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liambesaw

Electric quote seem fair?

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It sounds like the hole in the wall can be accomplished with regular tools. Maybe when you talk to these next electricians, ask for a quote based on you punching the hole yourself, and them only installing the circuit? That way, it will be easier for us in Forumland to gauge if the quote is fair, based on the circuit only and the length of the wire. 

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9 minutes ago, GEP said:

It sounds like the hole in the wall can be accomplished with regular tools. Maybe when you talk to these next electricians, ask for a quote based on you punching the hole yourself, and them only installing the circuit? That way, it will be easier for us in Forumland to gauge if the quote is fair, based on the circuit only and the length of the wire. 

T111 is wood, drill a 1 inch hole  no problem. Probably best if he can find an electrician to do it on the side. Materials are 1/4 to 1/5 of the cost of the job so DIY cheapest.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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If you've changed out circuit breakers, and have done a little wiring, you can probably handle this yourself. There's enough info available on the internet that you shouldn't have any trouble finding the specifics on how to do it. Just be safe when making the actual connections in your breaker box. If you get a permit, then the inspector will tell you if you've done something wrong.

The other option is to simply ask the electrician if he'll do it for $500, since that's what you budgeted for it. He may say yes. When I had all my electrical lines installed at my shop, one of the electricians I got a quote from was a former student of mine. She was not the lowest bid, so I asked her if she wanted to do it for closer to what the low bid was and she said yes.

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There is a book in Canada that has been published for about 50 years "Electrical Code Simplified", really good book, well written and straightforward. I'm thinking that there must be something similar in WA state? Maybe from a library if you don't want to purchase something. Like Neil said this might be something you could do yourself but even learning about what is entailed in a job like this would help you ask the right questions. 

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27 minutes ago, Min said:

There is a book in Canada that has been published for about 50 years "Electrical Code Simplified", really good book, well written and straightforward. I'm thinking that there must be something similar in WA state? Maybe from a library if you don't want to purchase something. Like Neil said this might be something you could do yourself but even learning about what is entailed in a job like this would help you ask the right questions. 

I'll check around, and I have some questions in to the permit and inspection office in my town so hopefully that will start a dialogue.  

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I'm saying this in a general sense, not meant for Liam specifically. I don't think it's a good idea to advise people across the internet to do their own electrical work. You can't know the capability or experience level of someone online. We're not dealing with night lights here. If you screw up a kiln circuit you can literally kill yourself or burn down your house. Let the pros do it!

I also don't think it's a good idea to express across the internet that a pottery studio is supposed to be cheap. It's a cheap activity once the infrastructure is in place, but the infrastructure is expensive! Ideally, everyone should have this expectation. 

Back to Liam, I think your original budget of $500 is very reasonable, and I hope you find a good electrician who agrees. 

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3 hours ago, liambesaw said:

It's t-11 exterior and drywall interior, and I would have to repair myself after, I live in a manufactured home, no brick here!  Anyway I've had a few more replies from guys that have said this is what they call a blow off quote.  Not worth their time with so much work around so they bid way high in the hopes I don't accept.  Gonna keep asking around and hope one of my friends has a buddy

I got one of those blow off quotes here recently too; am building a new studio and guy quoted me $450k to build my finished interior pole barn.......

 

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1 hour ago, liambesaw said:

I'll check around, and I have some questions in to the permit and inspection office in my town so hopefully that will start a dialogue.  

Find out if and what version of NEC and or BOCA have been adopted then following them will be a breeze. My parts list and guess what a contractor might cost  included everything in pipe and raceway so it assumed some of the most stringent. 

Having said that this is likely not a difficult project and can be accomplished with reasonable competence and confidence by most. I am with  @neilestrick in that it is easy to learn, certainly can be permitted, and more certainly inspected for approval. I was an electrician many, many years ago so anytime we need something significant at our studio I simply submit my own drawings and permit fees, do the work per code or superior and pass my inspections. I have never had any inspector give me any difficulty even for medium scale projects in the 50k range so far. Of course I hold several licenses in several jurisdictions. Having said all that not to encourage, but yet not to discourage, this is not rocket science but also not for everyone. When I do work for myself it is generally far superior than what I would typically get on the street. I know this about myself though and have been around the trades for a lifetime.

