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  • Lost Power

    We live on a retired Dairy Farm here in Ontario, Canada. Our main service comes O/H from the road to a pole by our garage where the meterbase is mounted with a dp100 breaker mounted in that housing. From this pole it splits to feed a u/g feeder to the farmhouse and an o/h service to the shop and barn
    I am in the quoting process with my contractor to upgrade to 200a at the pole so he can dedicate 100A to the house and 100A to the barn. Last sunday evening we had hydro respond to our location. We discovered as I had suspected that one leg (120V) had burnt out at the meterbase as half of our house had hydro and half didn't. I checked the one leg to ground 120v and the other leg 0v.

    Q1 We added a hottub last summer with a draw of 45A and we have an electric dryer all the rest of the major loads are gas.(DHW,Gas boiler for heat, gas range.) Am I pushing too much draw through the 100a service?

    Q2 At the pole is there such an option as to split the service for 100a to feed the house and 100a to feed the barn/shop also interested in adding Backup Generator with auto transfer when the power goes out ( we have cold winters here and dont want the hottub to freeze). Average two storey five bedroom farm house prob 1800 square feet

    All replies appreciated Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Lost Power

    I may be old thinking, and not understand some thing here,

    first of all most likely the burnt wire was do to a lose connection,

    I see on this forum and others people upping from 100 amp to two hundred amp and at times talking larger yet,

    normally I think the desired results are not to pull more than 80% of the breakers rating,

    but if your not tripping the pole breaker, I guess I do not see the need,

    are you experiencing major dimming of lights when the hot tub heaters kick in? In other words is your current wiring under sized,

    and besides having two breakers at the pole for shut offs what difference does it make to have two rather than one if your not tripping the breaker do to the shop being used or not,

    an up grade most likely will not hurt any thing but I am not sure it will help any thing either, IMO

    for example (I do have a disconnect under the meter but not breakers, (on my farm I have "cheap three phase" 240 volt open delta three phase). for some reason the power provider does not require or put a breaker at the meter on three phase, (in most instances no disconnect either), the disconnect is mine, but that runs to a 200 amp transfer switch, and from that there is a distribution pole and I have a 100 amp service in the house, a 60 amp in the garage, and a 200 amp unit in the barn /shop, and the three phase runs to the shop and the generator shed, (and back to the transfer switch),
    OK here is the kicker, the three phase is good for about 30 amps, (is my understanding, on the wild leg) and the single phase is good for about 70 to 100 amps out of the transformers, and the power company is happy, with that, and so far we have never tripped a breaker,

    now before the three phase, I did have much the same set up, just a roto converter running off of single phase for the three phase power, but the breaker at the pole was only 70 amp, we never tripped that,

    we have two refrigerators three chest freezers, a walk in cooler and walk in freezer, electric clothes dryer, two washing machines, 300 amp electric arc welder the book says a 60 amp breaker, 5 hp air compressor, deep well 300 foot, a jet pump in the water system, assorted power tools, house Air conditioner, small window type ac in the barn break room, 3 blowers on the grain bins, electric grain augers with 5 hp single phase motor, and I am sure were missing something, but I have never had dimming or power problems with basically less than 100 amps of supply, (and my meter has a kw usage demand reader, even tho they do not charge a demand fee, and if I remember correctly it is setting at about 12 kw, most of the time and is up some since I used the grain bin blower fans and AC.

    I know if some one came in here and did a building to building assessment of the power needs by modern methods, I most likely would be looking at a 400 amp entrance, but rarely pull more than 50 amps max out,

    if you have a clamp type amp meter, one can get an idea what your really using, at a given time, how many amps per leg your using, and see how close your are to maxing out,

    If you have a "smart meter" the power company may be able to tell you your peak usage as well, and when it is,
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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    • #3
      Re: Lost Power

      Thanks I will try my clampmeter and get proper draw readings with the hottub and dryer running and see where I am at. D

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Lost Power

        I agree with BHD....if you have a clamp type amp meter, one can get an idea what your really using, at a given time, how many amps per leg your using, and see how close your are to maxing out.

        Always deal in the absolute world. Good job BHD.

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        • #5
          Re: Lost Power

          Thanks guys this is a great place to start. Money is tight so if I dont have to upgrade now that would be sweet! Cheers David

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Lost Power

            Why not have a professional analyze this? Ask an Electrical Contractor what your options are, and tell him what your budget is. This EC will answer all your questions and make prudent recommendations. You can always say no to having the work done.

            The first thing that should be done is a load calculation to determine what panels/circuits you need after everything is looked at as a whole. Too often I hear people ask for a service upgrade when it is not really necessary. You should not make this decision based on the opinions of people (though well intentioned) who do not have all the facts.

            You may find out that that a few minor circuit changes will rectify your situation and he will probably find others that you are not even aware of.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Lost Power

              Food for thought. thank you. Whats your opinion on why the connection was burnt?
              Had the inspector Friday checking my EC's repair on the burnt leg connection and his comment was basically when the Hot Tub was installed I replaced the load of what an electric range would draw with that of my hottub which is a good point. I ampprobed my Hottub on Friday with all systems on and it drew 41A each leg. Now to check the dryer and see what I come up with as to how close I am.

              Thanks again for input David

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Lost Power

                Yeah hot tubs can draw a lot of juice. We had one that was draining us for $75/month in the winterm when we first moved into this house 15 years ago. After the novelty wore off (took about 2 years), it saw scarce use. I got tired of throwing chemicals and electrons at it with no enjoyment by anyone more than once or twice a month so I pulled the plug. I let it sit for 2 years and no one even missed it, so I took it out altogether. It was a 750 gallon monster that ate up a lot of deck space, I don't miss it. Tried to give it away and no takers, so I cut it up and took it to the dump. Sold the pumps and control box on CL.
                "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

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                • #9
                  Re: Lost Power

                  Originally posted by Sparky1969 View Post
                  Food for thought. thank you. Whats your opinion on why the connection was burnt?
                  Had the inspector Friday checking my EC's repair on the burnt leg connection and his comment was basically when the Hot Tub was installed I replaced the load of what an electric range would draw with that of my hottub which is a good point. I ampprobed my Hottub on Friday with all systems on and it drew 41A each leg. Now to check the dryer and see what I come up with as to how close I am.

                  Thanks again for input David
                  Could be a loose connection, could be overloaded, or improperly balanced panel, improperly sized breakers or equipment, undersized conductors (was voltage drop taken under consideration when sizing the wire for the hot tub?) could be a lot of other things too.

                  One thing you might want to check is the voltage at the service panel with all loads running.
                  You shouldn't see your 240v line dip more than about 220v with all loads present.

                  Comment

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