Electrical Wiring for a Workshop or Barn

By - Summary:

How to Plan and Install Electrical Wiring for Your Workshop or Barn: Selecting the Electric Panel Size Based Upon the Proposed Electrical Circuits.

Plan For Electrical Loads Before Wiring

Electrical Question: I want to install electrical wiring to a barn workshop about 450 feet away from the main electrical panel.

  • I will have some small equipment running off of the line.
  • There will be lights, power tools, air compressor, and stereo.
  • I was wondering what type of wire should I run, stranded 6 gauge single wire along with a common or should I just run 10/3 solid.

Thanks for any input.

Background: Brian, a Handyman from Unionville, VA.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Brian.

How to Plan Electrical Wiring for a Workshop or Barn

Application: Adding a Sub Panel for an Workshop Barn Outbuilding.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or a Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Electricians Tools including pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for installing the sub-panel.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and size of the panel and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing electrical wiring within the immediate area that may interfere with the installation of the sub panel should be identified and turned OFF and Tagged if necessary. Working in an electric panel is dangerous due to arc flash hazards and the possibility of electric shock.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring should be done through the local building authority, installed according to applicable local and national electrical codes, with a permit, and have the required inspections.

Selecting the Electric Panel Size Based Upon the Proposed Electrical Circuits

  • The required circuit size can only be determined when all the known electrical device loads are listed
  • Pay special attention the the motor load for the air compressor
  • Copper stranded electrical wire is always a better current carrying conductor for panels.
  • A voltage drop calculation must be made to factor in the 450 foot distance
  • The wire size will definitely need to be adjusted to maintain the right amount of voltage
  • Incorrect voltage drop factors can affect the voltage and electrical power which could harm electrical equipment.
  • A project such as this should be done with a permit and inspections, and is best installed by a licensed electrical contractor.

Voltage Drop Calculation

Workshop Electrical Wiring
Shop Wiring

  • This article will show you the home electrical wiring diagram for workshops.
  • Careful planning of the function of the workshop with immediate and future usage considerations will help you understand how to size your electrical service requirements.
  • This information will help you plan you plan and install electrical wiring for workshops.

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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.


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