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Old 06-17-2010, 08:35 AM   #1
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30 AMP service at the house

I posted this on "the other" RV Forum, and only got one response, and not enough help to really help.

"So, I got all the stuff to run a semi-permanent 30 amp outlet from my breaker box to where I have my camper parked (other side of the house). Got the wire, the plug, the breaker, all that stuff. And I got everything ready, popped the cover on my breaker box, and happened to see the breaker where I used to plug in my TT, and what to my surprise? a 30 amp breaker! The wire runs to my pavillion (that the previous owner put up), and has all normal (15amp??) household plugs. But when I had my TT plugged into it, it never tripped a breaker...no matter what all I ran in it (AC, lights, TV, frige, etc.). Now I know why.

So, my next question is, with this setup like it is, can I change out one of the normal household plugs for a 30 amp plug? Right now I have a heavy duty extension cord to run to my 5er, but I plan on putting the 5er on that side of the house again, once I repair and wide my driveway and prep the ground for the weight of the 5er. Plus, I will probably just get a 30 amp RV extension cord anyway for those "just in case" things on the road."

I still have to check the wire size (guage) the PO ran back there, but I have a feeling it is sufficient for a 30 amp service. He may not have been neat, but he did things with a bit of overkill in mind.

As I said above, the line runs to a pavillion he built. It's an open pavillion, and has 6 or 7 of those household (15 amp??) plugs around it, and a ceiling fan and florescent lights. I think he just ran the 30 amp breaker as overkill, but would like to know if I can take advantage of it.
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:53 AM   #2
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Smile IMO Go for it

Since its a long run, check to make sure he used the correct wire guage for the distance.

I use a 20 amp houshold circuit (breaker and wire) to protect the 30 amp RV outlet at my parking spot. The RV plug is the only thing on that circuit.

I can run the 15,000 BTU AC and the radio out there when I am working on the rig with no problem.

I have used the 1500 Watt "Fireplace" heater, a 475 Watt heater in the BR and the radio at the same time in the winter as well with no issues.
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdJunior View Post
a 30 amp breaker! The wire runs to my pavillion (that the previous owner put up), and has all normal (15amp??) household plugs.

Are you sure there isn't a sub panel somewhere between the breaker and the pavilion? If I had wired it, I might have put in a sub panel, and in that sub panel would be 15A and/or 20A breakers for all those outlets and the ceiling fan in the pavilion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdJunior View Post
So, my next question is, with this setup like it is, can I change out one of the normal household plugs for a 30 amp plug?

If you pull an outlet in the pavilion, what size wire is it connected to? Is it #10 wire? Is the 30A breaker connected to #10? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, you should be okay. Again, I stress, are you sure there isnít a sub panel somewhere? If the wire at the 30A breaker is #10, and the wire at the receptacle is #12, or #14, I would NOT replace it with a 30A plug in the pavilion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdJunior View Post
but would like to know if I can take advantage of it.

If there IS a sub panel, find it, and add your 30A breaker there and wire in your own 30A outlet with the supplies you already have. Itís not an ideal setup, but it should work as along as the rest of the pavilion doesnít have a measurable load at the time your TT is plugged in.

If there isnít as sub panel, and the wire from your main load center to your pavilion is #10, this is my recommendation: Pull all of the outlets and fan in the pavilion and find the #10 wire from the main 30A breaker. Tie your 30A receptacle into that, and abandon all the other wiring in the pavilion until a proper sub panel can be installed with breakers to those outlets. Otherwise, the pavilion you have is a fire hazard and would fail an electrical inspection.

As a quick primer: #10 (or 10 Gauge) wire will handle 30 amps. #12 wire will handle up to 20 amps, and #14 up to 15 Amps. Running 30 amps through #12, or #14 is not recommended, even if it has been working for you up until now. If that wire were to overheat, a fire would start and the 30 amp breaker would supply all the current the fire needs to keep growing. Trust me, fires start in situations like this (a poorly wired installation) all the time.

Please let me know what you find.
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:40 AM   #4
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Thumbs up Much better post

Red.Jimbo's post is much more comprehensive and should be followed.

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Old 06-17-2010, 10:51 AM   #5
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DH isn't here right now but I can ask him. I know he put a 30amp plug on the rear of our garage but I am thinking he put a box/panel, or whatever is the correct name for it, in the garage and ran it from there. We keep ours plugged in all the time.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:59 AM   #6
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Ed Junior,

One more thing I forgot.

If you find that the wire going form the existing 30 amp breaker to the pavilion is less than #10, here is my recommendation: Go back to the hardware store, and exchange the unused 30 amp breaker from your original plan for a 15 amp or 20 amp breaker (whichever is appropriate for the existing wire supplying your pavilion). This is good, because you should get some money back.

Return home, install the new breaker for your pavilion where the existing 30 amp was, and use the old 30 amp breaker to complete your original plan for the "semi-permanent" 30 amp outlet.

If this is your scenario, I would not sleep well in that house at night knowing a 30 amp breaker was supplying wiring only suited for 15 or 20 amps. All you would need is a big party with a band and lights in your pavilion and the whole house could go up in smoke. But hey, I'm sure you would still have the camper to live in.

I will presume that the design and materials you purchased originally are correct since I have no reason to believe they are not.

I hope all of this is helpful and not confusing. Feel free to post follow-up details, I'd be happy to help.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:19 AM   #7
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I did the same kind of thing when I wired my garage. I ran 10 gauge wire for a 30amp, 110v circuit with a 20amp outlet for my portable wire feed welder and other 110v tools (like plasma cutters, air compressors, etc.) that can draw a lot of amperage.

If you indeed have 10 gauge ran from the breaker all the way to the outlet then I don't see that there is much for you to do. Just use a 30 to 20amp adapter on your RV cord. Your still getting 30amps to the RV this way.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:25 AM   #8
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I agree with NWJeeper. Such a scenario is not by the book (National Electric Code) but at least it is safe.

Someday, I'll have to post the setup for my RV receptacle here at my home. Everything attached to the house is to code, but between the house and the trailer? Well, it's a little weird, but at least it uses the correct gauge wire.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:12 PM   #9
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i used # 8 wire, so it is overkill,but loose less amps. mine is run about 70 feet. i can use anything in the 5er and be fine.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:31 PM   #10
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Something that I haven't seen mentioned here, but since this circuit is going to an outside area, shouldn't a GFI breaker be used.......or at least a GFI at the receptacle ??
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