Garage Remodel #2: starting permit process

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Blog entry by Holbs posted 03-05-2013 02:04 AM 2043 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: cutting into drywall for romex path Part 2 of Garage Remodel series Part 3: permit approved »

I’ll share this blog going from start to finish. The purpose of this blog is to show other’s who need to understand the process of getting permits to add electrical sub-panels, 110v and 220v outlets and lights, install a natural gas fired hanging furnace (mine is a Reznor UDAP 60k btu). I want to go the correct way to do things by code to appease insurance agents and re-selling agents in the future.

Yesterday (sunday 3-4-13), I needed to know the options to run my electrical: on the wall conduit, or internal thru studs. I picked up 250’ 12/2 romex and plenty of blue boxes at an auction, I wanted to see if a pathway thru studs would work as this would be the very economical solution in my situation. The major gripe about thru studs is no future work or edits. The major gripe about on the wall conduit is not code to use romex, visible, obstructions on wall itself, and spendy for all the parts. So i was thinking of running the 12/2 (possibly 12/3 for 220v outlets) thru the studs but leave future access panels for edits later on. This should solve both problems.

My background: 22’x22’ 2 car garage, attached, no insulation, no ceiling drywall open to rafters & joists, clay tiles, stucco walls.

Today, called the city inspector office to see what’s involved to start the permit process. The gentleman kindly asked what I had in mind, I explained it all, then he said it would be best to come in with a diagram of the end result of what I wanted… and talk to the plans manager for a little bit (not the inspectors themselves as they are usually out and about). They are open 8:00am-3:30pm. I’ll try to scoot over thru the week (I do have full time job).
When I got home, I took my tablet device and took pictures of the main electrical box and fuses (which has 3 open fuse slots on a 125A box), general picture of the garage, specific picture of the location where I plan to install the Reznor UDAP heater, the drywall cutouts for the 12/2 wire runs, general location of where I plan to install the sub-panel, the outside wall where the Reznor will penetrate outside. And now to learn Sketch-Up pretty quickly.

9 comments so far

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 2773 days

#1 posted 03-05-2013 02:49 AM

Fist of all you will most likely need to know how many amps your machines might be needing. 220 volt is usually 30 and 40 amps for most garage type machines. You will need to run 10/3 or 8/3 with ground. 12/2 with ground is normal for 20 amp 110 volt receptacles. I suggest you make a list of your machines you have now or might get in the future in order to do your in wall wiring in the best layout possible before they are closed in.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Holbs's profile


889 posts in 1066 days

#2 posted 03-05-2013 03:01 AM

good catch on 10gauge for 220v. but why 10/3? i’ll just have single pole machinery so 10/2 should suffice?

and yes.. i’ll be adding my amps. so far, the 220v 18amp 3hp grizzly is the largest. i’ll never go into arc / mig welding.

View Bobmedic's profile


312 posts in 1838 days

#3 posted 03-05-2013 04:55 AM

Woodworking machines do not draw 30 – 40 amps. A welder maybe but not most machines that would go into a garage that size. 12-3 will work for most. 12 wire is good up to 20 amps. For example a 5 hp SawStop will run on a 20 amp 220 breaker with 12- 3 wire. Many machines can be wired 110 or 220. If you switch them to 220 they will draw half of the rated amps. And for machines you need 12-3 or 10-3 wire otherwise you would have to use the ground as a neutral. Machines with motors need the neutral to balance the phases. Welders and clothes dryers and hot water heaters only need 2 wire.

-- Save lives, ease suffering, reduce morbidity and mortality, stomp out pestilence and disease, postpone the inevitable, and fake compassion. The Paramedics Creed

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1503 posts in 3162 days

#4 posted 03-06-2013 04:51 PM

When I built my workshop, I put in a 100A subpanel from the house, and ran 12/3 Romex using GFCI breakers to alternating boxes, so within a reasonable distance of any wall location I have access to 4 different circuits.

