Running Electricity to Your Shed
Whether it's cold or hot, having a workspace with A/C or heat can be very useful and comfortable. This project may seem daunting at first, but with the proper help and recommendations, this project is quite simple. Although, there are some setbacks to a project like this, as you have to consider the power source and possibly have to go through the city for a permit. While it seems like a hassle, in the end it's totally worth it! Not only does this shed upgrade make your life easier and more comfortable, but this can also add resale value to your house. Here's a comprehensive list of everything that will go into running power to your shed.
Getting the Proper Permits
Depending on the area you live in, this step may be completely optional and will make your life a whole lot easier. If you do live in an area where permits are required, then let's discuss that. First off, always do your research or call your local building office because you do not want to pull permits if they are not necessary. This step is by far the most boring, but it can save you a lot of money and time if you do it before you start your project. Refusing to get the permits can cause delay, as you will now have to wait for the city to respond to you and send you what you need. Working with a city can be frustrating, as they can take a huge chunk of time for something as simple as a permit, but don't be discouraged from that. Another motivating factor to get the proper permits is you can avoid fines. And money saved is money earned.
The cost is what can be daunting for most. This type of project has no set price tag, as there are many factors that differ throughout cities or houses. Here are the three main costs to consider: How far is your shed from your house (if you decide to run power from the main panel)? What materials go into running power to a shed? Can I do this myself or should I hire a professional? All of those questions are valid, so here are the answers.
Lets answer two questions with one response. What about the distance and material costs? Trying to determine the cost of supplies these days is tricky, as everything is constantly fluctuating. The main materials used for this project is: conduit and wire. It's simple, but depending on the method you choose on how to get electricity to your shed can be costly. The method that requires conduit and wire is if you decide to run power from your main house panel to your shed. If you want to calculate a portion of the project, then there will be the costs of some materials below. The prices for PVC conduit differ, but here is the prices from the Home Depot website according to size:
1/2 inch - $8.35 per 10 feet
3/4 inch - $10.98 per 10 feet
1 inch - $14.40 per 10 feet
Types of Power Sources
There are three ways to approach the source of electricity. Of course, some are more cost friendly than others and may require less materials but you may need to consider if you will need a professional electrician to come and do the work for you. The three main power sources for your shed may come from: A generator, solar panels, or your house's main panel. Lets go into more detail for each of those methods now.
A generator can easily be done by yourself without hired help, which can save you money. While that may appeal to you, there are many risk factors you may want to consider. Generators pose as a high fire hazard, which will ultimately cost you more money in the end and leave you without a shed. Another health risk that comes with a generator is the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. So the generator may seem like the most cost friendly and easiest to install without professional help, there are many things you may want to consider before installing a generator.
Solar is a great way to provide energy to your house with the environment in mind. Although, solar may be pricey for some and in the end, it may not even be worth it. Solar panels and the amount of electricity they provide is entirely dependent on how much sunlight they receive, which can be useless if your shed is under trees or another shaded location. You will also have to hire professionals to come and do the work for you, which may not be ideal if you have a budget. But, if you have the money and your shed is in a good location, then solar is a great path to choose.
Running Power from Main Panel
This method is what most will choose, as it is the most reliable. Running power from your main panel may be the best option, as it is not likely to effect the amount of electricity going to your shed and instead provide a steady flow straight to your shed. This way will also go back to the cost of PVC and wire though, so consider how far your shed is from your panel and determine if this will be the most cost efficient for you. Another determining factor for your power run, is how much power your panel can hold. If you have a 60-100 watt panel, then it may be time for an upgrade. If you have a 200 watt panel, then you will be able to support a sub panel. You may be able to do this work independently, but hiring a professional is recommended.
Adding electricity to your panel is a great way to add value to your home while also providing a great workshop or office. Considering the different ways to run power to a shed, this project may be within your reach!