. Maybe I can get one of his electrician buddies to check things out.

                          What if I find that the subcontractor (who was CalNeva) for the general contractor, American West, one of the larger builders here in Vegas, snuck something past the inspectors? Who is responsible 7-1/2 years after the house has been built?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

                            For the connector what I would do is strip three feet of the end of your romex.(outer coating) attach a romex nut style connector. Take the nut off. punch out the correct size knock out. Snake from the panel to your outlet hole. attach the wire to the snake and pull the connector into place slide the nut down the wire and thread it onto the connector.

                            The hole in the bottom still looks like a conduit to me are you sure there isn't a box of some type in the basement or what-not that those wires go through.

                            I am not a lawyer. I'd say after 7 1/2 years any hope of going after the contractor is a lost cause. Unless the negligence causes catastrophic damage or a death the legal fees will out way any potential benifit

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Adding a 220 volt outlet in garage

                              Originally posted by boytyperanma View Post
                              For the connector what I would do is strip three feet of the end of your romex.(outer coating) attach a romex nut style connector. Take the nut off. punch out the correct size knock out. Snake from the panel to your outlet hole. attach the wire to the snake and pull the connector into place slide the nut down the wire and thread it onto the connector.
                              Sounds like what I exactly need to do. There are several knock outs still available in the bottom of the breaker box. I checked out the connector styles in Lowes today to get a better feel for how the parts will all come together.

                              Originally posted by boytyperanma View Post
                              The hole in the bottom still looks like a conduit to me are you sure there isn't a box of some type in the basement or what-not that those wires go through.
                              It is a rare house that has a basement in Vegas. I don't remember if there is a conduit under the box or not. I could dig up the pics I took during construction of the wiring runs, but I don't see it as pertinent to

                              Originally posted by boytyperanma View Post
                              I am not a lawyer. I'd say after 7 1/2 years any hope of going after the contractor is a lost cause. Unless the negligence causes catastrophic damage or a death the legal fees will out way any potential benifit
                              I want to express my gratitude to wbrooks and everyone else for their concern about the gauge of wire used on the 50 amp circuit. When I was at Lowes, I explained my situation to one the employees (a retired electrician from what I could determine). He offered to cut off a couple of inches of both 10 gauge and 8 gauge wire so I could compare them to what is installed on the 50 amp circuit. When I returned home I could clearly see the wire on the 50 amp breakers is 8 gauge, and not 10 gauge. The 30 amp circuit has 6 gauge (aluminum?, the wires are silver) on it which is why the photos I put up here make it hard to judge the gauge. So, thankfully, no attorneys are going to be required.

                              I

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