Another! Running Electrical to Shed Project & Questions.

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Old 05-27-12, 07:17 PM
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Exclamation Another! Running Electrical to Shed Project & Questions.

Hi everyone,

Very new here and normally I wouldn't ask how to build a house or how to fix anything. I'll admit I hate to swallow my own pride but I guess I'm going to on this one and don't mind admitting. It's something I'm not good at or know how.

Anyways, just to start off I do apologize for opening another threat as I did Google search and found plenty of information but nothing that I could connect to. I get easily lost in 20amps, 20A circuits and 15 breakers talk.

That said, I live in NY state and I've recently completed building a nice shed in my backyard. YAY! Now my shed is 85 feet away from my house. I've build this shed to use it as my office. Now here is what I've learned, a lot of people ask questions when it comes to electrical as to how many outlets, what you are going to run, etc.. Let me answer that so your answers or suggestions will be better.

WHAT'S IN MY SHED!
In my shed I will have two computers, 2 monitors, a printer, a phone, a light fixture and maybe one day an air conditioner if this place gets really hot (however in the mid summer being in the shed it doesn't get that hot but just in case). I'd like to have two outlets and a light switch.

WHAT I WANT TO DO!
I want to run power to my shed for everything I've listed above. Sure I might add an extra phone or printer down the road.

I NEED HELP WITH!
I need help in figuring this all out. I've search and found a place online that shows how to do this, if you search in Google: Electrical Wiring: How to run Power Anywhere you will find what I mean or click here; Electrical Wiring: How to Run Power Anywhere | The Family Handyman

So, question number one off the bat, is the above FamilyHandyMan enough for me to use ?

IF NOT EVEN CLOSE CORRECT,
what do you suggest I get and how I run it.

MY QUESTIONS SO FAR:
  1. How deep do I dig my trench with a rigid metal conduit can it be 6 inches below ground? If not, how deep should I go
  2. What type of wire should I use ? 12 guage or 10 guage
  3. Do I use a disconnect box in the shed or breaker box in the shed?
  4. Do I install a breaker box next to my main box in the house?

I don't want to go all crazy out with any of it and hope someone can tell it as it should be done. If the FamilyHandyMan tutorial I can use and go with, that is what I will do. If you suggest another step by step I will follow it.

Thank you in advance and I hope I haven't missed any details.

A.J.
 
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Old 05-27-12, 08:06 PM
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So, question number one off the bat, is the above FamilyHandyMan enough for me to use?
No. Running rigid is a learned skill, and you don't need it. Either underground feeder cable (Type UF-B) or PVC conduit will do what you need at less cost and effort.
 
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Old 05-27-12, 08:07 PM
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The very first thing for you to do is to purchase the book, Wiring Simplified and read it cover to cover. I don't state this to be mean but right now you don't have a clue as to what you are doing and electricity is an equal opportunity killer. You don't even have enough knowledge to know what questions to ask.

I will give you some answers to your questions but remember, all I or anyone else on this forum can do is give answers in accordance with the National Electrical Code, also known as NEC. Your LOCAL Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), meaning your local electrical inspection agency may have added to or deleted from the National code and you MUST follow your LOCAL code. This also means that you will need to apply for, and receive a permit and have the work inspected.

Now for some quick and incomplete answers.

1. Rigid conduit is difficult for a DIYer to use. Unless you have no choice in burying it at the proper depth or your local code requires rigid I strongly suggest that you use PVC conduit buried with a minimum of 24 inches over the top of the conduit. If you cannot bury this deep then using a minimum of either two or four inches (I forget which) of concrete all around the conduit is acceptable.

2. !0 and 12 gauge refers to the size of the wire, not the type. In conduit you need to use individual conductors with type THWN insulation. For your project I would use only copper conductors. I would use nothing smaller than #8 and more likely #6 considering the distance and what you want to run.

3. You will need more than two circuits in my opinion so you will need a circuit breaker panel. You will also need at least one eight foot long driven ground rod, connected to the panel with no less than #6 copper wire. The circuit breaker panel should be a Main Breaker model to incorporate the required disconnect OR be a style that allows for no more than six total circuits.

4. The power to the shed will come from the Service (main) circuit breaker panel in the house. Whether or not you will need to add an additional panel at the house depends on if you have space available in the service panel for an additional 2-pole circuit breaker.
 
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Old 05-27-12, 10:04 PM
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Geez really a #6 or #8 for a shed? Isn't #6 for 100a .... Why do I need that much power. If I'm right I got two of these running into the house that powers more then the shed will ever ha e to do.

I'm sorry if I'm sounding rude but reading books, ill just hire someone out if I need to power that much into a simple shed. I just don't have time for books. Why would a website speak about the Codes and suggest to go with their step by step. I'm referring to the link I posted in my original post

No offense once again. I'm just looking for someone who done this, simple, step by step and can help out. I don't need to do a national grid hookup with a meter
 
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Old 05-27-12, 11:49 PM
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No, #6 is NOT for 100 amperes. #6 copper THWN wire is rated for a maximum of 65 amperes and I actually recommended #8 which is good for 50 amperes. Maybe you could "get away" with smaller wire but then when you add an air conditioner and/or electric heater along with the television, stereo and third computer you might have voltage drop issues.

Laser printers should not be on the same circuit as the cpu. The A/C and heater should not be on the same circuit as the cpu. Having lights on a separate circuit from the receptacles is just good practice in case you trip a circuit breaker on the receptacle circuit you are not left in the dark.

