Revised 09/03/09

The Hangar

"Its All In The Details"


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Well, its been a long time now since the hangar was completed and I have filled it with junk, tools, cars, the airplane, and a whole lot more. I'm not sure where to start here, but I suppose some of "improvements" would be a good place.

Electricity is a necessity in a workshop and so when my finances recovered from the building I began to plan the electrical for the building. Most people like to avoid having two electric meters, and would prefer that their garage, shop or hangar get its power from the house. In some places having a meter on a non residence means paying high commercial rates, in other places, it doesn't matter. My house is supplied by an underground feed from a transformer shared by my house and the next door neighbor, it is fed underground from a pole near my driveway. Interestingly, the main power feed for the entire subdivision runs down the north side of my yard to the street, at this pole where the power drops underground to the shared transformer. It also continues overhead down the street. I found it amazing that the power passes within 50 ft of the house, and even has a pole just across the drive from the house, yet the house power was fed from a transformer on the opposite side of the yard, from the street. The power nearly encircles the house, before it gets to it.

Anyhow, the issue with supplying the hangar off the house is multi-fold. First, the feed to the house is only capable of 200 amps, which the house panel is, so any further tapping of power would mean digging up the yard to replace the cable, and possibly the transformer too. In addition, I do not have an outside disconnect of the power at the meter, and thus, I have only three wires going to the panelboard in the house. Current local codes now require an outside power disconnect (very common nationwide, but not required by the NEC), which then becomes the "service entrance" in electrical code speak, instead of the panel in the house. this means I would have had to 1) run a new feed to the house, 2) replace the meter and socket on the house with a 400 amp meter socket, and 3) add dual service disconnects, one for the house and one for the hangar. Mind you, all of this costs money, and to top this off, I would have had to 4) replace the three wire going into the house, with four wire to separate the ground and neutral lines and 5) also would have had to replace the panelboard, since it had combined neutral and ground bars, which have to be separated in the new service.

I finally gave up on this line of thinking and decided to run a new underground service from the overhead pole near the house, to a meter on the hangar and to a new 200 amp panelboard inside. Having a second meter is nice, it allows me to remove power from the house if needed for maintenance or service, and still be able to run an extension cord from the hangar to operate the fridge and lights. It also allows me to have heavy current draws such as a very large air compressor or welder, and not be concerned about what effects it might have on the house, computers, tv, etc., from heavy voltage drops that might be seen when the compressor starts or the welder strikes an arc.

I'm sure that by now, you are tired of reading, so I'll show you what some of the basic installation looks like, and why I did it that way.

Pics to come.............................................................