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Thread: adding 220

  1. #1
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    adding 220

    Hi Guys,

    I am toying with the idea of adding 220 v to my garage, primarily because I want to get a bigger lathe. I know I would have to hire an electrician to do this but wanted to get a sense of what I want and what cost might be before calling one.

    My breakers are in my basement near the corner which would be closest to the garage but not under it. Wire run would be somewhere near 30 feet min to the closest spot the lathe could go. I am not confident I even have room for another circuit in the box. Also the garage is finished and insulated so it might make running the wore more complicated.

    The main line does come in not too terribly far from the garage, would it be better to run an outside line and then have it come into the garage and add another box there? From there could do conduit over the drywall to where ever I want to put the lathe?

    Any thoughts on cost, could this be kept under $500?

  2. #2
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    Sep 2013
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    If you hire an electrician it will cost you more than that. You'll have to ask your building department whether you can pull the permit or if it has to be done by an electrician. Cost of materials will be much less. You can lower the cost for an electrician by opening up the walls where the wires will need to run before s/he shows up. Doing such work myself I find the work and time is close to even between running conduit on the surface and cutting into the drywall and running wires inside the wall then patching, but I'm terrible at bending conduit right the first time.

    If you don't have empty breaker slots you'll need to add a subpanel next to your existing panel and move a couple circuits over to it, in addition to the new circuit you are installing. Not a big deal. If I were doing it I'd pull bigger wires from the main panel to add a ~60A subpanel in the garage to make future additions easier.

    To be pedantic, it is 240V not 220 in the US.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2003
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    Griswold Connecticut
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    Most likely, if hired out, and even if you do it yourself, there will be sub panels involved.
    I would have a sub panel in the garage, and transfer all the current garage loads to it.
    Depending on your main panel and breaker space availability you may end up either going to a bigger panel, or subbing the more important loads off that panel to create the space for the garage sub panel.
    You really do want a sub panel in the garage. In the extremely unlikely event you ever need to shut power off to a machine, it is right there! The other reason is that any subsequent modifications cane accomplished much easier.

    Under $500.00? No, probably not even if you do the work yourself.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  4. #4
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    First thing to do is look in your circuit breaker box and ascertain how full it is physically. That's not the ultimate test because there's still a need for a load calculation, but it's a start. At that point, I suggest you engage an electrician to help spec out the work required so you can determine if a sub-panel will be required as well as what physical work you could do prior, such as running the properly specified cable between the breaker location and your shop to a suitable J-box. The electrician can also confirm if a permit is required in your area, although you'll want to call the jurisdiction directly on that yourself, too. From there, quite frankly, I'd personally do surface mount with conduit so you don't have to rip into the wall, given they are insulated and covered. You doing the grunt work and having the electrician can save some money while insuring the work is done correctly if you don't have experience with doing electrical work.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    Sep 2014
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    If you can do the bulk of the work yourself, you'll end up saving a ton of money. I ran all the wires in my shop myself and had an electrician come out to wire everything up to the panel box. It took him less than an hour to do the work so it was cheap, it took me 2 days to run all the wires where I wanted but my time was free. I ended up running (4) 220V outlets and (+- 36) 110V outlets in my shop for under $700, that included material and the fee from the electrician. I also paid $50 for an electrical permit and the inspection was free.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2017
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    Landenberg, Pa
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    I agree with Jim - I just went through this myself. I had a professional pull wire from my main panel to the garage and install a subpanel, and I installed conduit, added the circuits and pulled wire myself for three 220/240V circuits and three 110/120V circuits. Provided you have the capacity in your main panel, the subpanel is the way to roll - you'll have maximum flexibility and maximum safety. Having the professional do the subpanel installation was not astronomically more expensive than buying all the materials myself, and I have peace of mind knowing it is done correctly and safely. Spend the money now and do it right, you won't regret it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    I recently did this as well. Cost for an empty (no breakers) 100 amp subpanel in my garage, approximately 40 feet from the main panel, was $1200 including permit and all materials. I installed the breakers and wired all of the outlets using conduit, which is dirt cheap unless you "cheat" and use conduit bodies and box offsets to avoid doing some of the bends. Even then, it isn't bad. Having a subpanel in the shop is great because you can run new circuits as needed, plus turn everything off if necessary. I put a lock on my subpanel to keep teenagers, dog-sitters, etc. from turning anything on when I'm not home.

