What Size Sub-Panel Should I Install for My Garage?
How to Install a Sub Panel for a Garage: Where to Begin when Installing a Sub Panel for a Garage, Planning for a Sub Panel, Identify the Sub Panel Circuits, Sizing a Garage Sub Panel, 120 Volt and 240 Volt Circuits, Planning for Future Circuits.
Installing a Sub Panel for a Garage
Electrical Question: I currently have power ran out to my garage, however it only runs 2 lights and the wiring is old.
- I would like to upgrade and put a breaker box in the garage so I can put in more lights, outlets and run a pool pump, etc.
- I am not sure what size wire I need to run to the breaker box or what size box I need.
- I need everything to be GFI protected.
- I’m competent I can do the outside wiring and will hire a professional electrician to tie into my house service.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Received from Danny a Homeowner in West Frankfort, IL.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question.
How to Install a Sub Panel for a Garage
Where to Begin when Installing a Sub Panel for a Garage
- Planning for a Sub Panel
- As with any electrical project, planning is everything, and it is best to start with the end in mind. By this I mean to make a list of all the electrical devices you will be powering from the garage sub-panel.
- Identify the Sub Panel Circuits
- Plan for any possibility for extra loads as well. This will be essential to select the right amperage size and how many circuit breaker spaces you will need. GFCI breakers take up a full space or two depending on what your powering.
- Sizing a Garage Sub Panel
- When I install a sub-panel in a garage I always start with 60 amps, especially if the owner will be using tools for a workshop setup.
- 120 Volt and 240 Volt Circuits
- Welders, air compressors, a vacuum system, lathe and more – it all adds up. Understanding that most equipment will not be running at the same time. Just don’t size the panel too small.
- Planning for Future Circuits
- If you’re on a budget and you can’t size large now, and if you will be using a conduit to provide the feeders, make sure it is large enough to up-size the wire or pull in parallel feeders if needed in the future.
- Permits and Inspections
- Make sure to get a permit and the required inspections.
- Help from a Qualified Contractor
- For best results and to make sure the job is done right consider hiring a licensed electrical contractor.
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This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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