How can I run electric to a small shed?


I have a small tool shed with a workbench and mitersaw. One light and maybe a drill charger I wouldn’t use too many amps. I normally plug into one of the house plugs and run extension cords. I want a plug and switch to my light in the shed though. What is the safest and easiest route to get electric to it? It’s only a 40’ run. I know the basics 18” deep and conduit but I don’t have room in the main breaker panel at the meter and the one in the house is in the middle of my hallway middle of the house. Fishing wire would be a chore. Would it be easier to just drill a hole in the bottom plate and go through the wall under the house since it’s off grade or just connect to one of the unused plugs I have at the end of the house?

  5 answers
  • Toolaholic Toolaholic on Aug 25, 2018

    With a little work you could bury a run of electrical conduit, PVC not metal, underground to your shed. The PVC is fairly inexpensive. The main thing would be to protect the wiring from damage. Using a conduit would allow changes in wire if needed. The primary thing on what size of wire needed would be distance as voltage drop occurs due to resistance in the wire, the longer the distance the more drop. This would affect operation of your tools and could cause damage to them. If you know an electrician you could ask them a few questions about this and they might make suggestions. Be safe.

  • Dwp7470b Dwp7470b on Aug 25, 2018

    You can in many places avoid the hullabaloo altogether and risk of underground cablings. Just install an outdoor plug, on your porch or house, and run a Heavy duty Extension Cord to the shed from that plug. As long as you

    A. wheel up the extension or have it on a switching exterior receptacle


    B. disconnect or switch everything off in the shed when you go inside

    all is safe as can be because there is no power in the cord.

    This will endure until you save enough monies to put a 600W solar installation on the roof of the shed, about $1400, total, basis: $2.25 per watt, consumer reports.

    To add-on to this, you can integrate onto the wall inside the shed a 6 to 12 outlet power bar [Harbor freight has a 12 outlet bar with surge protection] and you will be good to go for several power tools seldom used simultaneously.

    As far as lighting goes, any Mounted Light and Fan Fixture is and always will be compatible with any standard outlet or extension cord, if you buy a Lamp Repair Kit, with 2 wire nuts and electric tape, you can legally plug it in.

    To automate that, from a smartphone, you may want to avoid wi-fi and just look into the bluetooth alternatives from Switchmate brand outlets and switches, [ is a recommended supplier: 0 defects out of 16, unlike Walmart: 2 defects out of 26 and No Return Policy Compliancy, ofyet. Bad Business at Walmart, assured. I will never shop there again. Screw the wrong man of $48, costs they $200 grand from 10000 outlets or more lifetime, I could have recommended. earned and respected my time and business 100%] so that you need not manually disconnect everything all the time, but instead 'Tap on the App' to turn off Lights, Furnaces, Heaters, Fixtures, Et cetera attached to the 12 outlet Bar.

    Tip: you can always use a Hose Storage Cabinet to stow and roll up to 4 qty extra long 40' Heavy Duty Extension Cables, to protect those from the elements and any guests at family reunions, garden weddings or cookouts.

  • Joe Jones Joe Jones on Aug 25, 2018

    i said I’m tired of using the extension cord DWP AND too278 I know all of what you said I included it in my question. I’m asking so that an electrician can possibly answer. The question is which box or route is the best while being easy too. Thanks for reading and attempting to help

  • Check local building code before you do anything. Then hire a licensed electrician. Do it up right, your homeowners insurance policy will thank you.

    • See 1 previous
    • Ok, then you know what you are doing. However I would be concerned that the panel is full. Out of my area of expertise as I always run from the main. In my case I error on the side of caution and hire a licensed electrician just in case something goes amiss, I followed code and protocol.

  • Betty or Panda Betty or Panda on Oct 21, 2018

    Hay Joe have a question how would you put up sheets of the as a like the bottom part of a wall what could you put behind it to fill on the gap Isince it's not flat??? Have spots where the cats have scratched the paper on the wall board.

    • Joe Jones Joe Jones on Oct 21, 2018

      I’m not fully getting your question but they make a mud compound to fill those holes and sand them smooth.