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Electrical Wiring for a Garage Workshop

Installing an Electric Panel for a Detached Garage: Electric Codes for a Detached Garage Panel, Can I use a Main Lug Only Electric Panel Load Center for a detached garage?


Garage and Workshop Electrical Wiring
Electrical Question: Can I use a Main Lug Only Electric Panel Load Center for a detached garage?

This electrical question came from: Jim, a Property Manager from Urbana, Illinois.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Jim.

Installing an Electric Panel for a Detached Garage

Application: Installing an Electric Panel for a Garage or Workshop.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Electricians pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for the specific method of electrical service installation.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type of panel, the location, and available access to the project area.
Precaution: This is an extensive project. Working in an electric panel has shock and arc flash hazards and should be performed by a Certified Electrician or Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Notice: Installing an Electrical Panel should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Electric Codes for a Detached Garage Panel

Jim, because the garage is detached it would be best to have a main disconnect, however please see the following electrical codes that will apply to your question.

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How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
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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 Electric Wiring Projects.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Electrical Wiring for a Garage Workshop”
  1. John Engel says:

    You will need a main disconnect for the load center or panel you will install. The easy way to do this is with a convertible Main lug Main breaker setup. This is more expensive than putting in a 30 Amp load center, but it is safer and will be code compliant. Why are you just putting 2 20 Amp circuits in the garage? You are not leaving any room for upgrading the amperage. I would install a 60 Amp circuit to the garage that should take care of your needs. The #6 AWG wire will cost you about .88 a foot, but you will have enough amperage for an electric heater if you use your garage in the winter. Hope this helps you.

    • admin says:

      Excellent advice John,
      Thank you for your addition to this article. It is so very important to plan for any future circuits. The panel will be rated for a larger service, so it would be well to take advantage of that and run a larger feeder to provide more amperage.
      Dave