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Main panel in shop, subpanel in house?

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Forum topic by stevet47 posted 10-16-2021 05:50 PM 487 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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stevet47

40 posts in 2542 days


10-16-2021 05:50 PM

My house has a 125A panel in the garage. The meter is ~180’ away on the other-side of the property. I want to build a dedicated woodshop detached from the house. The shop will be about 20’ from the meter. I had an electrician out and for cost savings, instead of updating the house panel to 200A (and trenching for all new service wire), then running almost all the way back to the meter with new wire in order to put a subpanel in the shop, he instead recommended installing a 200A main panel in the shop, then using the existing underground wire (no trenching required, except for digging up the end of the wire where the new shop will be) and running the house panel as a subpanel off the main panel now located in the shop.
Does anyone see any issue with this? It seems a bit unconventional, but sounds smart to me as far as cost savings. As I’ve never dealt with this type of thing before I thought I’d check in to see if anyone sees and glaring issues in this plan that I am missing.
Thanks!


15 replies so far

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Aj2

4129 posts in 3080 days


#1 posted 10-16-2021 06:01 PM

The only thing I can think is. Putting the house down stream of the shop will it cause the house lights to dim every time you start a stubborn machine.
Maybe it will be better then upstream?
My shop is fed from the house panel the dimming of the lights as significant until a 27kv transformer was added to my neighbors pole.
And I also got a fat wire on my line drop.
Good Luck sounds like fun.

-- Aj

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JohnDon

200 posts in 2452 days


#2 posted 10-16-2021 06:25 PM

Sounds like a good plan. If you have 200A going to the main panel (in your shop), that would have to be one stubborn machine (>75A!!) to cause dimming in the house. [Caveat: I’m not an electrician.] Kudos to the electrician for suggesting a less expensive solution.

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Fred Hargis

7292 posts in 3775 days


#3 posted 10-16-2021 06:31 PM

I wouldn’t hesitate to do it, especially if it saved some money.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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MrRon

6205 posts in 4526 days


#4 posted 10-16-2021 07:17 PM

Check with building inspectors just to be sure.

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CWWoodworking

2285 posts in 1461 days


#5 posted 10-16-2021 07:18 PM

We built my shop first and it feeds the house. No issues at all.

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controlfreak

3050 posts in 883 days


#6 posted 10-16-2021 08:05 PM

Sounds like a good plan to me, get digging.

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stevet47

40 posts in 2542 days


#7 posted 10-16-2021 10:34 PM

Thanks for the reassurance everyone. And yes, we will confirm with the city that the plan is good.

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ibewjon

2680 posts in 4075 days


#8 posted 10-17-2021 12:34 AM

Also check with your power company. Some do not allow the meter and main panel to be in or on an accessory building. Another option is a meter with two breakers, one to the shop and the other to the garage. New codes require outdoor disconnects at the meter socket, not inside the building. (Depending on which year NEC your area has adopted.). Even if not required, I think it is a better way to do it, instead of feeding out of the shop to the house. And even if there is an outside main, I would still have a main in the shop panel, for easy access.

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stevet47

40 posts in 2542 days


#9 posted 10-17-2021 12:39 AM



Also check with your power company. Some do not allow the meter and main panel to be in or on an accessory building. Another option is a meter with two breakers, one to the shop and the other to the garage. New codes require outdoor disconnects at the meter socket, not inside the building. (Depending on which year NEC your area has adopted.). Even if not required, I think it is a better way to do it, instead of feeding out of the shop to the house. And even if there is an outside main, I would still have a main in the shop panel, for easy access.

- ibewjon

The power company is coming out to make sure the plan for the main panel in the shop is okay by them, we are just waiting on them to schedule it.
In my area, we cannot run 2 main panels off 1 meter (that was my original plan).

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ibewjon

2680 posts in 4075 days


#10 posted 10-17-2021 12:46 AM

Here, the meter sockets are available and approved with two mains. That sounds like a stupid rule. I would like to hear the reasoning behind it. There is also a 320 amp single phase residential service available here. Also with two mains. And that may change with the new code requirements for outside disconnects on services

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stevet47

40 posts in 2542 days


#11 posted 10-17-2021 01:44 AM



Here, the meter sockets are available and approved with two mains. That sounds like a stupid rule. I would like to hear the reasoning behind it. There is also a 320 amp single phase residential service available here. Also with two mains. And that may change with the new code requirements for outside disconnects on services

- ibewjon

I’m not sure if it is code or just my situation. My service is from 1968 and I max out at 200A. It is underground service through an adjacent property to an underground main service under a main thoroughfare, so upgrading would be unreasonably expensive.

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TopamaxSurvivor

22803 posts in 4958 days


#12 posted 10-18-2021 01:14 AM

I agree with ibewjon. If it goes to the house and back out to the meter area it will not only cost more, a higher chance of voltage drop issues.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

2285 posts in 1461 days


#13 posted 10-18-2021 04:18 AM



Also check with your power company. Some do not allow the meter and main panel to be in or on an accessory building. Another option is a meter with two breakers, one to the shop and the other to the garage. New codes require outdoor disconnects at the meter socket, not inside the building. (Depending on which year NEC your area has adopted.). Even if not required, I think it is a better way to do it, instead of feeding out of the shop to the house. And even if there is an outside main, I would still have a main in the shop panel, for easy access.

- ibewjon

I know nothing about electric. But I think this is what we have. the meter is on the shop. ultimately, I just let my electric people do what they do. I trust them and it works perfect.

On a side note, my shop got hit with direct lightning. fried almost every 110 plug, variable speed on drum sander, chopsaw, and started a fire. Electric went off for 5 seconds in the house, no damage.

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ibewjon

2680 posts in 4075 days


#14 posted 10-18-2021 12:30 PM

Sounds like you need some lightning protection. Lightning rods and surge suppression on your panel

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therealSteveN

9208 posts in 1856 days


#15 posted 10-20-2021 07:46 PM


Sounds like you need some lightning protection. Lightning rods and surge suppression on your panel

- ibewjon

One of the disadvantages to living in the flat states of the Midwest. A house, garage, barn, is often the high spot. No mountain nearby with all those tree tops to take the lightning strikes. It’s like being a chit magnet for lightning strikes. DAMHIKT. :-)

On the question about the electric. I too rely on licensed pros to tell me what they think, but final word always comes from the county, and the electric company. Failure to allow the last 2 to act, often keeps that insurance you pay dearly for on the sidelines when you need it the most.

Something else I learned, while learning about lightning strikes hitting your house, is it’s a very good conversation to have with an insurance agent. Specifically the “language” they use, and exactly what that means to you. Most home insurance will cover you IF your home is struck, and then burns to the ground. Also MOST of them won’t give you a penny if your are struck, or surged, but you have no fire. Very important to get that straight before it happens. Also if they say they cover it, ALWAYS get it in writing you can understand. But the biggest thing is never assume anything about insurance coverage, always know exactly what you are paying for.

Sorry about going off the path, but these 2 go hand in hand when it hits the fan.

-- Think safe, be safe

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