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jayhalfpipe 10-29-2008 06:49 AM

Exterior breaker panel for adding a barn
I am adding a barn to my property and have an old home with a slightly rusted and corroded 100 amp breaker panel in a 4.5 foot crawl space that is currently grandfathered and maxed out. When my wife runs the dryer, toaster and another appliance at the same time she risks tripping it.

I'm adding a barn and want automatic overhead door openers, interior and exterior lights, workshop tools and eventually a space heater. My options are:

1. Run a new service from the pole to the barn and pay a higher rate for a second meter. Estimate $1300-1500, with higher monthly costs.

2. Keep the existing panel, run a new trench 150 feet from the house to the barn, and try to swap some existing breakers to get enough juice for the job. Estimate about $1300 for the work, risking breaking a corroded screw in the box and a bigger bill.

3. A junction box in the existing crawl space and moving the box 20 feet to a spot with 6 foot head room for a new 200 amp service, then a trench to the barn.

4. An exterior box for new 200 amp service with a trench to the barn. Electrician's estimate a little less than $5000: $2700 for the upgrade and $1300 for the barn plus $200 for the trench plus the cost of the exterior box, which I can't find anywhere on the internet but am told is expensive.

I have to access the box during snow, freezing rain or electrical storms and wonder if this is really a good solution and whether it might be more prone to quick corrosion. My wife doesn't want to put it directly above its existing location in the entryway. When I sell my house, the existing panel could be a deal killer for someone looking for a home with no potential problems and maintenance. Any ideas of what would be the better investment and most cost-effective solution?



kok328 10-29-2008 06:13 PM

In my opinion Jay, there really isn't a question here.
Option 4, seems to be the only sure fire solution while addressing both short and long term issues.
You'll pay more for the outdoor boxes NEMA Type 3. Move your boxes inside if your referring to outdoor/exterior and you'll save some money.

Square Eye 10-29-2008 06:38 PM

Combination meter base and main service entrance panels are pretty common on farms. They set the meter base and branch from the disconnects in the lower part of the meter base much like a mobile home disconnect. I've installed several and I like the Square D combination meter mains but there are several available. You might have to replace your interior panel for the new service but that's a good thing. Talk to your electrician again and see what you can use. The meter mains are expensive but they are handy in your situation.

hondadrv24 11-01-2008 10:35 AM

On my dad's farm, the power comes into the place to a pole by the barn. The meter and a main disconnect are there as well as a box which allows you to tie in service lines to various buildings via underground wire. In each building he has a breaker box of its own as well as the house. Basically I'm saying the same thing as Square eye. If you want to save yourself some money I would rent a trencher and bury the wire to the barn yourself, as well as run as much of the wire and boxes in the barn as you can.

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