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  • Breaker size

    Ok I'm a carpenter not an electrician don't want to be an electrician, but me and the father in law where talking yesterday about my shop. The shop is on a 15 breaker that also has the office on it. Now I know enough to know they way the shop is tied in isn't right. What they did is tied in off an outlet in the office than dug a ditch an ran the wire to the shop. Now with only a 15 amp breaker running all this I can turn the shop lights on and run the table saw but nothing else. My father in law says I should but in a bigger breaker I think I cant dont I run the risk of a fire if I do this? The house only has 100 amp service coming in and the land loard wont pay for 200 amp even though the electric company has checked and found a problem with the wires coming in but will not change them out unless its to go to 200 amp. So Im kinda stuck.

    Jim
    http://www.jcremodeling.net/

  • #2
    Re: Breaker size

    Originally posted by jtravnick View Post
    Ok I'm a carpenter not an electrician don't want to be an electrician, but me and the father in law where talking yesterday about my shop. The shop is on a 15 breaker that also has the office on it. Now I know enough to know they way the shop is tied in isn't right. What they did is tied in off an outlet in the office than dug a ditch an ran the wire to the shop. Now with only a 15 amp breaker running all this I can turn the shop lights on and run the table saw but nothing else. My father in law says I should but in a bigger breaker I think I cant dont I run the risk of a fire if I do this? The house only has 100 amp service coming in and the land loard wont pay for 200 amp even though the electric company has checked and found a problem with the wires coming in but will not change them out unless its to go to 200 amp. So Im kinda stuck.

    Jim
    Jim you need to put in a bigger wire and a bigger breaker. You're right. If you just upsize the breaker, without upsizing the wire it can overheat and cause a fire.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Breaker size

      Originally posted by jtravnick View Post
      Ok I'm a carpenter not an electrician don't want to be an electrician, but me and the father in law where talking yesterday about my shop. The shop is on a 15 breaker that also has the office on it. Now I know enough to know they way the shop is tied in isn't right. What they did is tied in off an outlet in the office than dug a ditch an ran the wire to the shop. Now with only a 15 amp breaker running all this I can turn the shop lights on and run the table saw but nothing else. My father in law says I should but in a bigger breaker I think I cant dont I run the risk of a fire if I do this? The house only has 100 amp service coming in and the land loard wont pay for 200 amp even though the electric company has checked and found a problem with the wires coming in but will not change them out unless its to go to 200 amp. So Im kinda stuck.

      Jim
      What is the problem with the wiring that has the utility worried? 200A services is the norm now-a-days. You need a separate circuit and breaker to power your shop. Right now the way the shop was added on the that outlet in the house has the potential to overload circuit. Besides, that outdoor circuit should be on a GFCI breaker or have GFCI receptacles. It's too easy to overload this circuit where you could have someone in the shop using 75% of the breakers capacity for the TS and a single light and someone in the office turns on another appliance which trips the breaker. Now the person in the shop is in the dark with a 10" blade spinning at 3600 RPM and if like most people no guard on the TS. No danger with that scenario right?

      If you are renting and the wiring is unsafe then talk to the municipal code official about it. If you have a rent control board or similar body talk to them too.

      If the utility is saying the wiring is unsafe because of your desire to operate the shop I think you are on shaky ground. I don't see how the landlord has to provide for your hobby electrical needs unless its in your lease.

      But, if the utility does not like the condition of the wiring, ie they feel it is unsafe regardless of the shop electrical needs they could probably deny service (based on safety concerns) and push for the electrical inspector to evaluate the condition of the homes wiring.
      ---------------
      Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
      ---------------
      “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
      ---------
      "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
      ---------
      sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Breaker size

        You need to know what wire size is in the wall, if it is only a #14 then a 15 amp breaker is the max size you can have on that size, if it is a #12 you could put a 20 amp on it, but if there is any #14 any where on the circurt, then the 15 amp is max.

