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Question DetailsAsked on 10/24/2016

Can I run two separate feeds off of my 200 amp service, one going to my house the other going to my barn?

The service it already running to the house but the barn is in the opposite direction. I am looking for the most cost effective way to get power to the barn without having to set another pole with a second 200 amp service.

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The amount of connected breakers coming off a service or main breaker is controlled by a calculation, which your electrician can do. While the distribution/breaker panels can have breakers totalling a lot more than the service/main breakers capacity, there are limits.

If this barn load PLUS the house load does not require more than a 200A breaker and 200A service can provide (so depending code area not more than about 160-180A actual sustained load), then yes you can. You will need (may already have) a main breaker box next to the service, with separate main breakers for the barn and the house - maybe 100A each, maybe 50 and 150 or 75 and 125 - whatever suits your load split. In most code areas you CANNOT double-tap both demands off one 200A breaker by tying them into a bus bar that ties into the breaker. Though some areas do allow that, I would not recommend it because that effectively means both your smaller panels in the garage and the house panel will not have breakers protecting them for the max load they should individually see - but for a far higher load instead. For instance, if you installed a 200A main breaker but the two breaker panels ratings called for a 100A main breaker, each would have a main breaker that is potentially twice the rating it should be (assuming minimal load in the barn when in the houuse, or sometimes minimal house load when using power in the barn). That is not safe - each breaker/distribution panel has to be protected by an appropriately sized main breaker for that panel only, and while main breakers at the distribution panel itself are legal in some areas, I recommend against that - you want not only the panels and wiring from them protected, but also the lead fromthe service to the distribution panels. I have seen some nasty house fires because the seervice lead to the distribution/breaker panel was not protected by a main breaker at the service connection/meter base.

Then, coming off those two main breakers, you would have the existing lead to the house panel , and the new lead to the barn. Depending on distance from the house, you may be required to have a disconnect mounted on the outside of the barn to allow for rapiod manual emergency power shutdown if you have a major electrical box problem in the barn - a good idea even if not required by code. Then of course, another breaker panel at the barn for your distribution to loads in the garage.

Should be no problem for your electrical contractor to figure what is needed, once he does the calculation on current household load, and the design loads for the new barn panel.

However - you said you do not want to set another pole and a second 200A service. If your current service is 200A, the TOTAL main breaker capacity for the barn PLUS the house would be 200A - you will not get 200A capacity at the barn without upgrading the service. Depending on the service drop wire size leading to the meter, if it is rated for more than 200A you may be able to upgrade the existing 200A service (meter/meter base) and then install more than 200A in combined main breaker capacity for the two usage areas. In some areas the wiring capacity to the house is what the meter/service is sized and rated for, in others the utilities oversized the drops so the service drop wire as-is may be able to handle more load than the current meter/service rating, by just upgrading the meter/meter base.

You said "the service is already running to the house but the barn is in the opposite direction" - this sounds to me like the service drop runs to the house, then you will have to run wire (above ground or buried) back past the pole to the barn - sounds like a possible long run, so it may be (especially if you will have high demands in the garage, especially if they involve larger electric motors rather than just lighting or electric heating), the voltage drop may be a problem or require a grossly oversized feed wire to avoid excess losses en route - so a new pole and service to the barn may end up being your best alternative. Would take a bit of calculation on loads and service demands and losses in the wiring to the barn - because you don't want to be wasting a lot of power in line losses if you have high demands out there, especially if the high demands run a significant percentage of the time (say a lot of lighting or electric heat) rather than just occasionally high loads.

On the barn wiring/breaker panel - consider water issues in locating it - if an animal barn, the breaker/distribution panel is commonly put in a waterrpoof cabinet or in a protected utility closet outside the barn, with the wiring run high up with drops down to outlets as needed (with appropriate probably NEMA 4 or 5 protection and outlets) to avoid wetting by washdown with hoses or liquid spraying around from broken pipes/tubing on automated watering troughs or milking machines or such. Keeping the wiring runs high also minimizes issues with the highly corrosive manure washdown liquid.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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