I also ran 3 dedicated 220 circuits on 10/3 Romex, 10/3 so that I’d have neutral, ground, and either phase. Amusing side note, I also ran #10 to my heat pump, which used #14 internally. Gave both me and the inspector a moment of “WTF??” when we looked at the connection the heating contractor had made from my big heavy solid-core wire to the teeny tiny wires going to the compressor and fan.

Next time I’d probably just run 12/2 Romex and GFCI sockets, the GFCI breakers for the Edison/shared neutral circuits were expensive enough that the extra Romex would be cheap.

I wouldn’t bother with SketchUp, pencil and paper is faster. Here are my plans, yeah, the electrical page I scanned has a big red “X” on it, but once I got the Title 24 issues resolved with the city I used that exact same page again to get my electrical permit.

I think if I already had finished walls, I’d seriously consider just running conduit on the surface and THHN.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Bogeyguy's profile


549 posts in 1105 days

#5 posted 03-06-2013 06:45 PM

Holbs, instead of installing access panels for future electrical device installation why not rough in for them now when you are opening up the walls. Pull the wire into a box and blank it if your not going to use it. It would be a lot easier to do it now. Romex and boxes are cheap. You don’t need to install a device now, but it will be easier in the future if the wire and box are there. Just my 2 penny’s worth.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View Holbs's profile


889 posts in 1066 days

#6 posted 03-07-2013 01:43 AM

after digging in my main breaker box… does having a 100a main panel, sound right? there is a little checklist on the lid with model # ending in “100” and one ending in “125”. the “100” has check besides it. and the 2 fuses labeled ‘main disconnect’ are 100amp fuses.

seems rather dinky for a main, to me. i’m unsure if this limits me for garage sub panel. i know 60a is considered too small or minimum, i would like 75a. 100a would be overkill for my dinky 2car garage shop.

bogey.. my plan is to run the 12/2 for 110v outlets (6-8 of them spaced out every 4’ on 2 or even 3 separate circuits, each started off by a GFCI outlet)) and run 10/3 for 3 outlets +1 for dedicated corner where the 3hp grizzly DC will reside. i will run the wires now (after talking to city plans manager), then cover the 8” drywall dado (ha…dado) with panels that i can always take off in the future for easy access for future adds / edits. i’ll have to figure out if velcro’d wood or metal panels in the dado would pass code.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1503 posts in 3162 days

#7 posted 03-07-2013 04:11 AM

My house had a 60A main panel fuse box when I moved in. First thing I did was pay an electrician to drop a 200A breaker box in, and paid the electrician mostly because that let someone else deal with PG&E (our utility company).

60A might not be too small for a one-person shop: You need light and a tool. Lights these days sip power, call it 2A (240 watts will get you a lot of fluorescent). Your 3HP DC is 20A or so, another 20A for a saw and you’re at 42A. Not too bad.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Holbs's profile


889 posts in 1066 days

#8 posted 03-07-2013 05:06 AM

my quickie amp addition if i run all at once:
15amp bosch contractor saw
18amp 3hp grizzly DC
6amps for t8 lighting (9 fixtures on 2 circuits for safety)
reznor gas heater 1amp
air cleaner 1-2amps (not sure how many air cleaners i’ll have).
gives me 42amps.
of course…gotta have the stereo in there somewhere :)
a couple battery charging stations.
definitely no welding aspirations in the next 20 years.
i would feel more comfy with a 75amp box or 100amp box, than 60amp. i have to shop for my electrical stuff at home depot (thanks to a $500 HD gift card). anything under 100amp box only has 2 spaces. so, look like i’m cornered to use a 100amp box anyways (thanksfully, subpanels can be equal to or less than main box).

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1503 posts in 3162 days

#9 posted 03-07-2013 02:54 PM

Sounds like the 100A box it is. And at some point you can drop the $2k or so it’d cost you to upgrade your service to the house…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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