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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?


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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 Certified Electrician or 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.

More about Wiring a Garage or Workshop

Electrical Wiring Codes
Electrical Code

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Electrical Wires

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Great for any Home Wiring Project.
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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
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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.

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The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Electrical Wiring for a Garage Workshop”
  1. 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.

  2. 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.