Building update – Power we have

Back in June Michelle applied to PSE and Potelco to have power installed at the property. PSE is the local utility company, and Potelco is the contractor who does their install work. After she sent in the application to them she sent in an application to Washington State Labor and Industries to obtain an electrical work permit. In Washington state the state L&I department owns the electrical permitting process. We waited few months to hear back from Potelco with design requirements, and a possible install date. I did not want to start digging ditches until we knew when things would be installed.

Once Potelco provided the design requirements and an estimated install date I started work on trenching, and installing the power panels. The Trench requirements were a ditch 24-36″ deep and 24 inches wide. I needed to provide a 3″ conduit from the concrete vault to service meter on the side of the building with a break between the pipe coming out of the meter and the end of the conduit from the vault. The Conduit also needed a pull rope inside Potelco could use to pull their cable. The break is to allow for the building to settle over time without putting undo stress on the pipe / wire. The ditch and pipe were pretty simple to install. I bought the pipe in Oregon while down there on an auction pick up trip with Clint; saved the 10% in sales tax.

Adam, a friend at work, and Trenton performed most of the service panel and breaker box installation work. We installed one service panel good for 400 amps outside, and two 200 amp breaker boxes inside of the building. We purchased all of the service boxes from Stusser electrical in Bremerton. The panels are SquareD products. We went with SquareD because they are, in my opinion, the best and I am not going to skimp on the power plant for the HappyCompound. The Electrical inspector found a few things wrong with our install job that we had to fix

The main things we did wrong were we only installed a single ground rod, and we used to small of wire from the meter box to the panels inside. According to the NEC 2009 code book you need to have 2 ground rods separated by at least 6 feet for any power service, or you need to have a single ground rode certified to have less than 25 ohms of resistance. Trenton installed a second ground rode. The wire we used was single zero wire, and we needed to use double zero. We replaced the wire, called for another inspection and passed. The inspector put the approved L&I sticker on the side of the service panel that is required by Potelco before any work can be performed.

I called Potelco and let them know we were good to go and they scheduled the install with an official date. The official date slipped one week due to our install crew being repurposed for storm repair for a few a week. Only took them about an hour to run the wire, install the transformer and turn the power on. As a bonus for me I was actually out there working on things the day they came out to do the install. We now have plugs and lights on a switch in the building. No more generator needed; life is getting better all the time.

Next on the list of things to do – install water lines and run power to the well. With power and water, and a few dry days we can burn the stump piles and start in on installing a septic system.


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