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Running electrical and data to a temporary outdoor shed on rented property

Running electrical and data to a temporary outdoor shed on rented property

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  #1  
Old 03-21-14, 05:15 PM
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Running electrical and data to a temporary outdoor shed on rented property

Hi - first post. Please let me know if I need to add more info.

I live in Monmouth, Oregon in a rental house. I've decided I'd like to build a 10x14 shed in my backyard on a floating foundation, to which my landlord has (verbally) agreed. I'm trying to put together a full plan that I can submit to him to get a final, written permission, and then get whatever permits etc. I need from the city, and hire out whatever work I have to hire out. The big factor is that I'm trying to make this something that I can disassemble and reassemble when I eventually move to property of my own.

I want to run underground electrical and Ethernet to this shed (about 20-30' from the house), but I'm wondering a few things about how I should go about doing that:
  1. Does anyone know what I am not allowed to do as a tenant? I'm pretty sure that any connection to the house electrical system would have to be done by a professional electrician. But can I do the work of running the electrical and data lines to the shed, and can I wire the shed (with proper permits)?
  2. A friend of mine suggested just having a 50A RV outlet installed on the outside of the house and then powering the shed sub-panel with a long RV cable that would sit on the ground along the perimeter of the property. Since the shed isn't really permanently installed on the property it would essentially be like having an RV in the yard. This sounds sketchy to me, so I'd rather not go this direction. If anyone has thoughts on that feel free to share.
  3. I've read a number of other posts about running underground electrical and I'm thinking I'll run the 120V as individual THWN conductors in metal conduit and a separate (metal? PVC?) conduit with waterproof Cat5 or Cat6 for Ethernet, both at 12" deep. Is there a minimum spacing I have to have between these?
  4. How should I plan this so that I can eventually disconnect the shed when it is disassembled and moved? Do I put in some sort of buried, sealed, junction box right next to the shed? Or maybe when I move I could just pull the wire out of the conduit, dig down to the elbows on the conduits and replace them with caps. Does that sound reasonable?

Thanks for any advice.
-Randy

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  #2  
Old 03-21-14, 08:58 PM
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If you keep the shed to 100 SQFT (OR 120 SQFT in some areas - check with your building dept), you'll not need a permit for the shed.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 05:57 AM
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And if you do need one, you may not be able to obtain it since you don't own the property. The RV hook up won't be compliant, due to the length of run and exposure. What are your plans for the shed? Can you not use wireless technology as opposed to Cat5?
 
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Old 03-22-14, 07:53 AM
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Whatever your landlord agrees to, make sure it's in writing and he signs it in front of a notary. Most leases specifically lay out that capital improvements on rental properties become property of the landlord. Meaning that unless there was a written contract in place prior to construction that supersedes the clauses in the lease, the landlord can claim ownership of the shed and bar you from taking it down when you leave.

Oh and you can't run metal conduit underground. It must be PVC. An alternative is to use UF cable and direct burial Cat5.. Only problem is you can't lay them in the same trench because the power line will cause interference on the data line.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 11:23 AM
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Oh and you can't run metal conduit underground.
Is that a code "thing" in Oregon Matt ??
 
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Old 03-22-14, 11:56 AM
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Nope, 358.10(b).. You can't install metal conduit in direct contact with earth or concrete without approved corrosion protection. That means it would have to be coated in asphalt or some other protective wrap/coating before it's buried. Also AFAIK compression couplings are not watertight, and therefore can't be used in wet locations (although if sealed in asphalt that may skirt the issue) Since those two things multiply the cost/PITA factor far beyond simply using PVC, it's just easier to say it's not allowed. I can't think of any good reason to use metal conduit outside, even if you do follow protocol.

358.10 Uses Permitted.
(A) Exposed and Concealed. The use of EMT shall be
permitted for both exposed and concealed work.
(B) Corrosion Protection. Ferrous or nonferrous EMT, elbows,
couplings, and fittings shall be permitted to be installed
in concrete, in direct contact with the earth, or in areas
subject to severe corrosive influences where protected by corrosion
protection and approved as suitable for the condition.
Also considering this is the rainy PNW with lots of conifers making acid soil, it would not surprise me if it were actually banned completely.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 12:14 PM
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You made a general comment about metal conduit but galvanized pipe is an acceptable direct burial metal conduit.

If the electric was in galvanized pipe then it and the data wire could be in the same trench.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 01:14 PM
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RMC, IMC, and PVC are approved to be buried in the earth.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 05:49 PM
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And considering an RMC/IMC bender costs twice as much as an EMT bender, and is twice the PITA to bend......

