Adding 220V and extra power to shop


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Howdy all,

I'm in the middle of getting quotes to add more power to my shop, and I'm looking for any advice on what to look out for, tips, or things to consider.

I'm currently in a 20'x20' two car garage (one side of which is currently consumed by the biggest waste of space, my wife's car wink.gif), and sadly I only have 3 110V outlets in the whole space! I'm planning on filling up the shop with larger power tools in the next year or so, and with that comes the need for 220V.

I know a lot of you have some great experience with building shops, or have had work like this done before, or just know what you like and dislike about your power setup. So I'm just looking for any thoughts on the subject. I'm particularly interested in recommended placement of the 220V outlets, and thoughts about outlets on the ceiling vs. the wall, and at what height on the walls.

My list of tools/motors that I could ever foresee being in this space include:

220V

1) Table saw - 13A

2) Dust Collector - ~8-10A

3) Jointer/Planer combo - 12.5A

4) Air compressor 60gal - ~10A

5) Mini-split AC unit - ~15-20A

110V

1) Air filtration unit - 10A

2) Miter saw - 15A

3) Drill press - 9A

4) Variety of hand held power tools

My current idea is to have the 220V outlets for the air compressor and DC near each other in the same front corner of the shop near the miter saw, and the TS outlet either on the left wall or the back wall.

I've attached some pics with some cheesy mock ups (don't get too caught up in the realismtongue.gif) to include proposed locations of the TS and filtration unit. The red dots are the proposed outlet locations. I need to get my filtration unit hung on the ceiling so I have a proposed pic of that location as well. If ever I get the jointer/planer or the AC unit, that will go on the right side of the garage which is out of view, so I plan to have two more 220V outlets put in there.

So I'd love to hear your thoughts, and any advice or precautions you have for the work I'm about to have done.

Thanks!

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Brandon, This is what I can tell you. Put in the biggest highest amp sub panel in your garage that code will allow and you can afford. This may cost more up front but additions / changes down the road will be way less expensive. I think you are on the right track as far as outlet locations. For the price difference in a shop on all of your 110 outlets I would only use 20amp outlets yes the 12/2 cost a little more and isn't as easy to work with but you won’t ever have to wonder when you plug any of your tools in. As far s the 220's like Marc talked out in one of his shop video's place the ones for dedicated items like the DC, AC, Air Comp. but then I would just do some general area ones that you may plug and play with some 220 tools when and if you need them. I just got done wiring my shop and I did just what I described I put some 220's in key locations and then just put a few on a couple of walls. Not sure if this helps.

Mark

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Having had 2 previous shops I've had to add extra power to them. I'm currently working on my new shop which is a new building and will be my dream shop. On the walls I will have 120 every 4' and they will be double outlets. This may seem like overkill but the idea is to not have to plug and unplug cords all the time. Then every 8' I am placing 240 single outlets on the walls. On the ceiling I will have 120 single outlets for lights and for any possible other electrical needs. There will be 2 rows 4' apart and spaced every 4' down the length of the shop. Placing outlets on the ceiling is an excellent idea and provide you with extra power out of the way. I agree with Mark on putting in the biggest sub panel possible to accommodate any extra power needs later on. Your plan sounds good and going with12/2 for the 120 and using 10/2 for the 240 will give you the confidence that the wiring isn't being overloaded and heating up on you. While it sounds like I'm telling you what I'm going to do, our shops are about the same size. I would also plan for power where the car will be parked so when the car is out of the shop you can utilize the extra space without power concerns. Also plan on putting in GFIC to help protect you as well. Not sure if this helps.

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Brandon,

Were I live 10/2 for 220 is against code. I had to use 10/3. A lot of places that is not the case. So, you might want to check that. The two shops I have wired have had 100 Amp sub-panels and that has been plenty for me working alone. I don't know if that will be your case or not, or if you will have a helper or two, but 100 Amp sub was fine for me.

In all likelihood you will have to hard wire most of your 220 tools to meet codes. You should check that.

I did something similar to what Gregn did, putting lots of 110 outlets along the walls. The way I did it was to put one outlet above counter height every 4 feet and then another outlet directly below that at normal hight. (Where I live there is no code for exact outlet heights so I used the old trick of leaning my hammer against the stud, setting the outlet box atop the hammer, holding the box in that place and pounding in the mounting nails. Saves having to measure and each box ends up the exact same height.)

Also you may want to check code for GFI. Mine says I can only put one slave on each master. So, I made the counter height outlet the master and the slave was always right below it.

