How to Wire Electricity to Your Shed
If you are like many other homeowners, you might own a shed that sits in your backyard and houses various tools and equipment. While using a shed as an outdoor closet works well for some, many homeowners would find that wiring a shed with electricity could be incredibly helpful in turning their shed into a more welcoming or functional space. A shed with electricity is a great place to do extra crafts and home improvement projects that may be too messy or loud for your home.
There can be a lot of steps involved when wiring your shed, but this article is going to cover the basic information you need to decide whether this project is something you will want to take on or pass up.
- The first step is to make sure you are well prepared. This means that you know the electrical load you want your shed to support, and you have all the necessary products and tools to get the job done. The basic materials you will need include direct burial cable or liquid tight conduit, electrical wiring, a switch box, electrical outlets, and fixtures. You will also need common household tools for electrical work, as well as fish tape and a shovel. When working with electricity, make sure the power to your home is turned off.
- Next begin fishing your wires through the conduit, which should be longer than the distance from your home to your shed. There’s nothing more inconvenient than realizing that you don’t have enough conduit or wiring and you’re already halfway done with your project! Electrical codes in many areas state that sheathed wires are not allowed to run through outdoor conduit, so make sure you are familiar with your local codes and prepare accordingly. If you’re having trouble fishing the wires though, electrical lubricant can be applied to make the wires run more smoothly through the conduit.
- The next step is to dig your trench. It will need to be 18 to 24 inches deep, but once again it is best to contact an electrician or contractor first to specify your local codes. Depending on the distance from your home to your shed and how much time you have, the digging alone could be a project that might have to be broken up over the course of a few days. Make sure to cover the trench completely when the wires are placed, and pack the dirt well so that it will hold up to any impending rain.
- Connect one end of the wiring and conduit to your home’s main breaker panel. Depending on where this is in your home, you might need to make some modifications to existing walls or windows. For example, if you are going to be attaching the conduit to a breaker in the basement, you may need to drill a hole in a basement window to pass the cables through. In this situation, you would have to use caulk to create a seal around it the hole.
- The other end of your conduit will go into your shed. Once again, you will have to drill a hole somewhere on the exterior to allow the cables to pass through. From there, you can install your junction box, switches, receptacles, etc. and connect your wiring to them accordingly. The specific instructions for powering your outlets and fixtures depends on what types of products you have chosen, and installation instructions can be found either within the device’s manual or online.
At this point, turn on your power and ensure that the installation has been accomplished properly. If everything is in working order, you have successfully wired your shed to utilize electricity!
Having power in your shed can open up a lot of possibilities for creating an extra workshop or small studio to spend your time in comfortably. Although your capabilities are limited by the types of materials you have used and the load your circuit breaker can support, even having simple light fixtures and receptacles will make the space significantly more functional. That being said, this project is one that would be best carried out by homeowners experienced at working with electricity, since wiring and re-wiring can demand a lot of work and attention. If you are in need of any special installations or receptacles you are unfamiliar with, remember that contacting a certified electrician can save you time, money, and energy.