As for not having time for books...never enough time (or money) to do the job correctly but always time and money to do it over. Spending a few hours reading a book could save you tens of hours in doing the job wrong and having to do it over to say nothing of the money wasted doing the job incorrectly. And god forbid someone (even you) got hurt or killed due to your not following accepted practice and codes.

But go ahead and do whatever your little heart desires. You will anyway.
 
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Old 05-28-12, 01:37 AM
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Hi Catbones, inside and outside your pipe is a wet location. I.e. Your pipe will fill with water. So, dig below the frost line and worry about rust. All depths in the code are to the top of the pipe. 1/2" RMC is at least a 7" trench. If your frost line is over 18" go with pvc, it's much easier to work with and 18" to the top of the pipe is PVC depth anyway. They make all kinds of rust resistent RMC including aluminum(no rust.) how wet is your soil? After all that digging don't waste your time with anything less than 3/4" pipe and #10 copper with a printed W in its code ( like THWN). Four wires: two hots, neutral and ground, all wires colored correctly. Or like Ray said, 10-3 with ground UF-b, but that needs a 22" or 24" trench. Use a breaker box outside the shed. For your heavy loads like AC, buy 240 volt units. Run your CPUs off a UPS with power conditioner. If the main house panel has two empty slots, your done with a two pole thirty amp breaker. If no slots, take off the main panel cover and post some pictures for a work around. Or post a picture of your outside meter/service entrance. Good luck.
 

Last edited by Glennsparky; 05-28-12 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 05-28-12, 05:55 AM
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If it was my shed, I'd want 30 amps to feed present and future requirements.

One of the pros will chime in to make sure I'm correct here, but as I understand it ...

If the shed is 85 feet from the house, we can assume at least a 100-foot run from panel to sub-panel, which means 200 feet of wire there & back. Voltage drop at that distance for 10-gauge wire is over 6%. Code recommends a maximum of 5%, which would mean using 8-gauge wire (approximately 4% drop).
 
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Old 05-28-12, 07:01 AM
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Voltage drop is variable based on the loading of the circuit. A 100 watt load will be fine but a 20 amp load might not.

Based on the description I think a 30 amp feeder run to a subpanel would provide plenty power for the office shed unless the OP is running some PCs with monster power supplies.
 
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Old 05-28-12, 01:56 PM
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No offense once again. I'm just looking for someone who done this, simple, step by step and can help out.
Just helped a friend do a project similar to this over the winter. I think 30 amps is cutting it pretty close and would recommend going to #8 THHN/THWN, one size larger, with 1" PVC conduit 24" deep. By going one size larger (#8s) you can also increase the circuit breaker from your proposed 30 amp breaker to 50 amps (like Furd suggested). If you ever need a heater out there you'll be glad you did. PVC conduit is cheap, go with the 1" for just pocket change more and pulling the wire is a breeze. You can use galvanized steel heavy wall conduit (RMC), but I wouldn't. Even contractors in your area wouldn't. Why spend all the extra money on steel conduit to do it the way it was done 50 years ago when PVC is the material of choice? I'd also install a second conduit, probably 3/4", for communications. By the way, Family Handyman magazine uses a lot of 50 year old technology in their instructions and they don't always get the codes right, not the best source for accurate instruction.
 
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Old 06-01-12, 06:08 AM
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Not wanting to disagree with the pros here... but if it were me, I would probably just run what's called a multi-wire branch circuit (MWBC). It would provide you two 20A circuits, which in my opinion, would be enough for a couple lights, computer, small AC, etc. It doesn't give you a lot of upgrade capability in the future, but it's easier to figure out and install.

You would start with a 2-pole 2A breaker in your main panel. Then run 12/3 (that's 12ga wire, with three conductors (Hot/Hot/Neutral + ground) out of the house, 24" underground, then back up into the shed. I would use PVC conduit to protect the wire when it's above ground going into the house/shed, but you don't need it underground.

Once you get into the shed, it needs to go to a disconnect, that would be a simple 2-pole switch or AC disconnect (whichever is easier/cheaper). At that point, it would branch out to the various switches, receptacles and lights.

All in all, you could probably do it for about $150-200, with the most expensive part being the wire.

As I said, it doesn't give you as much power out there as the other options, but it doesn't sound like you'll be running multiple computers, a huge laser printer or AC, etc.
 
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Old 06-01-12, 04:23 PM
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just run what's called a multi-wire branch circuit (MWBC).
I'm pretty sure any receptacles out in a shed should be GFCI protected. Not sure how to make that work on a MWBC.
 
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Old 06-01-12, 05:19 PM
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Putting GFCI receptacles on a MWBC is easy, just make the split to two circuits BEFORE the GFCI. A GFCI only "looks" at the load side for balanced currents on hot and neutral.
 
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Old 06-01-12, 05:50 PM
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I'm sorry if I'm sounding rude but reading books, ill just hire someone out if I need to power that much into a simple shed. I just don't have time for books.
Yes. Hire someone. Anybody who isn't willing to educate themselves on how to do something shouldn't be doing it. You clearly can't be bothered with being educated.
 
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Old 06-01-12, 05:57 PM
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Something else that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is that if you run a wired telephone, Ethernet, cable TV or wired intercom to the shed you may NOT run these wires through the same conduit carrying the electric power. Best to run a separate conduit as far from the electrical as the size of the ditch allows but at any rate, six inches apart.
 
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Old 06-01-12, 06:29 PM
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Had that covered Furd, but just called it communications. Didn't elaborate on exactly what communications could be.

I'd also install a second conduit, probably 3/4", for communications
 
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