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A pottery student of mine once sort-of complained to me, “Mea, you’ve forgotten how much you know.” She meant I sometimes tried to explain advanced concepts while forgetting how much foundational knowledge it takes to understand what I’m saying. When you have been doing something everyday for years, you think it’s easy. But a beginner on the other end of the learning curve doesn’t have the foundation to understand. From then on, I always tried to distinguish between “easy” and “easy for me.” 

Electrical work takes a lot of foundational knowledge to do a simple project, let alone a potentially dangerous project like a kiln circuit. Bill and Neil have a lot of advanced knowledge and experience, so it might seem everyday to you, but that doesn’t mean it is. 

My thoughts here are aimed at all the lurkers who are reading this thread, over the years, who will misinterpet this conversation as “it’s not hard, anyone can diy a kiln circuit.” 

Edited by GEP

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3 hours ago, GEP said:

A pottery student of mine once sort-of complained to me, “Mea, you’ve forgotten how much you know.” She meant I sometimes tried to explain advanced concepts while forgetting how much foundational knowledge it takes to understand what I’m saying. When you have been doing something everyday for years, you think it’s easy. But a beginner on the other end of the learning curve doesn’t have the foundation to understand. From then on, I always tried to distinguish between “easy” and “easy for me.” 

Electrical work takes a lot of foundational knowledge to do a simple project, let alone a potentially dangerous project like a kiln circuit. Bill and Neil have a lot of advanced knowledge and experience, so it might seem everyday to you, but that doesn’t mean it is. 

My thoughts here are aimed at all the lurkers who are reading this thread, over the years, who will misinterpet this conversation as “it’s not hard, anyone can diy a kiln circuit.” 

Excellent point. By no means did I mean that everyone should do it, and I should have clarified that. My comment was based on having a pretty good idea of Liam's experience level based on his time here on the forum. I would not have recommended it otherwise. I apologize for not making that point.

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Just had to call and cancel the appointment.  I looked up his license number and he is an Electrical Administrator, which after some googling just means he can be the boss of electricians and is not licensed to do any electrical work.  Wow, that will be the end of my craigslisting for electricians haha.  Back to the drawing board

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I live in an 80yr old house, which I have been slowly rehabing for 20 years. Here are my thoughts on how to find a contractor:

1) Start by asking friends who are also homeowners. If anyone gushes about the work somebody did for them, put that contractor on the top of your list. Over time, you’ll learn how few contractors are worthy of gushing.

2) If you know a good contractor in another trade, ask them for a recommendation. Tradesmen know other tradesmen. I hired my electrician based on the recommendation of my plumber. My plumber is very dependable and does excellent work, and his friend the electrician was the same. 

3) If you don’t have the luxury of a personal recommendation, here’s my method. I start by googling [type of contractor] and [my local area]. This search will yield dozens of results. I’ll look at as many websites as I can, and make a list of the ones that give the impression they can do my project. I try to identify at least 10 possibilities. Then I start making phone calls. Sometimes the impression you get on the phone is very different from the website. And lots of contractors don’t answer calls or return messages, because they are that busy. When talking to someone on the phone, I make sure to ask:

— Is this a project that you’re interested in? (Normal for someone to say “not really”)

— Are you available to do it in the relative near future? (How long you’re willing to wait is up to you. Keep in mind a kiln hook-up is not an emergency. A reliable electrician might be worth waiting for. Don’t be impatient.)

— Can you come give me a formal estimate?

The phone call phase will eliminate most of the possibilites. I keep making phone calls until 3 people have met my criteria and are coming to give me an estimate. The in-person estimate is also an important test, because you can judge if they are punctual, professional, and will treat you and your house with respect. After this process of vetting and narrowing down, I find that at least one of those people will be worth hiring. 

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Hope you find someone reasonable and ya know if at the end of the day you can't then you just pay the extra dough and move on, right?

I think it comes down to matching the right person to the job.

