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2 red 1 white going to garage
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2 red 1 white going to garage

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2 red 1 white going to garage
Residential Wiring - The Right Way!

Wiring Information for the Do It Yourself Homeowner

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Thread: 2 red 1 white going to garage

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default 2 red 1 white going to garage

    Installed new wire underground from house to detached garage. what i want to know is, the old wires coming from house include 2 red and 1 white wires. both red have different volt readings,does that mean they were set up to allow for 240 if so can one of the red wires get it current from the breaker and the other red wire get its current from another source.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    219

    Default

    What are the volt readings? If one is less than 120V it may not be connected and you're reading "phantom voltage". But to answer the question:

    If the wires are all run together, they probably intended to run a 120/240V feeder to the garage. If that was done correctly, you should measure 120V from each red to white, and 240V from red to red.

    There is a code rule limiting a building to one source of power (for most applications, but there are also some exceptions). A 120V circuit is a feed, a 120/240V circuit is a single feed but it must from from a 240V double pole breaker and not two separate 120V breakers unless those breaker are handle tied.

    Using a twin breaker (a single thin breaker with 2 separate untied handles) is also not allowed to share a common neutral or feed a detached building.

    Under current codes, your feed to the detached building must now have a grounding wire. So if you bought a cable it would need black-red-white-bare. If you pulled wires through conduit, you'd need bare or green, white, and typically a red and black but you can use just about anything other than white or gray or green for the hot wires.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default

    1 read 119v the other was going up and down from 125-130. i am not a electrician so bare with me if I don't make to much sense haha. now the breaker that was feeding the old wires was a double breaker (not a thin one) with untied handles.1 side of this breaker feeds the garage the other side feeds lights in house hallway. if i turn off 1 side of breaker that feeds garage both the hot wires go off and when i turn off other side hallway lights go out. you can have 2 separate circuits off the double breaker right ? I just dont understand if there is only 1 wire coming from breaker and going to the group of wires for garage, shouldnt only 1 of those wires be hot. or am i just a moron and totally missing something .

    The new wiring for garage i did to eliminate the over head ugly/hazard wires, and put them underground. And DAMN!! I screwed up. I put a 20a 120/240 double pole (handle tied)breaker in main panel dedicated for garage and a 60amp sub-panel with 2 20a breakers. and was going to put a 240 outlet for air comp underneath sub-panel. 1 breaker is for the refrig the other breaker for lights and a couple outlets. can this work ?. well i can answer my own question NO! because per your specs i am short 1 wire. I pulled 1 black 1 red 1 white and that was a bitch, down wall around a.c unit, then under a 3 step slab, back up and thru a lime stone retainer wall and under a 4' slab back up to bottom of garage wall. just to find out im a wire short which i may have figured out when i went to connect everything and i see the bare wire coming out of romex i ran inside of garage. omg 2 days down the drain. when I do stupid shit like that makes me think i really do deserve to be suffering as a roofer for the past 29yrs lmao.

    but thank you Mark for making me aware of the current codes. If its not going to be done right than why do it aye,so back to squqare 1 I go

    P.S WA beautiful country up there, I have family in grapview and in belfair

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    219

    Default

    The key answer at the garage is if there is 240V between the red. If not, someone just doubled up a red from some source. Perhaps it is a switched line for a light. If you can't trace the wires for their entire length, all you can do is make guesses. If the garage had no panel in the past, not having a ground wire was most likely wrong (unless originally wired in the 50's before grounding was required).

    There are 2 ways to run power to a building -- branch circuit and feeder. Since you put a 20A double pole in the house panel, what would make sense at the garage is a branch circuit. This means no panel required and you'd have two separate 120V 20A circuits to run things with the double pole you chose. This saves the cost of installing a panel in the garage, but you do need a disconnect. This could be a 20A double pole switch, since you ran 2 hots out there. You could also buy an air conditioning disconnect rated at 20A or more. You do have 240V available, but the code would limit how large of an item you could power from it if you've got lights or normal 120V receptacle outlets on it. A 120V compressor would work fine if you dedicated one of those 120V lines to it. Use the other for lighter duty 120V loads and your lights. Most 240V compressors won't work well with this design, so this brings up to the next option.

    Feeders provide power to a distribution panel. While you could have a 20A feeder servicing a panel with multiple 20A breakers, you'd typically run out of power. IF you want 2 light/power circuits and a compressor circuit, I'd go with a 30A double pole at the house and 10-3 wire with ground (will have 4 wires in it). Note that this is a detached building so you can't use regular romex to feed that building. You need either UF cable which you bury 24" down or run on a messenger wire overhead, or you run a conduit out there buried at least 18" deep and pull individual THWN wires of the proper colors (#10 copper). If you have a conduit now, definitely pull individual wires and not a 10-3 romex cable -- way too hard! Depending on the pipe size and your growth plans, you may want to go larger as pulling the wires is the tough part of the job and you really only want to do it once. You'd do 8-8-8 black-red-white with a #10 ground for 40A, and a 6-6-6 black-red-white with a #10 ground for 50A. In the higher power circuits, the ground doesn't grow in size as fast as the hot wires. Note that individual THWN wires must be in a conduit or box at all times -- you can't run these individually in the house walls. Typically, you'd run 10-3 or 8-3 romex with ground from the house panel to a box on the house exterior wall. At the box, transition to conduit to the detached garage and pull individual wires at the box into the conduit.

