Running Power to storage shed.

doorguy06January 9, 2008

I built a 14x14ft storage shed with a loft and small work bench in my back yard and want to run power out to it. My plan is to have two lights and two electrical outlets in it.

My house is about 50 ft from the shed with my main circuit panel in the basement. I am planning on drilling a whole through the 2x6 above my foundation and running the wire from the panel directly outside. Once outside I have a two foot drop to the ground.

My questions are, how far do I have to bury the wire and do I have to run the wire through two feet of conduit (or however you spell that) into the ground?

My other idea was to install another electrical outlet on the back of my house and wire an extension cord with two male ends. Wire my shed with a female end on the wire and use an extension cord to power it up when I need to.

I would prefer to just flip a switch, however a couple of electricians I have talked to recommended I use the extension cord method.

I plan to run it on its own breaker so that I can flip it off at night in case the shed got broke into, the crooks atleast would not have light.

Any feed back or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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Ron Natalie

The wire must be approved for direct burial and protected from physical damage.

DO NOT MAKE A KLUDGE MALE-TO-MALE EXTENSION CORD. Extremely unsafe!!! No real electrician would recommend that. You've got to be kidding.

An option would be to put a MALE plug on the shed and plug it into a regular extension cord. Even that is somewhat problematic.

The breaker is important for safety MORE than putting crooks in the dark.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 5:15PM
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bigbird_1

" how far do I have to bury the wire and do I have to run the wire through two feet of conduit (or however you spell that) into the ground?"

Don't even think about the male-male extension cord.
If you don't mind digging a trench 12"-18" deep (depending on your jurisdiction) I'd recommend 3/4" PVC with individual #12 THWN wires run to your shed. The reason I suggest 3/4" and not 1/2" is that in the future if you need another cc't you can still pull another set of wires through it. From the house you need an LB, then go straight down to the trench. At the shed another LB brings the conduit in. In the shed at the first device box (switch or receptacle, doesn't matter) transition back to 12/2 NM. Use a single 20A breaker in the panel.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 6:09PM
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doorguy06

No I am not kidding. I have asked 3 electricians that I have run into on different job sites. Maybe they misunderstood what I was telling them about making the extesnion cord anyway........... now I know not to do that.

The wire is UF 12/2 and is grey in color and is approved for direct burial. So how far underground? 3 feet?

Thanks for clearing up what a breaker is for also, I have learned something today.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 6:10PM
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bigbird_1

If you want to go direct burial you'll still need an LB at both the house and shed and use 3/4" PVC. The PVC needs to extend down almost to the base of the trench. Don't bend the cable 90 degrees from the bottom of the PVC but make a gentle loop and then go horizontal. Depth for direct burial is usually 24". Check your local code requirement.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 6:18PM
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doorguy06

Thank you bigbird.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 6:40PM
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gilshultz

In my opinion the plastic conduit is the best solution. With that most places have no minimum burial depth, makes it much easier to install. I would go with the 3/4" or larger but add a second, someday you may want to add a TV, intercom, etc. The plastic conduit is cheap and can be bent if you heat it with a hot air gun (~ 15" section for a 90 bend). takes a few minutes to get it nice and soft. The color of it should not change, if it does you got it to hot.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 7:02PM
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bigbird_1

"In my opinion the plastic conduit is the best solution. With that most places have no minimum burial depth, makes it much easier to install."

You are posting wrong information.....again!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 7:08PM
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Ron Natalie

Gil,
Most places go by the NEC. You better read Art. 300.5. There is most definitely burial depth limitations. Just heating up a conduit with a heat gun until it is nice and soft is not a legal way of making a bend (nor is it particularly effective).

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 7:19PM
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gilshultz

You are correct, I miss typed the answer, it should have said most places have "a" not "no", thanks.

You got my curiosity up and for grins I checked the state code with the NEC, they are different. NEC 24", State 12".

The heat gun works for me but you have to be careful. It takes about 10 minutes to make the bend with the proper radius etc. I bent 1/2, 3/4 and 1" plastic conduit this way. I believe Greenly (green box) makes several heating devices to heat the plastic conduit so it can be bent, that is what the contractors were using next door.

I made the assumption he would rather spend the time making the bend rather then purchasing a tool. You can also buy manufactured bends.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 9:54PM
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petey_racer

Gil, the burial depth (NEC T300.5) for PVC is 18", NOT 24".

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 10:19PM
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gilshultz

The best thing is to ask the inspector.

We have three different depths suggested, all meeting a code of some type somewhere.

The NEC is a dynamic document and does change over time, every three years. The current issue is 2008. That probably has not been adopted in many communities, and or they also have there own code.

Since the code is a minimum specification and the conduit was buried 24" it met all the codes referenced here.

