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Building inspector won't approve transfer switch

cwoernle

Member
Apr 22, 2018
52
12
Montgomery, AL
Ordered my M3, hired an electrician to assess home charging options, and he concluded the best option was to install a transfer switch to utilize the clothes dryer line. Sounded good to me. Alas, he calls back to say the building inspector would not approve a transfer switch set-up. So my only option is a dedicated circuit that will cost over $2300 and come with installation and home appearance negatives. Evidently this is a local building code issue. Am bummed and have thought about canceling my order, but I guess that is a $3500 loss. Will call the building inspection folks and hope for a different answer. Have others encountered building code issues?
 

NeverFollow

Active Member
Aug 9, 2010
1,278
806
May be giving some more detail about the layout of the garage, where the electric panel is located,
and the detail content of the $2300 estimate would help understanding the situation.
Also is it a separate house or a condo situation.... Are you the owner of the place...

I'am just thinking about some other options:
- What about if you decided having a second dryer next to the one you have?
would adding a second plug and a new line from the panel cost $2300?

- Do you really need a dryer? I live in northern California, and honestly I just hang my clothes overnight.
I think that a dryer takes about 5 kwh, I prefer drive about 15 miles instead.
You live quite in the south, unless you have a very humid weather, can you live without a dryer.
If so, use the plug for your car instead, and manually connect the dryer on few occasions
when you really need to use the dryer.

- Can you have a separate meter just for the car charger, especially if you get special night rate.
If so, what would be the cost of installing a separate meter next to your car.
I just wonder who would pay for the installation of a separate meter? (PG&E or the user?)

Note: Sorry, not answering directly to your question since I didn't experienced such code issues.
 

FlatSix911

Porsche 918 Hybrid
Jun 15, 2015
6,948
6,900
Silicon Valley
Ordered my M3, hired an electrician to assess home charging options, and he concluded the best option was to install a transfer switch to utilize the clothes dryer line. Sounded good to me. Alas, he calls back to say the building inspector would not approve a transfer switch set-up. So my only option is a dedicated circuit that will cost over $2300 and come with installation and home appearance negatives. Evidently this is a local building code issue. Am bummed and have thought about canceling my order, but I guess that is a $3500 loss. Will call the building inspection folks and hope for a different answer. Have others encountered building code issues?
You don't need a transfer switch for the dryer circuit ... just use this: Dryer Buddy™ No affiliation with the product. :cool:
upload_2018-4-26_3-8-30.png
 
Last edited:

Dan Detweiler

Active Member
Apr 21, 2016
3,085
13,386
Canton, Georgia
Ordered my M3, hired an electrician to assess home charging options, and he concluded the best option was to install a transfer switch to utilize the clothes dryer line. Sounded good to me. Alas, he calls back to say the building inspector would not approve a transfer switch set-up. So my only option is a dedicated circuit that will cost over $2300 and come with installation and home appearance negatives. Evidently this is a local building code issue. Am bummed and have thought about canceling my order, but I guess that is a $3500 loss. Will call the building inspection folks and hope for a different answer. Have others encountered building code issues?
$2300! Damn.

I would think in Alabama it would be more reasonable. I am just one state over and am getting the HPWC installed on a dedicated circuit at 60 Amps for $900 and that's including the cost of the charger. Sorry to hear about this. I would DEFFINITELY get a second and third opinion.

Dan
 

Dan Detweiler

Active Member
Apr 21, 2016
3,085
13,386
Canton, Georgia
I was just thinking a little more on it. Are you being told that you will have to upgrade your service to the house? That is the only way I could remotely see the $2300 quote.

Dan
 

cmaster

Member
Dec 4, 2014
240
101
United States
If you have a 200 amp main, you can get the job done at around 500$.

My setup (90feet to charger):

1. 90 amp breaker
2. 90 Aluminum #2 Ser
3. 100 Amp Quick Disconnect (from ebay for 50$)
4. 5 Feet Copper #4

From the main breaker feed 90 feet Aluminum into new 90 Amp breaker at one end. The other, feed into the disconnect switch. From disconnect switch. use copper wire into charger.

It will meet most building codes, if not all, in your town. Wherever a conduit is needed, that must be used to meet NEC.
 

SoAmpt

Member
Oct 8, 2017
7
1
College Station, TX
I am not an electrician.

I have a two story home with the electrical panel in a separate garage from the vehicles. Long story short, a dedicated line wouldn't work in my situation but my laundry utilities are on the same wall as my garage. I ended up installing a heavy duty light switch in the utility room and a second dryer outlet in the garage. I did the labor myself. Adding a couple of junction boxes and connecting the wires isn't difficult. It cost me under $100 and took a couple hours. I've been safely using the setup for four months.
 

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markb1

Active Member
Feb 17, 2012
3,079
689
San Diego, CA
Update--chief building inspector was ok with using a transfer switch! Now exploring with Tesla and city issue of existing dryer line is 3-wire, not 4-. Fingers crossed. Thanks for above replies.

