How to Run Cable Underground with PVC Conduit Part 1

What You'll Need
Building permits
PVC conduit
Drill/drill bits
PVC glue
PVC cleaner
LB fitting
Caulking gun/caulking
Electrical cable

When you are thinking about an outdoor living area, or having power to a shed, or outbuilding, you will need to run cable for the electricity to be there. Many homeowners today are adding outbuildings for a backyard office, a workshop, a place to unwind, or another area where entertaining can be done away from the main house. Getting power to these buildings means that you must run the power cable underground. The best way to do this is with a PVC conduit that runs from your main circuit to the building where you need the electricity. Running cable underground with a PVC conduit is not a difficult project, but does require work, time, and paying attention to details. If you have built a building where you want power, or are thinking of it now, here are the steps to take when running wire through an underground PVC conduit.

Step 1 - Get Building Permits

Before you begin constructing any outbuilding, or start to run power to an existing area, you will need to have building permits. Depending on where you live, this can be an easy process or a lengthy one. For the most part, you will receive your building permit within a few weeks. 

Step 2 - Call Local Utility Company

After you have the required permits for your new construction, you will then need to contact the local utility company. Running cable through a PCV conduit means that you will be digging at least 20 inches into the ground. The utility company will be able to come and tell you where there are any underground wires so you do not cut into them. Another option is to call Dig Safe for detecting any underground safety hazards. 

Step 3 - Drill Hole in Siding

In order to get power to your outbuilding you will need to connect to an empty circuit breaker. Locate an area near the circuit breaker box where you can drill a hole to run the cable through. This hole should be near the foundation, but not through it. Look for the sill and drill the hole just a few inches above it. Drill straight into the wall from the inside without moving the drill to elongate the hole. 

Step 4 - Connect PVC LB Fitting and Nipple

To protect the cable as it runs from the house to the outside conduit you will need to use a PVC nipple. This is basically a small piece of piping that slips into the hole in the siding. The LB fitting is a small PVC piece that is shaped like an 'L'. Wipe a little PVC cleaner on both fittings. After this, place some PVC glue on the outside of the nipple and the inside of the LB fitting. Connect the two together until the LB fitting is facing straight down. Slide the PVC nipple into the hole until it stops at the fitting. Spread some caulking around the perimeter of the fitting where it sets against the siding to keep rain and moisture from damaging the siding.