One more thing, the two shops I did I stuck a couple of outlets outside the shop. This was in cast the weather was ever nice I could do some sanding or other stuff outside. It seemed like a good idea. So far the only thing I've ever used those outlets for however was for shooting primer and paint with an electric (Wagner style) paint gun. (I think Marc has a video on this topic) You may want to consider it if you have the chance.

Good luck. Have fun. I really enjoyed the time I spent working on my shops. I hope you do as well.

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Brandon,

One more thing. Think about where you put your sub-panel. Almost everywhere it is against code to cover a sub-panel. In one shop mine was actually behind a lumber rack. I never got "caught" but it was kind of stupid, because if I ever needed to access that panel quickly I may or maynot have been able to do so depending on how much or what kind of lumber I had on there.

Something else you may want to think about.

Again, good luck. Enjoy the process. Take photos. Get the family involved, but be safe.

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Brandon, This is what I can tell you. Put in the biggest highest amp sub panel in your garage that code will allow and you can afford. This may cost more up front but additions / changes down the road will be way less expensive. I think you are on the right track as far as outlet locations. For the price difference in a shop on all of your 110 outlets I would only use 20amp outlets yes the 12/2 cost a little more and isn't as easy to work with but you won’t ever have to wonder when you plug any of your tools in. As far s the 220's like Marc talked out in one of his shop video's place the ones for dedicated items like the DC, AC, Air Comp. but then I would just do some general area ones that you may plug and play with some 220 tools when and if you need them. I just got done wiring my shop and I did just what I described I put some 220's in key locations and then just put a few on a couple of walls. Not sure if this helps.

Mark

Mark,

If you look close enough in the 3rd picture of the back wall, I actually already have a sub-panel in my garage in between the two cabinets. It is fed off of a 60A breaker from my main panel. The problem is my sub-panel runs almost everything in the house, except for my 2 AC units which are run off the main panel.

I had a guy out Wednesday, and he recommended that for the extra outlets to run directly off of the main panel, and punch through the wall of the right side of the garage. He said running from the sub-panel might cause lighting "droop" in the house when I switch on the larger power tools. And he mentioned it to be a lot more work. My concern of running off the main panel though is exactly what you mentioned about the ease of having a dedicated sub-panel. If I ever need to modify or upgrade I won't have a sub-panel to work from. Should I have another sub-panel installed in the garage for this work?

-Brandon

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On the walls I will have 120 every 4' and they will be double outlets....Then every 8' I am placing 240 single outlets on the walls. On the ceiling I will have 120 single outlets for lights and for any possible other electrical needs. There will be 2 rows 4' apart and spaced every 4' down the length of the shop.

Brilliant idea. I'm planning to add an additional 3 120s on the ceiling to give me 4 total. "Think vertically!" as Marc once said. Thanks for this idea.

Your plan sounds good and going with12/2 for the 120 and using 10/2 for the 240 will give you the confidence that the wiring isn't being overloaded and heating up on you. While it sounds like I'm telling you what I'm going to do, our shops are about the same size. I would also plan for power where the car will be parked so when the car is out of the shop you can utilize the extra space without power concerns. Also plan on putting in GFIC to help protect you as well. Not sure if this helps.

I'll be sure to get 12/2 for the 120 and 10/2 for the 240. And yes this helps!

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The way I did it was to put one outlet above counter height every 4 feet and then another outlet directly below that at normal hight.

Also you may want to check code for GFI. Mine says I can only put one slave on each master. So, I made the counter height outlet the master and the slave was always right below it.

One more thing, the two shops I did I stuck a couple of outlets outside the shop. This was in cast the weather was ever nice I could do some sanding or other stuff outside. It seemed like a good idea. So far the only thing I've ever used those outlets for however was for shooting primer and paint with an electric (Wagner style) paint gun. (I think Marc has a video on this topic) You may want to consider it if you have the chance.

Thanks for the suggestion on counter height. Looks like the 4' rule is a popular solution as well.

The outside of my house only has a single outlet on the back porch, and I have an electric leaf blower, so in order to run it in the front I either have to go through a window or through the garage, both a PITA. So I actually have a 2nd project planned to add some power outdoors as well for leaf blowing, and for any other random uses for outdoor power (like xmas lights). Plus my driveway is sloped so unfortunately I won't get to do any fair weather outdoor woodworking, but at least I can open the garage door and get a nice breeze :-)

-Brandon

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Also, any thoughts about running the lines behind the drywall vs. over the dry wall (with flexible conduit)?