Your Tesla doesn't need four wires. And as long that the outlet is correct for the wire, I can't image it being a problem with your city.
 
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LCR1

Active Member
Oct 24, 2017
1,349
1,173
Houston
Your Tesla doesn't need four wires. And as long that the outlet is correct for the wire, I can't image it being a problem with your city.
Can't install new 3 wire in every place I've been. 4 wire is required for all new installs I've seen. Even so, all I do is run 4 wire and jump neutral/ ground at the junction.
 

GregRF

Squirrel Power
Supporting Member
Jul 22, 2014
521
1,051
CA
Update--chief building inspector was ok with using a transfer switch! Now exploring with Tesla and city issue of existing dryer line is 3-wire, not 4-. Fingers crossed. Thanks for above replies.

If 3-wire becomes an issue it may end up cheaper to install a HPWC instead of an outlet as I believe that only requires 3-wire.
 
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Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,847
8,462
Boise, ID
If 3-wire becomes an issue it may end up cheaper to install a HPWC instead of an outlet as I believe that only requires 3-wire.
It's not really just the number of wires that is the problem. It's what they are connected to. The 6-XX series of outlets are three wire and are still fine to install, like 6-20, 6-30, 6-50, etc. Those are 240V with two hot lines and a ground. What is not allowed and has been discontinued since the mid 90's is the 10-XX series, where they are 120/240V, but use two hots and a neutral, but no dedicated ground.

So yeah, the comment that the dryer is 3-wire means it's a 10-30, with no ground. New builds cannot install those anymore, so if the wiring run from the panel to that location is just the hot1, hot2, and neutral, you probably can't get approval to install something new on that wiring run.
 

dhrivnak

Active Member
Jan 8, 2011
4,509
3,906
NE Tennessee
Ordered my M3, hired an electrician to assess home charging options, and he concluded the best option was to install a transfer switch to utilize the clothes dryer line. Sounded good to me. Alas, he calls back to say the building inspector would not approve a transfer switch set-up. So my only option is a dedicated circuit that will cost over $2300 and come with installation and home appearance negatives. Evidently this is a local building code issue. Am bummed and have thought about canceling my order, but I guess that is a $3500 loss. Will call the building inspection folks and hope for a different answer. Have others encountered building code issues?
No I installed charging options myself. While I followed codes there is no need at least here to involve a building inspector.
 
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Electric700

Active Member
May 21, 2013
1,740
428
Florida, United States
Can't install new 3 wire in every place I've been. 4 wire is required for all new installs I've seen. Even so, all I do is run 4 wire and jump neutral/ ground at the junction.

I have heard there could be issues with connecting neutral to ground. For example, surge protectors might route excess energy from a surge over to the ground, then the ground connection conducts that energy back into the neutral connection that shouldn't be there. From my understanding, such an event could lead to overloads / equipment failures.

So I think it's safer to keep ground grounded and neutral neutral :)
 

davewill

Active Member
Feb 5, 2014
1,828
2,076
San Diego, CA, US
If 3-wire becomes an issue it may end up cheaper to install a HPWC instead of an outlet as I believe that only requires 3-wire.
It's not really just the number of wires that is the problem. It's what they are connected to. The 6-XX series of outlets are three wire and are still fine to install, like 6-20, 6-30, 6-50, etc. Those are 240V with two hot lines and a ground. What is not allowed and has been discontinued since the mid 90's is the 10-XX series, where they are 120/240V, but use two hots and a neutral, but no dedicated ground.

So yeah, the comment that the dryer is 3-wire means it's a 10-30, with no ground. New builds cannot install those anymore, so if the wiring run from the panel to that location is just the hot1, hot2, and neutral, you probably can't get approval to install something new on that wiring run.

Yeah, you would have to have a 6-30 on the EVSE side of the transfer switch, repurposing the neutral as a ground, but I don't think the inspector is likely to allow that, even though that's in essence what Tesla's 10-30 adapter does. Worse, I don't think there's a 6-30 adapter for the mobile connector, just a 6-50 one. I think you're going to end up running a new circuit, unfortunately.
 

LCR1

Active Member
Oct 24, 2017
1,349
1,173
Houston
I have heard there could be issues with connecting neutral to ground. For example, surge protectors might route excess energy from a surge over to the ground, then the ground connection conducts that energy back into the neutral connection that shouldn't be there. From my understanding, such an event could lead to overloads / equipment failures.

So I think it's safer to keep ground grounded and neutral neutral :)
Well that suck for the surge protector. nuteral and ground are bonded at the box. Take your breaker cover off and you'll see nuteral and ground going into the same bars.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,847
8,462
Boise, ID
Well that suck for the surge protector. neutral and ground are bonded at the box. Take your breaker cover off and you'll see neutral and ground going into the same bars.
Yes, of course they are. That is the requirement of the electric code. The code specifies that they MUST be tied together there and ONLY there. They are to be separate and not interchangeable throughout the rest of the building's wiring. And that is for good safety reasons. They are both supposed to nominally be 0V potential, but they serve different purposes, and one carries current while the other does not (isn't supposed to).
 

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