        Ideally it would be nice if you could run new line to the shop and put in a sub panel and split up a few circuits, so you would have less voltage drop and be able to have a few more possibilities in the use of tools and when the need calls.
        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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        attributed to Samuel Johnson
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Breaker size

          Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
          What is the problem with the wiring that has the utility worried? 200A services is the norm now-a-days.
          We had the power company out because our power bill for a family of two was always more than the sister in laws witch is a family of five. They put some kind of recorder on at the meter for a week and came back with we where having a drop in power coming into the house at times. Said we need new lines coming into the house but they wont do it unless he goes to 200amp.
          http://www.jcremodeling.net/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Breaker size

            It would be a good idea to bring in a new circuit, and use the old 15 amp circuit for lights. It's always good to have a dedicated light circuit so you're not left in the dark when the other circuits trip.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Breaker size

              Originally posted by jtravnick View Post
              Ok I'm a carpenter not an electrician don't want to be an electrician, but me and the father in law where talking yesterday about my shop. The shop is on a 15 breaker that also has the office on it. Now I know enough to know they way the shop is tied in isn't right. What they did is tied in off an outlet in the office than dug a ditch an ran the wire to the shop. Now with only a 15 amp breaker running all this I can turn the shop lights on and run the table saw but nothing else. My father in law says I should but in a bigger breaker I think I cant dont I run the risk of a fire if I do this? The house only has 100 amp service coming in and the land loard wont pay for 200 amp even though the electric company has checked and found a problem with the wires coming in but will not change them out unless its to go to 200 amp. So Im kinda stuck.

              Jim


              A bigger breaker definitly is not the answer. Regardless of wire size the maximum you are allowed on a duplex receptacle (I assumed that it's a 120v outlet) which is rated for 15 amp only is a 15 amp breaker. Upgrading your service doesnot solve your issue of not having sufficient circuits in your shop; however if your total calculated load is greater than your present 100 amp service that is supplied by your local utility, than an upgrade is require.

              You have said that "even though the electric company has checked and found a problem with the wires coming in but will not change them out unless its to go to 200 amp" seem strange because if there is a cable issue on the utility's side they will replace the cables, but if there is a problem on your side it's your responsibility to replace them. If it's a hazard they will disconnect your power until you have it repaired or rectify.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Breaker size

                Where is the meter? Most times at the entrance to the house but in rural areas could be on a pole out at the road as many are around here. Utility is only responsible up to the meter IIRC.
                ---------------
                Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                ---------------
                “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                ---------
                "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                ---------
                sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Breaker size

                  If you're just renting, then I'd have to caution you against doing anything. Even if you had the knowledge to do it correctly, you can't pull a permit because the property isn't yours. Now, I'm not trying to get all legal-like on you, but homeowners can often get get away with it because in most localities you are allowed to do electrical work on your own property. Even if your landlord agreed to let you do it, I'd think twice about the legal ramifications of that arrangement.

                  The correct fix is to run a new branch circuit from the main panel to the shop. I don't really know if your current setup is legal, but it is certainly a risky practice. Running a new branch circuit to the shop has nothing to do with the overall capacity of the main panel be it 60, 100, or 200 amp. As long as you have the correct wire and the appropriate breaker to protect it, you are safe.

                  Here's a tip. If you do decide to trench a new feed to the shop, consider running 3 conductor (plus ground) for 240 and setup a subpanel. It will add a slight initial cost for the wire, but at least you only have to dig that trench once.

                  If there really is some issue with the main panel, see if the landlord might split some costs of adding a "legal" circuit to that shed while he upgrades the main panel. He may not be inclined to at first, but as other have stated, he may be influenced by an inspector or even his property insurance company. If they think it's a problem, they might yank his policy until he gets it addressed.

                  Jim

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Breaker size

                    AS of right now I will be leaving well enough alone. This landlord is more of a slum lord and we are currently looking to move. Plus now that winter has hit this area digging will be kinda hard.

                    Thanks for all the feedback though

                    Jim
                    http://www.jcremodeling.net/

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