My concern with running behind is obviously the extra time and cost. But my concern with over the drywall is having conduit in the way of shelving, or any other items I plan to get mounted on the walls (like a clamp rack I plan on building soon).

-Brandon

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The only other thing that I would do if I was wiring from scratch is dedicated runs to single outlets and or circuits.

One just for jointer

one just for bandsaw

one just for table saw

and always one separate for lights.

because and some point we have all worked late into night, blown a breaker and then screamed F........................................!

Followed by where I leave that OUCH.

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A couple of points.

220V tools:

Your projecting a lot of tools running on 220v. Unless you're buying industrial stuff I think your amp level is high (maybe you listed the 110v amp level?). Having just moved from my 1/2 of a 2 car garage to a new building - I can tell you that you'll be out of physical space for tools long before you have all those 220v tools! My point here is to not over build for 220v - save some money.

110v outlets:

1.) I ran two separate circuits for my wall outlets. One set circuit below counter height the other above counter height. This allows me to run (2) higher amp tools at the same time on separate circuits. This happens all of the time when using my portable dust collector and then one of many other tools (saw, router, etc.).

2.) Run your lights on a separate circuit. That way they don't dim when turning on tools but more importantly is the lights stay on if I trip a circuit because of tool load!

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Mark,

If you look close enough in the 3rd picture of the back wall, I actually already have a sub-panel in my garage in between the two cabinets. It is fed off of a 60A breaker from my main panel. The problem is my sub-panel runs almost everything in the house, except for my 2 AC units which are run off the main panel.

I had a guy out Wednesday, and he recommended that for the extra outlets to run directly off of the main panel, and punch through the wall of the right side of the garage. He said running from the sub-panel might cause lighting "droop" in the house when I switch on the larger power tools. And he mentioned it to be a lot more work. My concern of running off the main panel though is exactly what you mentioned about the ease of having a dedicated sub-panel. If I ever need to modify or upgrade I won't have a sub-panel to work from. Should I have another sub-panel installed in the garage for this work?

-Brandon

Brandon

First off how many amp is your main panel that may play a role into how many amp sub panel you can put in. If it is an option i would highly recommend a second subpanel for shop related wiring only again getting the biggest you can get. If you cant place a second sub panel I would agree with who you had come out and run from the main box not the sub panel supplying the house this will be limiting however. I was very lucky when I built my new shop i had to move the power line coming to the house so had a number of options. So what I did was placed a 400amp meter socket on the back of the shop from the power pole then did a 200amp disconnect to the house for the 200amp panel in the house and placed a 200amp panel in the shop on the back wall. I took it a step further when I then supplied a 100amp sub panel in the front corner of the shop in the utility room to power all of the things in that area (furnace, ac, water heater, and other outlets in that area) With all that said and none of it really helping you, I would make this one other recommendation when you are done wiring I would label each outlet with a label indicating what panel it is supplied from and what breaker it is on. ( in my case I have every outlet labeled with either "MP#"= main panel and the breaker number or "SP#" = subpanel and the breaker number) This makes working on the electrical very easy.

Mark

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Also, any thoughts about running the lines behind the drywall vs. over the dry wall (with flexible conduit)?

My concern with running behind is obviously the extra time and cost. But my concern with over the drywall is having conduit in the way of shelving, or any other items I plan to get mounted on the walls (like a clamp rack I plan on building soon).

-Brandon

Brandon

Both in wall and over wall wiring has it's advantages and disadvantages. If the insulation and drywall are already on the walls I would say your decision is already made for you because the work involved in removing it and putting it back seems out of the question if you ask me. If the drywall is not on then you have a decisions to make. If you run it in the walls it could be more labor intensive to drill all the holes and pull the romax wire and then you will have to drywall around all the boxes with the advantage being clear clean walls to work with once your done. The alternative being exposed conduit which has it's own list of pro's and con's (first off I would not use flexible conduit, either plastic or emt)if you run exposed conduit and size it appropriately you can use individual conductor wire rather than romax(aka your 12/2, 10/2, 12/3, 10,3) this gives you way more flexibility as well as a way for expansion down the road as long as you plan on leaving yourself room in the conduit. that way if you start with a dedicated 110 outlet now and say down the road you need it to be a 220 outlet all you would need to do is pull one additional conductor through your conduit and change out the breaker. (You will need to check on electrical code in your area for all of these options)

Brandon when dealing with electrical often times there is 10 ways of getting the job done within the restraints of the code that work. All of them do the same thing get power to where you want it to be some will cost more than others but the benefits may outweigh the cost difference it all depends on your preference. Sooner or later you will have to make a decision and live with what you select.

Mark

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