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Supplying Power to a Detached Garage, Feeding an Outside GFCI Receptacle and Replacing Worn Out Receptacles

June 15, 2010

DIY Electrical Wiring Help Bill Neklia asks:
I would like to run power to my detached garage so I have power for lights, an oil furnace, table saw, drill and grinder. I have 110 amp service at the house, Can I use a 60 amp circuit breaker at the house panel to send power to the garage?
Would I use 3#6 wire (copper)? Is it a 2 pole circuit breaker?

Yes, you may use a 60 amp breaker to feed your detached garage. Yes, #6 AWG THHN/THWN individual copper conductors in a PVC conduit will work if the wire length between your detached garage and the existing breaker box on your house is 150 feet or less. If it is longer, then you need to up size the wire to compensate for voltage drop. If you use #6 AWG THHN/THWN copper wires, then a 3/4 inch PVC conduit will work. However, I recommend installing a 1 1/4 inch PVC conduit. This will make it so much easier to pull your wire and this is the size conduit needed if you ever want to upgrade the service on the garage to 100 amps. I also recommend installing a #8 AWG THHN/THWN ground wire and keep your ground and neutral wires separated at the breaker box in the garage.

A 60amp, 2-pole breaker will give you 60 amps at 240 volts. I don’t think they make a single pole 60 amp breaker, but if they did/do it would give you 60 amps at 120 volts.


Lew asks:
Can I piggy back off the wash machines 20 amp receptacle (currently sole dedicated) and tie in an exterior (outside) GFI receptacle?

Yes, you may use the washing machine receptacle to feed your outside GFCI. However, the washing machine uses a lot of power. If you plan to use the outside receptacle at the same time the washing machine is running, then you will probably trip the breaker. I recommend a dedicated circuit or find another receptacle to tap into.


Marc Ramos asks:
What written directive constitutes replacement of residential electrical receptacles? What justifies a receptacle to be replaced and where is this requirement? I have several receptacles that are loose and does not hold the plug in place.

To my knowledge, there isn’t one. I’m assuming that you are in a rental and would like your landlord to do this for you. My recommendation is to talk to your local electrical inspector. There may be a local code which requires this.


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