How to add electric power easily to an outdoor shed

Written by john walker
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How to add electric power easily to an outdoor shed
The basic shed is detached and void of any utilities. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A cloudy day creates a real burden when trying to see on the back shelves inside of a storage shed. Any type of light is welcome but most sheds do not have electric power. The quickest and easiest method of getting power to the shed is by running a semi-permanent extension cord from the nearest exterior outlet. The extension cord provides ample electricity to run a variety of standard appliances, including lights, without requiring professional assistance with the installation.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • 5 cm (2 inch) PVC pipe
  • PVC unions
  • 2 90 degree PVC elbows
  • Hacksaw
  • Extension cord
  • Drill
  • 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) drill bit
  • 5 cm (2 inch) hole-cutting drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Insulating foam

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Dig a trench 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) deep in a straight line from beneath the exterior outlet to flush with the shed.

  2. 2

    Assemble a 5 cm (2 inch) PVC pipe to fit the length of the ditch. Attach two smaller pieces of PVC to the 90 degree elbows which will sit out of the ground. The smaller pieces should be tall enough to stand vertically and extrude out of the ground 10 cm (4 inches). Make any cuts necessary to obtain the proper lengths with a hacksaw.

  3. 3

    Feed an extension cord long enough to stretch between the outlet and the shed, with plenty of additional length for slack, through one of the shorter PVC lengths, the 90 degree elbow, the long length of PVC, the second 90 degree elbow, and the last shorter length of PVC.

  4. 4

    Assemble the PVC together by joining the 90 degree elbows attached to the shorter lengths to the ends of the longer length of PVC pipe and lay the pipe in the ditch. Both shorter lengths should be standing vertically out of the ditch. Backfill the ditch with dirt.

  5. 5

    Unscrew the metal siding near the roof for a metal shed. Drill a 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) hole flush with the top of the metal siding where it joins the roof for the cord to sit in. Pull the siding away from the shed a bit and feed the end of the extension cord through the gap. Rest the cord in the 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) hole and reattach the siding.

  6. 6

    Drill a 5 cm (2 inch) hole into the side of a wooden shed at any point in the wall with a 5 cm (2 inch) hole-cutting drill bit. Feed the extension cord through the hole.

  7. 7

    Pull the cord tight on both ends leaving enough slack to plug the cord into the exterior outlet. Fill the openings in the PVC and shed with insulating foam to provide a barrier against moisture and rain.

Tips and warnings

  • Mount a surge protector on the wall plugged into the extension cord to provide you with several outlets in the shed. Most surge protectors have openings on the back that allow the unit to sit on screws drilled into studs or walls.
  • Do not leave the extension cord plugged in at all times. Exterior outlets are only protected from the elements when the cover is closed. Continuous, unmonitored electricity to the shed can create a fire hazard.

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