Skip to main content
This Board Has Moved

This board has been migrated to our new platform! Check out the new home page at or click below to go directly to the new Board on the new site.

Go to the New Site
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0
Today I went to visit with the city inspectors and ask them about installing a sub-panel in our garage. The electrical inspector told me that the panel would need the following:

1. Rated for service
I imagine it will say this on the box. I'm not sure what else it would be rated for though.

2. Neutral isolated
I asked what this meant, but I didn't really understand the guy - he was kind of odd. Is this something I need to look for specifically, or is this pretty standard on a 'main lug' panel (what I understand to be a sub-panel)?

3. Equipment ground bus bonds to enclosure.
Same question as number 2.

4. One light inside the garage (there is no mandoor, which I think is a great work by the way) and one light outside the garage, both on a switch that can be inside the garage.
This makes sense and was something I was planning to do anyways.

5. At least one GFCI receptacle in the garage.
I am planning on several, so this is fine.

6. No more than 6 breakers if there is not a main breaker panel in the garage.
Since I'm putting in a sub-panel, this applies. My question though, what is the main difference between a main breaker panel and a sub-panel? Is it just the way that they each get power?

7. Two 7' (could be 6', but he recommended 7') ground rods connected with #4 copper wire.
I understood that I need two rods because there is no plumbing to ground to in the garage. Are these ground rods a standard item in the electrical department at a hardware store, or do I use something else?

He also said that I don't have to use conduit when I bury the line (18" minimum), but he recommends it. I think it makes sense also, but I thought I'd see what you all would do.

I'm planning on getting a 6 breaker box (appear to be $25-30) and installing 3 20-amp circuit breakers to start (1 circuit for the lights, 1 for indoor receptacles and 1 for outdoor receptacles). This will connect to a 60-amp circuit breaker on the main breaker box. Does this sound reasonable or should I be looking at some other combination?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give. I think that this project is overall pretty simple, I just want to fully understand each piece that I'm doing.

Print the post  


Disclaimer - Please Read
A message about professional advice.
Useful Resources
Our Home Center has all you need to make buying and owning a home a great experience. Get or refinance a mortgage and much more!
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.