Again,better to just tell him to use PVC.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 06:52 PM
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Some people do not like to, or can't, use PVC due to the 18" depth burial requirement. RMC and IMC is only required to be buried 6", except under driveways, streets, airport runways, etc. RMC and IMC are much more difficult to work with than PVC, but they can be bent with a normal EMT bender, you just need to use one size larger. (Ex: 3/4" EMT bender for 1/2" IMC)
 
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Old 03-22-14, 07:33 PM
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Would you consider building your shed on a trailer to make it be a mobile building? Then you can just use a rv pedestal.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 10:11 PM
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Except that maximum width of an RV/trailer is 8'6".
-=Phyber
 
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Old 03-22-14, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by silentquasar
Does anyone know what I am not allowed to do as a tenant?
Likely that depends on three things, #1 what your lease says you can and can't do, and #2 what the local municipal code requires to apply for permits, #3 what the owners and tenants insurance companies require for coverage.


Originally Posted by silentquasar
A friend of mine suggested just having a 50A RV outlet installed on the outside of the house and then powering the shed sub-panel with a long RV cable that would sit on the ground along the perimeter of the property.
Actually, not a bad idea. Price for a 50' RV extension cord is under $200. IIRC there are tax breaks for adding electric vehicle charging stations, (which likely includes an RV outlet) Anybody in the neighborhood have an electric car? Is there a car share organization that has electric vehicles in the area?

I ask because you're more likely to convince the landlord that this is a good idea if there is some way to re-use the improvements after you have moved on. Should also make getting a permit from the local govt a bit easier also.

If you're going to put in a pad, conduit etc, I would make sure that the electric arrangement meets standards for a hot tub.

Originally Posted by silentquasar
I'm thinking I'll run ... a separate (metal? PVC?) conduit with waterproof Cat5 or Cat6 for Ethernet,
At your distance, I would HIGHLY suggest a wireless G or N bridge to keep things simple.
Check your local thrift shop, you'll want to find at least one Linksys (blue and black) router,
make sure it will accept DDWRT firmware. Grab another router, could be linksys, or Westell.
Requires a bit of configuration, but a wireless bridge connecting house ethernet to shed ethernet may save quite a bit of aggrevation.
 
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Old 03-23-14, 03:22 AM
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With only a thirty foot span and being temporary I would be tempted to run the power overhead. If you can't use wireless for the data then that too could be run overhead. Post back if you want details.
 
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Old 03-23-14, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Furd
With only a thirty foot span and being temporary I would be tempted to run the power overhead.
I was thinking the same thing.
If the OP is running data, I assumed it's an office of some sort?
I mean, it doesn't sound like it is going to be a wood working shop that needs 30 amp service.
 
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Old 03-25-14, 11:40 PM
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Thanks!

Many thanks to everyone for their input. My schedule over the last week has been crazy so I haven't had time to sort through everything and post responses (and I badly need to get to sleep now!) but I'm hoping to get on that tomorrow. I have one other idea that might work.

Many thanks, again.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 02:56 PM
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I'm going to try to reply to a number of the comments and questions posed, and ask a few of my own.
  1. I should have mentioned the purposes of this building up-front. I'm hoping to make an office/studio space. I think I can get away with 30A if I don't use too big of space heater. I can currently see using the following, with conservative guesstimates on current draw:
    1. Lighting--Mostly LED and CFL, probably. A few amps, at most?
    2. Desktop PC with a pair of 18" LCD monitors. No giant graphics card or anything--max 400W probably. - ~4A
    3. Medium-size space heater - 750 W - ~7A
    4. Small window A/C unit (not used in conjunction with the space heater, of course!) - ~5A
    5. Accessories, small recording mixer, small recording monitors, etc. No big power amps in here. ~5A
  2. I've engaged in emails with the city building code guy and have confirmed that I can build up to 200 sq. ft. and 10 ft. average roof height without a building permit. I do know I'll need an electrical permit.
  3. By building the shed on concrete blocks (deck blocks), it is not attached to the property and I can thus remove it when I leave. So I don't think it necessarily qualifies as a "capital improvement", since it's not actually attached to the property (not considering, perhaps, the electrical connection). My month-to-month rental agreement is mum about building anything on the property. However it sounds like it would still be a good idea to put together an addendum stating that I have permission to build the shed and that it will become the landlord's if not removed from the property by the time we vacate it, and for both myself and the landlord to sign it (with a notary, perhaps?)
  4. Comments about the data connection are appreciated. It definitely sounds like a wireless connection would be easier/cheaper for data, and with today's technology I can get a fairly high-speed wireless connection. I'll do that.
  5. So I guess I have a few options for supplying power to the shed. I'll try to summarize those and post one more idea I have for comment.
    1. Trench from house to shed with conduit or buried cable. The comments about RMC and IMC are noted, esp. regarding bending. Guess I'd have to rent/borrow a bender from somewhere if I went that route. I am indeed hoping to avoid the 18" or deeper trench...
    2. Overhead wire from house to shed. How high does it have to be? Would I have to have poles with weatherheads on top at either end? The house is a single story. This definitely seems like it would meet the need to have something that would have minimal permanent impact on the house (presuming the weatherhead and wire was uninstalled when the shed is removed).
    3. RV outlet - Not the most aesthetically pleasing, but simple. I could probably have it put in so that it would be close enough to the front of the house for a future tenant to hook up an RV in the space next to the driveway.
    4. What about running conduit along the fence? I think the fence might have been erected by the neighbor, so that might be another can of worms I'd have to deal with.
  6. I'd be happy to make it all fit on a trailer, but there would be no way to get it into and out of the backyard! 5' wide gate on one side of the house and solid fence (and bushes) on the other.
  7. I've started wondering whether I'd want to put the shed further back in the yard, behind a huge fir tree. I think that would limit me to the conduit-on-the-fence option or the RV cable option, due to tree roots and limbs in the way of an underground or overhead delivery.

