Wiring House for Welder

I'm planning on getting a MIG or TIG machine in the 200-250A class and will
need to have an outlet installed in the garage to handle the load.
What's involved in installing a 220v 60A circuit in a residence? I assume a
new breaker will be needed along with the wiring and the outlet itself. Are
the outlets standardized? Do residential drops have enough spare capacity
to accomodate a welder? (I already have central A/C, an electric stove, and
an electric dryer).
How much would an electrician typically charge to do this work? (I'm in the
S.F. Bay Area.)
- Jerry
Reply to
Jerry Gardner
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Typical installation is a 50 or 60 amp, 2-pole breaker with two 6 gauge copper conductors + one ground (at least 10 gauge) feeding a NEMA 6-50 receptacle.
Figure out what capactiy service you have. You're probably fine there-- remember it's rare to be running *every* circuit max'd out simultaneously.
I can't help you here except to say "probably a lot". In Seattle, I would expect to pay several hundred dollars.
If you are handy and feel confident going into your main panel to add a breaker, this isn't a difficult task. The hard part is usually routing the wires (trenching and pulling big, stiff wires).
One comment would be that if you have any doubt about the power supply to your shop, pull bigger wires and add a subpanel, then wire the welder outlet to that. You'll need free 120V 20A circuits to run things like chop saws, grinders, etc. This is somewhat more complicated (and expensive) than just the welder circuit, but more useful.
Jeff Dantzler
Reply to
Jeff Dantzler
I had my 220V service extended about a year and a half ago; it was ~$225 in Omaha. Also, the new drop was about 15 foot from the box. Factor up your costs accordingly.
Reply to
Rich Jones
Is your panel new, not full, in an easy location, and is the welder outlet supposed to be in an inside location? If so, you are probably all set.
If the panel is old, you might have to replace it. Similarly if it is full. The NEC has changed so only breakers made by the panel maker can be used! No more mixing.
Perhaps you will change all the breakers.
If you can squeeze in a breaker you still might have problems with too many "cheater" breakers.
If the location of the outlet is outside, or inside over a non-finished floor you might need to add a GFI breaker. Big GFI breakers are expensive, like $200.
Depending on the details you can spend between $300 and $5000.
I did a bit of re-wiring a few years ago and the parts alone cost $2400.
Reply to
How do I do this? Is it written on the breaker box or the meter somewhere, or do I need to ask an electrician?
Reply to
Jerry Gardner
If your house has 200-amp service and a reasonably modern panel (i.e., one with space for another double-pole breaker), running a welder shouldn't be an issue.
As far as the electrical work, it's kind of like asking "How much does a bottle of wine cost?" It depends on where your panel is located relative to where you want the receptacle, and what the electrician has to go through to get the wire there. As such, the tab could range from reasonable to prohibitive. Sadly, I'll bet electricians in the Bay Area are probably the most expensive in the country. Here's hoping your welder receptacle can go right under the panel.
Reply to
Jon Ward
There should be a main breaker that determines what capacity service you have. It is probably something like 150A or 200A.
If you add up all of the smaller breakers, the sum will likely exceed the rating of the main breaker. However like I mentioned before, you are unlikely to ever be drawing the maximum current from all of the branch circuits (each branch has a breaker) at the same time.
All homeowners should map every light, outlet, appliance, etc. to which breaker (or circuit) they are on. If you also know the amp draw (usually stated on a label on said appliance, or add up all light bulbs, etc.) from all of these loads, you can begin to get an idea of what reserve capacity you have. You have to also take into account duty cycle-- i.e. you don't run the oven, dryer (or welder) constantly.
It sounds like you have a relatively modern service (i.e. 150A or 200A) so it really shouldn't be too much of an issue to run a welder. Welders present a very intermittent type of load.
If you are borderline as far as reserve capacity goes, just make sure that when you weld, you avoid having other high draw loads such as the clothes dryer or electric range/oven going at the same time.
If you blow the main breaker, then it is time to upgrade your electric service to 200A.
How far away from the panel do you want the welder plug ?
Jeff Dantzler
Reply to
Jeff Dantzler
I just had my garage done last month. It costed me 160 dollars canadian for the guy to come over and installl an outlet in the garage. It included all materials which I was about 20 bucks. I think it was easy. The breaker box was in the garage and the outlet was next to it. Plus it was a friend of a friend who did it.
Reply to
cunning linguist

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