How can I bring power to my gardening shed?

Answered by Brett Kulina ~ June 23, 2013 ~ No Comments

I bought a small gardening shed (8 by 12 feet) that is going to sit on cement blocks about 25 feet from the back of my house. I want to have lights and an outlet in the shed. Can I bring electircity from the house to the shed or does the power have to come from the pole on the other side of the house?

Brett Kulina

As with any home improvement project that involves wiring and electricity, you really should consult a licensed electrician who can inspect your home's breaker panel and overhead service to determine how best to supply your new shed with adequate power. Likewise, an experienced electrician can also decipher which local building codes apply to your intended project.

If your home has updated wiring and some free space in the breaker panel, then an electrician may simply decide to run a dedicated circuit from the panel box to the new shed. Ideally the wire would be installed in protective conduit and buried underground in a trench about 24 inches deep. The size of wire would be determined by the length of the run, as well as by the expected load in the shed. If you only need a few lights and some outlets, then an electrician may choose a #12 or #10 gauge wire, which would be protected by some 1- to 2-inch conduit.

If your home only has a 100-amp main service, then an electrician must carefully calculate your home's current electrical loads to determine if adding a new circuit is even possible. In some situations, an electrician may need to extend a sub-panel to the shed, which is basically a smaller circuit panel that is fed from the main panel in the house. This would most likely be the case if you wanted to have electric heat or other larger electrical needs in your shed.

When supplying power to an out-building on your property, it can often be less expensive to run power overhead as opposed to underground. Ultimately, however, I think burying power lines makes better sense. Not only will the wire be out of site, but you won't run the risk of the wire being damaged by falling trees or of someone inadvertently coming into contact with it.

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