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Outlet Spacing, Service Size for a Detached Garage and Installing a New Dryer Outlet Verses an Extension Cord

June 8, 2010

DIY Electrical Wiring Help Kelvin asks:
I have got rid of my wood-burning stove and a wall too the side of it. There was one outlet in the wall. Is there a minimum distance that must be maintained from one outlet to the next outlet when the outlet is facing the opposite direction?

Your outlets need to be a maximum of 12 feet apart. Any wall over 2 feet wide requires an outlet. About the only concern with placing an outlet on the opposite side of the wall is fire. If the wall dividing the two rooms is fire rated then you need to place the outlets in different stud bays.


Anthony Chios asks:
I would like to power a single car detached garage from my house. If I use a 100 amp sub panel in the garage, run conduit underground, ( about 25 feet), then enter the garage with watertight conduit connections, would I be able to use 12-3, or 12-2 wire in 1/2 ” conduit? Is there a concern about grounding other than the white wire between panels? What size breaker should I use in the mail panel to accommodate 3-4 20 amp breakers in the sub? This will be just for a single garage door opener, about 4 receptacles, and about 2-3 compact fluorescent lamps.

No you may not install 12/3 or 12/2 NM cable in conduit. This is a code violation. The concern is that the outer sheath will trap too much heat. I recommend using copper wire with THWN / THHN insulation.

Regarding grounding in houses. Your neutral and ground wires connect together at the first point of disconnect only. When installing sub-panels in out buildings there are circumstances when you are permitted to only install 3 wires to the out building. Then you would reestablish a ground at the outbuilding. However, I do not recommend this. I prefer to establish the ground at the first point of disconnect and then just install ground wires to every sub-panel.

When it comes to garages, I highly recommend at least a 100 amp service. You can get away with less, but inevitably someone will want to do some welding or install a large compressor.


Fred Irons asks:
Can I change the ends of a 220 extension cord from a 4 prong to a three prong dryer male and female ends? My dryer and wall plug are three prong. If so how?

I’ve never seen anyone use an extension cord for a dryer before. This is not recommended and I believe this may be a code violation. Extension cords are for temporary power only. I recommend installing a new 4-wire dryer receptacle within 6 feet of the dryer. If you install a new receptacle, then it needs to meet today’s code requirements. This means that you will need to change the cord on your dryer to a 4-wire / 4-prong as well.


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