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Electrical Wire and Cable

Running Power from a House to a Shed

How do I go about running power from my house out to a shed? Guide for Sizing Electrical Wire for a Shed, Conduit Size and the Depth of the Trench, Calculate Line Loss and Voltage Drop, Installing a Ground Rod.

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Sizing Electrical Wire for a Shed
Electrical Question: How do I go about running power from my house out to a shed?


This electrical wiring question came from: Steve in Virginia.

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

How to Install Electrical Power for a Shed

Installing Electrical Power from a House Panel to a Shed

The following is a Step-by-Step example of how to install an electrical circuit for a shed.

  1. Size of the Panel
    Determine the amount of power that will be required or the maximum rating of the shed panel. The electrical circuits of the shed panel must be defined which will have impact on the design of the circuit.
  2. PVC Conduit or Direct Burial
    Decide if the circuit will be installed into a PVC conduit or if Direct Burial cable will be used. If the size of the panel may be increased in the future then a larger conduit should be installed to provide ample capacity for the wire conductors.
  3. Circuit Wire Type
    Decide which wire type of wire or cable will be used to use for the panel circuit, and if the conductors will be aluminum or copper. Special attention should be given to the specific circuit that will be connected to the shed panel. If there will be any motor loads then it may be best to install copper wire, or increase the size of the panel to allow for the additional current that is required when motors start. Specific information should be identified for all equipment with electric motors.
  4. Calculate Line Loss and Voltage Drop
    The length of the cable run from the home panel to the shed panel must be factored in to calculate the size of the cable, which will also depend on the type of insulation and if the conductors will be aluminum or copper.
  5. Conduit Size and the Depth of the Trench
    Once the cable size and type have been determined then the specific conduit size may be determined and the depth of the trench. Here is where soil conditions will be a factor because if the required depth of the trench will not be possible then the conduit type will need to be changed to electrical rigid pipe and direct burial cable will not be allowed. Optional exceptions and allowances are provided in some cases such as this where the main panel circuit is protected by a GFCI circuit breaker.
  6. Ground Rod
    A ground rod may be driven at the location of the shed, therefore a ground wire will not be required with the panel circuit from the house panel.


See more about Electrical Wiring for a Shed Electrical Panel

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Running Power from a House to a Shed”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Well Daniel,
    Is it all on GFCI, is the wiring protected or is or exposed, was the feeder cable buried deep enough and was it type UF, and most of all did you do this with a permit and was it inspected?
    You see, I have been provided with very limited information, and it is not my place to make this decision.
    The bottom line about if your project is safe or correct rests with your local building department and inspector who can see from their position what I cannot from my position.
    I hope you understand.

  2. daniel aguirre says:

    I have tied from my pool box to a shed 80 feet away. Ran 10/2 with ground to the shed and using a 15 amp c/b in the pool box. I’m powering five connection boxes and two 8 foot lights, is this a safe connection without a c/b box in the shed.