I'll get this figured out one way or t'other!

Thanks again for everyone's help.
 

Last edited by silentquasar; 03-27-14 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:00 PM
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It would probably be cheaper to rent a trencher than the bender. The place by me wants $125 a day for the bender, and $110 for 4 hours for the trencher.. Hell, pay a couple neighborhood kids $50 each to dig them and you'd still come out ahead.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 07:38 PM
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Why would you need a bender? Commercially bent 90 and 45 degree bends are readily available for either RMC or IMC.


Overhead wire from house to shed. How high does it have to be? Would I have to have poles with weatherheads on top at either end? The house is a single story. This definitely seems like it would meet the need to have something that would have minimal permanent impact on the house (presuming the weatherhead and wire was uninstalled when the shed is removed).
It depends on what is under the wires. I haven't looked for a while (and I'm too lazy to look now plus I don't know where my NEC is hiding) but as I recall it only needs to be eight feet above a private yard area with no vehicular traffic passing under. It might be ten feet though, I'm just not sure right now.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 10:17 PM
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I would run RMC. I wouldn't worry about making any bends. I can't see why you'd need to.

What you will need to do is cut and thread some pipe. The lead associate in the plumbing aisle at my local HD keeps a power pony set up, so I just get that done there before I leave the store if I'm doing a small job and don't have cutting heads available.

Just remember that a properly threaded pipe will disappear one inside diameter into each fitting. That means that you don't have to deduct or add anything for couplings, since they're two inside diameters long. Just keep it in mind for the first and last piece.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 09:17 AM
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Comments about the data connection are appreciated. It definitely sounds like a wireless connection would be easier/cheaper for data, and with today's technology I can get a fairly high-speed wireless connection. I'll do that.
One final other suggestion.
I'd consider just using a pair of ethernet over powerline adapters.

It's simple, one side is an electrical plug, the other is an ethernet jack.
They use the house's copper wiring for data.
Speeds are standard 10/100 and newer up to 500 megs.

I picked up an old pair of 10 meg ones at a yard sale.
You should be able to get them online for under $50 bucks.

Over a 30'-500' distance they should work fine.
I find they work great if you're on the same circuit branch.
Work so-so if you happen to be on the same leg of the power.
Poor performance if you happen to be on different legs of the panel.
(But, that's usually easy to fix simply by swapping breaker locations.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 04:31 PM
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I find they work great if you're on the same circuit branch.
Work so-so if you happen to be on the same leg of the power.
Poor performance if you happen to be on different legs of the panel.
(But, that's usually easy to fix simply by swapping breaker locations.
Because this is true of every data-over-electrical-wiring application, folks have already worked out some solutions. Here's one, for example:

HomePro CP000 X10 Signal Bridge

It doesn't look exactly the same as the one I installed for out eldest a few years ago, but the function's the same.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 05:20 PM
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Hope the people who build it aren't the people who wrote the description.
Most homes have 2-phase 220V power, which is split into 2 110V
 
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Old 03-28-14, 05:44 PM
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Hope the people who build it aren't the people who wrote the description.
They probably are. It does get annoying when companies outsource the writing alone with the manufacturing, doesn't it?
 
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