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Planning for a Garage Electrical Sub Panel

Electrical Panel for the Garage – Understanding the available capacity of the main electrical system panel and comparing this to the amount of load you wish to add with the garage sub panel will tell give you an indication about your proposed project, and if you need to consider upgrading the main electrical panel.


Wiring a Garage Panel

Electrical Question: I have a detached garage in the backyard. My main electrical service panel is in the attached garage and is a 100 amp service. I want to install electrical wiring and a sub panel in the detached garage and would like to know how big (amps) I can go. I want enough electrical power for a 220v air compressor, several lights, and a few receptacles.

This electrical question came from: Mike, a Homeowner from Stillwater, Minnesota.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Mike.

Considerations for a Garage Electrical Sub Panel

Application: Adding a Sub Panel to a Garage.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor, Not Recommended for Homeowners.
Tools Required: Electricians tools, pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for installing the sub-panel.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and size of the panel and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing electrical wiring within the immediate area that may interfere with the installation of the sub panel should be identified and turned OFF and Tagged if necessary. Working in an electric panel is dangerous due to arc flash hazards and the possibility of electric shock.
Notice: Installing additional garage electrical wiring and a garage sub-panel should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Detailed specifications  that must be considered when planning your Garage Sub Panel

  1. What is the available load capacity of the main electrical system panel.
  2. How much additional load will be placed on the proposed garage sub-panel

Understanding the available capacity of the main electrical system panel and comparing this to the amount of load you wish to add with the garage sub panel will tell give you an indication about your proposed project, and if you need to consider upgrading the main electrical panel.

  • Typically with a new home that has a 200 amp service panel, it is typical to install a 60 amp 240 volt panel in the garage to serve planned workshop electrical circuits.
  • The garage panel electrical circuit load can be calculated by making a list of all the known electrical devices that will be required, including any future circuits, such as a welder or table saw.
  • This is a matter of beginning with the end in mind so that you have a realistic understanding of the entire project.

More about Electrical Wiring for the Home and a Garage

Electrical Codes for Services
Wiring Electrical Codes

Basic House Wiring Circuits
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House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers

  • Common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits
  • Circuit breakers that are installed
  • Identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes

Electrical Panel Circuit Listing

How to Install Garage Electrical Wiring
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Garage Electrical Wiring

  • Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Garage Electrical Wiring
    • with Code Requirements
    • for most new or remodel projects

 


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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.


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