How to Run Electricity to a Shed

Sometimes, people want separate buildings on their property wired for electricity. For example, they might have a studio apartment, work shed, backyard office, or mother-in-law apartment that they need to be wired for electricity. If a customer has just asked you to run electricity to their shed or backyard office garage, you’re in luck. Here are a few tips that will help you to know how to get started in the process of wiring electricity outside.

Dig a Trench

One of the first steps that you’ll have to take to run electricity to a backyard shed will be to dig a trench. Before you get started, make sure that you’re aware of any necessary permissions or permits in the area where you’re working, and be sure to get said permit(s) before you start so your work remains legally compliant. Then, you can get started digging the trench for your wires. This trench might run from the house or main property building to the exterior building or shed.

Usually, the required wires will be buried in the ground to protect them from exposure to weather and water. Overhead wires simply aren’t as safe or effective. In order to bury said wires, you’ll need to dig a trench of appropriate width and depth. Make sure that you map the most effective route for your trench from the house to the shed. You can drill the exit point from the house before you get started to help you stay on track.

Use a Metal Conduit

Normally, you would probably use an underground feeder cable to feed the wires out to the shed. However, if you use a metal conduit to protect your electrical wires, you won’t have to spend as much time digging. Metal conduits only require you to dig a trench that is 6 inches deep, as opposed to a 12-inch or 18-inch deep trench that would normally require an underground feeder cable. Installing a metal conduit could save you hours of time, especially if the earth that you’re digging through is especially tough or rocky.

Mounting and Through-the-Wall Work

Once you have your trench dug and prepped with your underground feeder cable or metal conduit, you’ll be ready to do some mounting and through-the-wall work. Feed your metal conduit out of the ground and into an LB fitting. Then, drill a hole in the shed wall that will fit the joint conduit and LB. They should connect to a 4x4 metal box that you’ve attached inside the shed using screws. You can use a length of some electrical metallic tubing to make that connection. Run the conduit and LB through with the electrical metallic tubing until they can be secured and connected inside the metal box.

Prep the Conduit

Once your LB is attached to the shed, make sure that you have the bend measured so that you can accurately place the conduit into the shed. It can be helpful to mark the conduit to measure where it will bend. Then, use a conduit bender to bend the conduit 90 degrees. Attach the bent end of the conduit to the LB. This will allow you to finish the previous step with the metal box attachments. Then, go back through the different parts of the conduit throughout the yard. If there are any parts of the conduit that need to be attached, make sure that you secure them above ground before you bury them. Attach the end of the conduit to the house in a similar manner using an LB. Seal the attachment with some duct seal rope to keep any water exposure from entering.

Pull Wires and Finishing Touches

To finish off the attachment, you’ll need to uncover the LB and feed some fish tape into the conduit. Then, loop a length of stranded wires with the fish tape and wrap the length and loop of the wire with electrical tape. This will allow you to pull the wire through the length of the conduit. It can be helpful to use someone at the opposite end to help you to feed the wire through the entire distance.

Once you’ve fed it through to the metal box on the shed end, leave at least 12 extra inches of wire on either side of the attachments. Then, connect the exposed wires to a switch inside the shed. From there, you’ll be able to attach wires and run power to any other electrical attachments you’ll have in your shed, such as outlets or lighting.

So, next time you are hired to run electricity to an exterior building such as a shed, remember the tips found in this article. This task might require an electrician’s assistant for certain steps–an extra set of hands is always very helpful. With the help of an electrician, you can successfully install electricity in your customer’s shed or apartment in a reasonable amount of time.

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