Another new shop - third time's the charm? #2: Electrical and Insulation

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Blog entry by DrPuk2U posted 10-16-2019 06:56 PM 484 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Getting Started - Demo and Framing Part 2 of Another new shop - third time's the charm? series Part 3: Sheathing and Painting the Walls »

This is the second in a series of posts. I intended to post as I went but the work was HARD and it was often all I could do to get the work on the shop done. Documenting? Sure, later… So now the shop is largely done (haha) and I’ll try to document how I got here

Once the shop was fully framed, the next step was electrical. This comprised (or will comprise) lights and 110v and 220v electrical outlets. The shop has its own service – separate from the house. The shop’s service is 150 amps, which should be more than enough, even though it also provides power for the “barn” (i.e. the other pole barn) and the well, but at least so far the barn only has some lights and a couple of 110v outlets (mainly used for charging the tractors).

The other interesting part of the shop setup is that our property is served by a 200-foot well. The pump is of course submerged WAY down there, but when needed, it pumps the water into a holding tank to provide pressure (at around 60 psi). You’ll see the tank in the photos (the big blue lozenge).

There is also a power line connected to the pump that allows one to hook up a 220v generator to it so that water can be pumped even during power outages. We do not currently have such a generator, but I will probably get one with wheels that I can roll into the shop when and if needed.

The previous owners had wired the shop and the adjacent garage as well as running a 220v circuit out to the other pole-barn. That was the good part. The bad part was that the wiring was so bad it was clear no inspector had ever laid eyes on it. Wires running everywhere, some simply terminating at a wall, cut off and left exposed! Yikes. So the first step was to “demo” (disconnect and remove) all the old circuits and outlets (except for the one 220v circuit to the barn).

That done, we ran Romex all around the shop (14/3 for the 110v circuits and 12/3 for the bigger 220v circuits). As usual, the “we” is somewhat misleading. Nat is a highly qualified, licensed electrician – I acted as his thumb-fingered assistant. But together we set it up with 110v, 220v circuits for the outlets and a circuit for the lights. For the moment the old-style fluorescents are still in place (two 8-foot double fixtures) but will be replaced by LEDs. Also for the moment, there are circuits run into the adjacent garage for the dust collection, compressor, lights and power, but none are hooked up save for a single, temporary 110v outlet (since all other power to the garage has been demoed).

The power distribution is as follows:

Details of the layout are here:

Once the Romex and outlets were all installed, I covered all the windows, outlet boxes, breaker panel, etc. and called in the insulation guys.

The insulation was 1.5” of closed-cell spray foam on all the side walls (but not the ceiling). This COMPLETELY sealed the walls and any cracks etc. in the shell of the shop. Then the walls were covered with R25 fiberglass batts. Finally, the ceiling was also covered with R25 batts then closed up with white AFP plastic.

The breaker panel looked like this before and after the foam was sprayed:

Note that the spray-foam doesn’t cover all the wires since we wanted to be able to modify it if need be (e.g. adding a circuit, etc.).

The final result of the electrical and insulation looks like this:

A final note. I have cable (not fiber) with Wi-Fi at the house but the house is more than 60 feet from the shop and the Wi-Fi router is on the far side of the house. The result was that the Wi-Fi wasn’t strong enough to reach the shop. Since I wanted a good signal in the shop (for design, music, email, etc.) I ended purchasing a Wi-Fi extender by Rockspace. It simply plugs into an outlet and detects your router’s signal and mimics it. Works easily. I tried putting the extender in the kitchen (the nearest inside room to the shop) but I still couldn’t get a strong enough signal. So I ended up putting the unit on our back deck (which is covered) and that works great! Note though that is relatively slow (10 mbs up, 2 mbs down). That’s OK, it’s fast enough.

And that’s it for electrical and insulation! Next is sheathing and painting the walls.

-- Ric, Western Oregon, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"

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