    The electrician wanted a couple hundred to install each outlet, so definitely not worth it for me. Doing it myself came to probably $10-$15 per outlet.


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W Evans View Post
    ... Cost for an empty (no breakers) 100 amp subpanel in my garage, approximately 40 feet from the main panel, was $1200...
    The electrician wanted a couple hundred to install each outlet,...
    Zounds! The last time I hired an electrician was about 35 years ago and I had to fix several things he messed up. I've been doing my own wiring ever since - it's hard to believe today's costs if $200 per outlet is the norm these days. Or is your electrician saving for a beach house?

    At those prices I simply can't imagine what it would have cost to pay someone to wire my new shop. If I hadn't done it all myself it now appears I would have gone broke before flipping on the first light.

    I think I installed over 50 outlets plus maybe 30 light fixtures inside and out and I'm guessing 25 switches, most of them 3-way. I dug a 250' ditch from the house and ran big copper in conduit to power a 100 amp breaker box in the shop, then a sub panel from there for some 5hp motors and another feed and subpanel for lights in the barn. Zounds - and there I was whining over the cost of the materials!

    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 08-23-2017 at 8:18 AM.

  9. #9
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    John, those costs are not unrealistic these days and sometimes it's even hard to get someone to come out and quote a small job like this, too!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    Mar 2017
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    Forest Lake MN
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    Looks like I may be out of luck on 220, if this is what electric costs I cant afford the lathe anyway.

    I had a quick phone conversation with an electrician this week and he though that if I had a single outlet circuit he could convert it to 240 without all the other fuss and for about $150. I do have a single circuit 20 amp circuit which is actually where the lathe is now.

    Now I have another challenge though, I assume I cant run any other tool off that outlet once it is converted to 240 right? This would render my current lathe inoperable until I get the new one in, and I also do regularly run my grinder on that outlet and occasionally other tools.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon SPEAKS View Post
    Looks like I may be out of luck on 220, if this is what electric costs I cant afford the lathe anyway.

    I had a quick phone conversation with an electrician this week and he though that if I had a single outlet circuit he could convert it to 240 without all the other fuss and for about $150. I do have a single circuit 20 amp circuit which is actually where the lathe is now.

    Now I have another challenge though, I assume I cant run any other tool off that outlet once it is converted to 240 right? This would render my current lathe inoperable until I get the new one in, and I also do regularly run my grinder on that outlet and occasionally other tools.
    You have a 120v circuit with one (1) outlet on it right where you want a 240v outlet for your lathe? Talk about lucky breaks!
    It is simply a matter of changing out the breaker and the outlet. You are still restricted to whatever the current rating was.
    No, you can't then use it for 120v.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Zounds! The last time I hired an electrician was about 35 years ago and I had to fix several things he messed up. I've been doing my own wiring ever since - it's hard to believe today's costs if $200 per outlet is the norm these days. Or is your electrician saving for a beach house?

    At those prices I simply can't imagine what it would have cost to pay someone to wire my new shop. If I hadn't done it all myself it now appears I would have gone broke before flipping on the first light.

    I think I installed over 50 outlets plus maybe 30 light fixtures inside and out and I'm guessing 25 switches, most of them 3-way. I dug a 250' ditch from the house and ran big copper in conduit to power a 100 amp breaker box in the shop, then a sub panel from there for some 5hp motors and another feed and subpanel for lights in the barn. Zounds - and there I was whining over the cost of the materials!

    JKJ
    To be clear, the $200 figure was for a 30 amp 220v outlet with dedicated breaker, conduit, and locking outlet (twist-lock). The materials alone were around $75, retail. I'm sure a regular 110 outlet on a shared circuit would have been considerably less, although I didn't ask since I planned to do those myself.

    I'd be curious to see how much of a price difference there is between different parts of the country.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    John, those costs are not unrealistic these days and sometimes it's even hard to get someone to come out and quote a small job like this, too!
    I did have three electricians turn me down and a few more not return my calls. Consequently I didn't haggle on the price.


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