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How to Run Electricity to a Shed

How to Run Electricity to a Shed

It is almost midnight, you are trying to sleep, but it’s too hot, and the AC isn’t working. As the man of the home, you understand that you have to fix the AC. Unfortunately, your toolbox is in the shed, and you have to fetch it. So, you take a flashlight and rush there. On opening the door, your flashlight goes off, and now you have to stumble back to the house – in the dark.

Whether you want to wire your garden shed to find your way around it in the dark or you want a practical workshop, wiring is more crucial than many people imagine. Thankfully, the task is pretty straightforward, and you will be done before you know it.

All you require is some planning, a few skills, and some hours of your time.

Recommended Tools and Materials

  • Wire
  • Panel and appropriate circuit breakers
  • Boxes
  • Receptacles
  • Switches
  • Conduit and sub-panel (optional)

What size wire to run to shed?

 You cannot run any size or type of wire to the workshop.  First, choose an appropriate gauge, which refers to the breadth of the metal that is inside the cable. Heavy gauges can accommodate heavy loads. When considering the kind of wire to use, consider the voltage drop as the current travels in the cable. If the distance between the main house and the workshop is short, the voltage drop isn’t conspicuous. However, for longer distances, you should consider the fall because it would be significant. You may also ask an electrician to help you make the decision.

How to Run Electricity to a Shed

Step 1 – Prepare

Take the time to survey the existing electrical panel and  find out if it has sufficient room for running the wire to your shed.  Anything above 200A should suffice, but 100A might require some upgrading. Ask an electrician to fix the system for you. After determining that the panel can support power to the shed, the next step is to understand the power supply you require in the shed. What machines would you like to run, and are they heavy-duty? It’s better to overestimate the necessary current than underestimate it.

Step 2 – Plan the circuit

How to Run Electricity to a Shed: Plan the circuit

Although you will run one wire to your workshop, it could be more than that. For instance, if you require more than one circuit, you need a sub-panel. It will enable you to have several channels to increase the capacity of the main panel. If you install a 60A breaker for the sub-panel, it can handle four 15A circuits or three 20A circuits. If you are planning on installing one panel that can handle a few lights, you don’t require a sub-panel.

Step 3 – Draw the wiring diagram

A wiring diagram will give you a rough idea of the final layout. That way, it will be easier for you to gather the required materials to complete the shed wiring job.

It will also reveal any shortcomings in the circuits when doing an electrical task such as that of installing new channels.

Putting your plan on paper helps you to ensure that you do not overload circuits and that you settle for the best route for connecting the wiring.

Step 4 – Dig a trench

After planning the connections and buying everything that you require, the next step is to make a trench. When using a metallic conduit, you should dig at least six inches deep. As for PVC conduits, dig 18 inches deep. You can choose to run the wiring along the exterior walls or dig it below the structure.

Step 5 – Fix the switch box

After digging the trench, your next step should be to fix the sub-panel or switch. You can do it outside or inside the shed, depending on the type of panel you have chosen to install.  If you decide to install it out, ensure that it can survive the harsh weather conditions. 

Step 6 – Run the conduit

Start from where the wire runs to the exterior. The connection that is coming from the main house requires a waterproof material. If you install it through the roof of the house, make sure that you drill a hole of a similar diameter to the duct.

Note that the connection must come from the first panel to your shed.

If you choose to use a standard indoor wire, opting for an external cable at the exit isn’t advisable. If you are using PVC pipes, buy PVC cement that will attach the conduit to fittings. The adhesive will create a watertight seal that increases the longevity of the tubes.

Step 7 – pull the wire

After all the pipes are set up, the next thing is to put the wiring inside. That entails pulling the wire from the main house to the workshop. Use an electrician’s fishing tape for the task. If you haven’t used it previously, look for a long metal with a hook on one end. Put the tape into one term without a wire. Once the tape gets to the end, attach it to the wire. Now, pull the tape. It might require some additional effort, but eventually, the cable will get to the other end.

Step 8 – Wire the circuit to the main box and the switch

What size wire to run to shed: Wire the circuit to the main box and the switch

The primary service panel of your house will have a breaker for the shed. That is where you decide how much power will be inside the workshop.  If you want to have 60A, you should install a 60A breaker to the panel.  Another factor involves the amount of voltage that gets to your shed. Irrespective of what you select, be sure to install the right wire for the task. Shut off power when installing a new breaker.

Step 9 – Wire the shed

Now you can comfortably complete the connections inside the workshop. If you have decided to go with one circuit, the wiring will be more accessible. If you use a 20V breaker, you will require using a 12/2 wire. If you use a 15A channel, you can go for 14/2 wire. Make sure you use staples to keep the connections in place. You will also require GCFI receptacles, which are installed in the same way as conventional outlets.

Step 10 – Talk to an electrician

After wiring the shed, you ought to consult an electrician, especially if you haven’t made extensive connections previously. The expert will check out the wiring and correct any errors. Since you will have completed most of the connections by now, the electrician won’t take much time.

Remember hat electrical mistakes often have dire consequences and should be avoided where possible.

How Much Does It Cost to Run Electricity to a Shed?

Understanding the costs is among the initial costs. Luckily, it doesn’t cost a fortune.  The most expensive item on the list is the wire.  If you settle for the commonly used type, which is copper wire, you might pay much for it. However, the most recommended type is the thick gauge because you will be drawing power from the main house. The rest of the materials like the sub-panels aren’t costly. Before starting the project, get a quotation for the requirements first.

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