Running Long Wires
I need to get power out to my goats for anti-freeze watering, as well as my barn for horse trough water, and a few lights. Here's some info
146 ft away from nearest connection point
Loads: 2 60watt thermostat-controlled water heaters
2 100-watt flood-type lights
76ft away from nearest connection point
Loads: 1 1000watt trough heater (non-thermostat)
2-4 60watt lights
1 100-watt flood-type light
Each area I intend to run on different lines, each to GFCI outlets on my shop walls, each of which is attached to 20amp GFCI breakers.
I was told by my father (Master Electrician), that I could do 10-12 gauge, 1 ft deep, unprotected (I have very nice soil) to each. He recommended UF but didn't say it was absolutely necessary.
My question: Looking at "extension cords", a "heavy duty" 14 gauge is rated at 1700+ continous watts.... more than I need at either location. Pricing them compared to UF cable, I save almost triple the cost. Is it a ridiculous idea to use the extension cord as my cable (chop the ends), bury it, etc?
Never permanently attach a #14 wire on a 20 amp circuit. Extension cords are rated at the length they are made, with quick disconnect cord ends, and rated for free air, not direct burial. I have never seen a 14ga extension cord over 100 ft long. The cords may actually work for a while, but soon, the lights will dim and the heaters will stop working. The splices will fail and if you have a short at any time during full load, they will most likely fail completely. UF cable is rated for direct burial and can take much more abuse in this situation especially if you don't have any splices in the feeder run.
My personal recommendation, #10-2w/g UF for the 146 ft run, #10 or 12-2w/g UF for the shorter 76ft run. And you'd better protect it anywhere where your critters could possibly dig it up or chew on it. Insurance companies love to send a fire inspector out to assess damage and find probable cause of fires. It gives them a way to lay the blame and refuse to cover the insured, or a way to sue someone else! Don't give them an excuse to walk away.
Goat area, run 14AWG, change the breaker to 15Amps.
Plenty of amps to spare.
Barn area, run 14AWG, change the breaker to 15Amps.
Loaded at recommended capacity. This should be OK as there are no outlets on the circuit to skew the calculations.
However, if you only want to do this once and want some room for growth:
Goat area, still OK w/14AWG, w/15Amp breaker.
Barn area, run 12AWG, keep the current breaker.
The distance really isn't that far to worry about voltage drop and a need to step up to 10AWG but, if the cost difference between (10 & 12) and (12 & 14) is not that much, it will give you even more room for growth.
This is still 50% bigger than you will use, capacity wise. On both runs. But you will want to meet n.e.c. code and bury min. 24" deep. The wire will last for ever, and it is money well spent. If you see a future need for more power than maybe you should re-vamp your plan, otherwise it will work perfect for you the way your thinking, as long as the two places your getting power from are on different circuits. Good luck.......
I agree with Square Eye, kok328 and triple D. Ihave actually tried using the exentions, buried over a long distance, and sure enough, it wasn't long before they became problematic and had to be replaced with the "real thing". Save yourself the time and added expense of doing the job twice and don't use the extentions. Best of luck on your project!
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