    If you put a panel in the garage, it must have a ground electrode system. This means 2 ground rods at least 6' apart, and connected with at least a #6 copper wire to the ground bus of the panel. In the panel, the neutral and ground buses must be kept electrically separate. That means not putting the green bonding screw through the neutral bus. But it is critically important that the ground bus connect to the bare or green wire from the house. The neutral bus connects only white wires (1 from house, and 1 for every 120V circuit). Prior to 2008, panels could be fed with hot-hot-neutral and the neutral did double duty as a neutral and ground. That's what the green screw is for and your main electrical service is done that way (only 3 wires come from the pole feeding your house and the ground wires are established at your main house panel disconnect). You could perhaps do the pre-2008 approach, but it is better to run the 4th ground wire and be code compliant.

    Finally, you'll need to leave the hot and neutral on the non-garage side of your existing house circuit alone. You could replace that double breaker with a single 20A unit, but that hallway circuit most likely needs to be left alone. Hopefully nothing in the house runs from the line that appears to go to the garage. This is legal and called a "multiwire branch circuit". But those should be avoided now days with the arc fault breaker rules it will get expensive to be code compliant. Find 2 unused breaker slots for a double pole breaker to your garage.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Yeah I will leave the old house to garage circuit alone, change breaker as you mention and cap wires off. I think option 2 is the way to go seein as i already installed the box inside garage. you made me remember something I had forgotten and that is the ground bus bar. inside the box in garage there is only 1 bus bar which i was assuming is for the white neutral, on that bar there is 2 set screws evenly centered and than 8 smaller ones. if im understanding you correctly, no bare or green wires should be put on that bar. can a second bar be added for the ground ?. there is a little package that came with the box that contains a little metal shim that looks like it would fit 1 of the holes on the n bus bar. Is it at all possible to run the bare/green wire from house panel to garage without having to pull it thru the conduit ? like outside and along the conduit.

    Mark thanks again very much! You made good sense and i feel better about the project.

    1 more question the panel on the house has all the white wires plus green and bare wires going into the same bus bar is this incorrect.
    Also my neighbor who i help out alot cause his 86yr old knees are in bad shape. his house built in the 60s never had the elec grounded into earth and he wants me to help or I should say to do it. in his panel there is only 1 neutral bus bar should i not use for the grounding system ? can i put a fitting in 1 of the knockouts and clamp the wire there and then bond to the rod...
    Last edited by taziskev; 06-07-2015 at 03:33 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    219

    Default

    The main panel from the utility is the only place where neutral and green/bare can share the same bar. So you and your nieghbor have things correct unless there is some breaker upstream of your main panel (e.g. like mobile homes have a disconnect on a nearby pole). The little shim you see in your garage panel is probably to bond it so it would be a combo neutral/ground bar. You could do that if you had a pre-2008 feeder and were just replacing the panel.

    What is the conduit from the house to garage made of? If plastic, you could run the green wire along the conduit. But, if you can dig it up enough to run the wire along, you could just as easily replace it... If metal conduit, they really need to be inside, but metal conduit is allowed to be that 4th wire if it is good shape. Most deteriorate after 30 years in the earth, so best not to use a metal conduit for ground. What size conduit is installed? Even if 1/2" was used, it should be easy to pull four #10 wires though that unless it has 4 bends. With 4 bends, any wire is difficult to pull. But you must pull all wires at the same time. It is impossible to pull a 4th wire through if 3 are already there. You remove what is there (while attaching a pull rope to the other end), then add the 4th wire to the bundle and pull all of them through. There is a wire lube available at the home centers which make pulling much easier. THWN is also easy to pull. RHW is rubber insulated, thicker, and more difficult to pull.

    You'll need to go buy an accessory ground bar for you panel. Most places that sell panels sell the ground bars that go with them. There are probably 1 or 2 holes in the panel already drilled that match the bolt holes. White wires are limited to one per lug in the bar. But grounds can be doubled up if each wire is the same size and same material (e.g. both copper). SO an 8 hole ground bar is plenty and a 5 hole may be enough.

    Putting in ground rods for your neighbor may not do much unless you get a lot of lightning. That's about all the rods are good for. He may have been grounded to a metal water pipe in the old days. He (and you) are actually connected to earth in many places because the utility neutral is grounded at every pole with a transformer and every few poles if none have transformers. Your neutral and your neighbors neutral are the same wire. But earthing his panel can't hurt anything. There are usually small holes (about 5/16 or 3/8 diameter) in the panel near the back center you knock out and just push a bare wire through to run to a ground rod or other electrode. Some inspectors demand clamps, and a romex clamp is usually good enough to anchor the ground wire to the panel where it passes through. Need to be careful with knockouts and bare ground in a main service panel though because you can't turn it off and there are usually exposed bus prongs (pulling the meter will usually turn off the panel, but things can go badly on old meter sockets so best to have the utility do that for you if you don't want to work in a live panel).
    Last edited by suemarkp; 06-07-2015 at 06:21 PM.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

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