I never got in trouble by asking the inspector. It is fairly hard for him/her not to pass what he/she said to do.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:40PM
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bikerbob7

All I want to know IS: what size wire to run from my main panel to a shop 175 feet from there from a 50 amp. breaker. NOBODY addresses this. This is the MOST critical element in wiring. I can dig a trench---I have proper conduit-----I can pull wire-----I can hook it up. Just stop telling me to make sure of the proper size. GIVE ME THE FRIGGIN' SIZE. Stop dancing around. RGB

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 10:33AM
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gblentz

>GIVE ME THE FRIGGIN' SIZE. Stop dancing around.

Just curious... do you normally get results with people using this approach?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 12:55PM
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jmvd20

"GIVE ME THE FRIGGIN' SIZE. Stop dancing around. RGB"

No problem!

500 MCM Copper wire paralleled for the 2 hots with a single 500 MCM Copper wire for the neutral. Also dont forget a 2/0 Copper wire for the Ground.

Hope that helps!!!!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 4:27PM
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bigbird_1

"All I want to know IS: what size wire to run from my main panel to a shop 175 feet from there from a 50 amp. breaker. NOBODY addresses this. This is the MOST critical element in wiring. I can dig a trench---I have proper conduit-----I can pull wire-----I can hook it up. Just stop telling me to make sure of the proper size. GIVE ME THE FRIGGIN' SIZE. Stop dancing around. RGB"

You're not even the OP. Doorguy06 is. Start a new post, be a little more civil, and you might get a civil answer.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 5:56PM
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steve_fl

Is this place in California-on a fault line?
The shed has moved and additional 125 feet from the house!
It started out at 50 feet away, now it is 175 feet away-
If it keeps moving like this, better make sure you put in some good size service loops to make sure you have enough wire as it keeps moving!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 7:11PM
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pharkus

bikerbob7, I'd recommend two #14 bare conductors, a minimum of 30 feet off the ground, spaced several feet apart. Install a pole transformer in your basement, operated in reverse, to step the voltage from 240 up to about 20kV, then step it back down on the other end - or just buy 20kV appliances for your shed.

Since everyone now knows you're a total dick, if you want a real, valid answer to your question, you might want to create a new account before you post a new thread in a much more civil way.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 7:36PM
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ov_cabaniss_yahoo_com

Have an electrician do the work...its the safer option:) just answering based on what im reading.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 10:49PM
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cdub198122_msn_com

I have the same situation only I have 10-2 wire ran to a outlet outside my house, I'm just going to run a bigger extention cord to shed.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 6:58PM
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DavidR

I'm just going to run a bigger extention cord ...

Funny you should mention that.

Many years ago I started having trouble with the underground conduit to my detatched garage (in a different house from the one I have now). Throwing the inside 3-way switch for the garage light in one direction would blow the fuse. It was winter and the wires in the conduit were type R in a lead jacket (I kid you not; this was probably installed in the 1930s or so) and just wouldn't pull.

I didn't feel like beating my head against the problem just then, so for a while I just left the inside switch in the "right" position. Then one day I found the fuse blown again, so I disconnected all the wiring to the garage.

However, I still needed light and a battery charger out there (remember, this was winter), so I laid a 14-3 SJ extension cord under a shrub, and ran it across maybe 8" of lawn to the garage. When I needed power in the garage, I plugged it in at the house.

I intended to use this awful lashup only until spring, but you know these things go sometimes. :\

Anyway, probably 4 or 5 years later, I plugged in my power cord one day and it went pfffft. When I looked under the shrub, I found that the cord had sunk into the earth. I pulled it up, and the rubber jacket and conductor insulation literally peeled off as I did.

Surprise! There's a really good reason that extension cords are approved only for temporary use.

I trenched the back yard a couple of weeks later.

The story has no moral. :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 1:58AM
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claymation_cville_net

Male to male cords are referred to as "suicide plugs" for a reason! :-)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 10:37AM
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Ron Natalie

I'm glad you came by six months after the conversation was over to say that.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 2:51PM
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ashburn.steven.sa

could anyone reccomend what size wire i need to run to a building that will have a frig, microwave, maybe an ac and a few lights. the distance is 250 feet

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Ron Natalie

You should start a separate thread. You'll need to explain what size AC we're talking about.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 2:34PM
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ashburn.steven.sa

i dont know what size AC wire. whats a seperate thread. i need to know what size to use for the distance im running it and what im using the power for.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 7:36PM
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bcarlson78248

For ashburn.steve.sa.
I also recommend you start a separate thread. And in the new post you need to provide more information.
It sounds you have these circuits:
20 amp - microwave
20 amp - refrigerator
15 amp - lighting
xx amp - AC - a typical 11k BTU room AC would need a 20 amp 120 volt circuit, but we don't know what you have in mind
20 amp - convenience outlets, with GFCI

Once you provide this load info, I'm sure someone can recommend a sub-panel and the requirement for the line running across your yard. Don't be surprised if it requires a larger gauge wire than you see in many amp/wire-size tables, since it will need to be up-sized to compensate for the 250 foot run.

Bruce

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 7:44AM
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Ron Natalie

Go to the top
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/wiring and use the Post a message down at the bottom of the list of topics rather than continuing to follow up here.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 9:09AM
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