If you’re a Seattle area homeowner, chances are you have a shed or outbuilding on your property. And if you’re like most people, you probably want to be able to use that shed or outbuilding for more than just storing lawn equipment or holiday decorations. But in order to do that, you need to have electricity running to the shed or outbuilding. In our last post on Solar Pergolas we covered a solar option to provide electricity to an outbuilding. In this post we will discuss running wire to a shed or outbuilding to bring electricity there.

Installing electricity to a shed or outbuilding is a relatively simple process, but there are a few things you need to take into account before you get started. We’ve outlined the steps below.

Determine Your Power Needs

The first step is to figure out how much power you’ll need. This will depend on what kind of appliances and devices you plan on using in the shed or outbuilding. If you’re just planning on using it for light hobby purposes such as an art studio or for yoga or meditation, then a single light and a standard household outlet might suffice. However, if you’re planning on using the space as an office or as a workshop where you’ll be plugging in multiple devices and/or using power tools, then you’ll need to install multiple outlets and possibly even upgrade your electrical panel.

Plan the Project

Unless you are very familiar with electrical wiring, you will want to get a professional electrician involved at this point. Professional, licensed electricians, like OHM Electrical Contracting, can help you plan your project from start to finish. Your electrician will let you know if your existing panel is ok, or if you will need to upgrade it before running power to your outbuilding. They can also offer advice and planning for how to implement each of the steps of your particular project.

You will want to know how many outlets will be installed and where they will be located. If you are installing lights, you’ll need to plan where they will be located and where the switch or switches will be located. In addition to lights inside the structure, consider adding one or more lights on the exterior. This could be a motion sensor light added for safety, or it could be decorative lanterns on either side of the entry door, or anything in between. Exterior lighting on your shed or outbuilding can add function and style to the structure and it can help it blend into your landscaping.

Get Permits

You will almost certainly need a permit to run electricity to a shed or outbuilding. This is another area where your professional electrician can help you out.

A Washington State Labor and Industries website states:

Whoever is performing the electrical work is responsible to obtain a permit before starting the work. You cannot use a permit someone else has purchased.

For example: Someone you’ve hired asks you to purchase a permit for the work they are doing on your property. This is against the law, and the permit is not valid.

Dig the Trench for the Wires

Wires will most likely be run underground between your main home and the outbuilding. A trench will need to be dug to hold the wiring. Your electrician can give you advice as to where the trench should be dug and how deep it needs to be. At that point you can dig this yourself or hire a contractor to get it done. Your electrician can probably offer advice on this aspect as well.

Install Wiring, Outlets and Light Fixtures

Now it’s time for your professional electrician to do all of the electrical work. They’ll make sure everything is properly installed and up to code so that there’s no risk of fire or electrocution. As always it’s important to work with an electrical contractor you can trust.

OHM Electrical Contracting will get the job done right, on time and on budget. Contact OHM to get started!