In my opinion electricians or electrical companies that view small residential or commercial work not worth the time should not do those types of jobs, period. I just take it badly to be told my job doesn't matter so its a crappy bid and take it or leave it situation with most companies I called.  Both guys that do work by the hour came out just did the work and they had the basic parts they needed on the truck (this is real basic stuff for an electric truck). They were both also knocking down some other hourly jobs that same day. I got the impression that this was bread and butter work for them. It wan't inexperience that caused them to take small hourly repairs and mods but just part of there routine. Both also do large jobs but I guess this filled the downtime. The hourly rate should be derived from ALL the cost that goes into doing a job and the point of the first hour usually being $50-$100 higher is supposed to cover travel and down time specific to that job.

The half angry, double bid response to small jobs they don't want to do seems unneeded and kind of crappy to me anyway. If it's not a job you do please just tell me you don't want the job so I can move on. As a customer deserve both a fair price and professional approach to the work that I am hiring out and that includes mundane work like adding a plug.. 

Edited by Stephen

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Not to second guess, but if having this work done, up it to 100 amp in case in the future you add another kiln, or a larger one. Having to upgrade line and box later would be a hassle, and cost about the same again.

 

Just a personal opinion,

 

best,

Pres

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@Pres

His service likely  doesn’t support it so at some point it’s hard to claim load diversity since his kiln can operate concurrently with HVAC, electric dryer, electric stove, etc..... materials increase pretty significantly and now you are providing lower amperage downstream protection for the kiln. So fused  disconnect at minimum and sort of sub service rules potentially. Not sure it would be worth it really. Sizing it to move to the next likely  kiln  size was in my opinion smart though for minimal first cost. Which is what I believe he did.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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@Pres, I ran #6 wire with a #8 ground, so I can up it to a 60A breaker if I need to, that would a decent upgrade for me, enough for a 23x27 kiln.  Unfortunately I'd need a service and panel upgrade if I wanted to go higher, and I don't think they'd let me put more service into a manufactured home anyway.  

@Mark C., Definitely the way to go, with a bit of direction and help from some very nice people, it wasn't hard at all!  The worst part of it was crawling under my home, which was about a week of sore bones and muscles, but small price to pay!  Ran #6 hots with a #8 ground

 

download_20190127_184916.jpg

Edited by liambesaw

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Two hots and a neutral and a ground? or just two hots and a ground.?

Glad your panel supported the 60 amp breaker.. My studio has 90 amps going to it .The house is 200 amp service but the studio is only 90-as i did it 40 years ago. before the house was 200 amps

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8 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

Two hots and a neutral and a ground? or just two hots and a ground.?

Glad your panel supported the 60 amp breaker.. My studio has 90 amps going to it .The house is 200 amp service but the studio is only 90-as i did it 40 years ago. before the house was 200 amps

2 hots and a ground, my kiln has no controller so didn't need the neutral.  If I want to some time I can pull a #12 wire through for 110, but as it stands it was an extra cost for something I would have just left disconnected.  I do have a 110 outlet on the outside of the house there. 

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1 hour ago, liambesaw said:

2 hots and a ground, my kiln has no controller so didn't need the neutral.  If I want to some time I can pull a #12 wire through for 110, but as it stands it was an extra cost for something I would have just left disconnected.  I do have a 110 outlet on the outside of the house there. 

Having a controller doesn't require a neutral. The controller power comes off a transformer that knocks the 240VAC down to 24VDC. There are a few kilns out there that use the neutral because they break the power into two 120V circuits. A lot of the old Knight 18x18 kilns, which are manual kilns, do it that way- each of the two sections runs on 120 volts.

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4 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

Having a controller doesn't require a neutral. The controller power comes off a transformer that knocks the 240VAC down to 24VDC. There are a few kilns out there that use the neutral because they break the power into two 120V circuits. A lot of the old Knight 18x18 kilns, which are manual kilns, do it that way- each of the two sections runs on 120 volts.

Ahh ok, I've seen the 4 prong plugs on kilns before so I just assumed they were using the neutral for the controller, kinda like a clothes dryer.  

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