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GFCI install costs and quetions


Nurples
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I plan on having 4 GFCI outlets installed in my garage. Currently there are only standard outlets. The standard outlets are spread all around the garage. I planned on putting the GFCI outlets all in one location with the option of adding more down the road. I have a 200amp breaker in the house with a few open breakers. Distance from the Panel to the garage location (going threw the bacement) is about 50 feet.



Q1: Is it possible to run a sub panel (to be put in the garage) off this main panel's 200amp breaker?



If so, one set of heavy duty wires run to a sub panel seems cheaper than 4 individual circuits run to GFCI outlets.



Q2: What are some ball park figures on what it cost to install a sub panel and some extra outlets. (maybe it is cheaper to just install 4 outlets?)



I know figures will differ based on many different things like location, contractor, exc... but I'm just looking for an estimate to get my budget lined up.



Any ideas for this? Trying to keep it cheap. ;) I'm not using LED's this year, so power feed is a must. I'm also prolly only going to use around 30K lights, so I'm sure 4 outlets is overkill. But, it's just an estimate.



(sure... I could just get a free estimate from a contractor, but I'm not home and will not be "home" till October. So, I'm stuck doing everything remotely.)

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My advice would be to install a new sub-panel. I think you will find that 4 new GFCI's won't be enough for 30K lights. You could easily install a 100a - 220v sub-panel in your garage and you could add 10 - 20amp or 14 - 15amp GFCI's, It depends on how many controllers you are using and how many amps you are drawing from each one.

Price, sorry don't have any for you but if I took a guess I would say about $250 - $350 just for materials.

Also I have more information and drawing on my website here: http://www.brownchristmaslightshow.com/electrical.html

Hope this helps,

Jeremy B.

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Q1: yes, you can run a subpanel, or even multiple sub panels ... buy depends on load calcs, etc.

Q2: really depends, but probably in the $500 - $2000 range depending on what you do and how much wiring, time and labor is involved.

I think (4) GFCI is probably a short term plan and not sure its even enough for the 30k lights you have planne.

For example, this year I have around 60-65k lights between two homes and we are using around (12) 20A GFCI breakers ... and maybe a couple of 15A GFCI breakers as well. I had my basement refinished in 2010, and had the electrical guy onsite do a lot of remaining electrical wish list items, and the price was affordable, but because he was already doing a bunch of stuff.

I don't personally like all the breakers in the garage, but know that some people do it that way. I personally like breakers spread all around the outside, making hookups a lot easier. Some people create a panel like you might for an RV ... and then run a big cable from that to a portable (and temporary) subpanel that can be deployed closer to display items, making for less $$ on cords to controllers.

So just think about your situation and how you want to best disperse your power to minimize supply cords required. I typically run one cord to each controller and sometimes two per controller if pushing it in terms of power. Stay at 80% (or less) on the capacities and you should be ok.

Good luck,
Scott

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was wondering how I should do this same thing, and am leaning towards a sub panel in my garage. What sucks is that (at lowes at least) the GFCI circuit breakers are like $35 to 40 each, and considering I will probably need 6 or 8, it gets expensive quickly. Is there any reason I couldn't just use the outlet/gfci like they install in kitchens, which are also 15 amp and sometimes sell for as little as $8 to $10?

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Okay... As an electrician I know just a few thing :P First plan the work out. How to get wire from current panel to the garage. It is really not all that far and you save some bucks by planning it out. Second, check with you local city or county on PERMITS. Here in VA we have what is called a homeowners permit that allows us to do dang near anything we want. Building, plumbing, HVAC, electricial, etc. If you can get one of those types of permit it can save you a bundle as it's not hard to install the wire, sub-panel and plugs. Maybe you will need an electrician to just hook it all up. I do all my own work so it saves a bundle! Just make sure you follow the rules for "The Jurisdiction Having Authority" (per the NEC) and give yourself some "wiggle" room on the sub-panel. Maybe get one that can do something like 10/20 breakers (half size or "tandem" breakers" I just finished a temporary panel that will plug into a 50A receptacle I installed for the parents RV when they visit. 6' Range cord, Square D 6/12 100A weatherproof panel which will get 6 20A circuits (or 12 w/ 20/20 Tandem breakers) but I'm only planning to use 4 next season. I will be installing GFCI receptacles in weatherproof boxes with in-use covers to plug the controllers into. The more you do yourself, the more you can save. Just remember you will need 4 wires from the main panel to the sub-panel and you will need to drive a ground rod (or 2 depending on the jurisdiction). Lucky for me I won't need the ground rod since the 3rd subpanel I have is temporary only. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Tom Straub

571-238-8056

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So obviously one would do one GFCI outlet per circuit, if they choose outlets over breakers, but would assume anything downstream, same circuit, can be standard outlet. Thats the way I understand it, and have my "temp panel" set up...I used an open 240/30Ax2 dryer circuit, and broke that out into two 30A circuits...first outlet on each side is a GFCI, second one, each circuit, is not.

So total of 8 outlets each side...more than enough capacity for what I did this year.

Please let me know if my GFCI assumption is flawed...don't hold back..:)

If I DID do GFCIs all downstream, rather than standard outlets, will that mean that ONLY the specific GFCI with a fault would trip if I did it that way? Is that one possible advantage to having ALL GFCIs downstream from the first?

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Nope, You got it right DO NOT put multiple GFCI on a single circuit. Nothing but headaches will come you way. The nice thing about the 2nd generation of GFCI's is you can't hook them up wrong. If you swapped the line and load on the older ones, the GFCI would work, but the downstream ones would not trip the GFCI.

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