Wiring your shed with electric from your house adds another dimension to your storage and work area. Shed wiring allows you to place lighting throughout the shed and also adds power for your tools so that you do not have to run extension cords from your home to your shed. There are several strategies to wire a shed, such as a single circuit cut or installing a feeder panel.
Single Circuit Cut
A single circuit cut is one wire running from a single circuit breaker in the main service panel with the other end terminating in a standard light switch. In this way, all of the power in the shed can be turned off with the flick of a switch. Generally, outlets need to be 18 inches above the ground and must be GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected.
Feeder Panel Installation
A feeder panel can be added near the main service panel with connections to a pair of circuit breakers in the main service panel. The feeder panel then powers a subpanel located in your shed which, in turn, feeds the individual branch circuits--lights, power outlets, etc.
Wiring Installation Tips
Before you start to wire your shed, draw up a plan of your shed on graph paper or on a computer program such as Visio so that you know where to place the outlets. Ensure that the final result meets the requirements for building codes in your neighbourhood and check with your local building authority to acquire the necessary building permits needed.
Electricity is dangerous, so you may want to hire a contractor to do the work for you. At the very least, a professional can tell you if there will be a power drop based on the distance of the shed away from your home, and if a larger gauge wire would be needed. Be aware that if you do the work yourself and something happens to your home or shed, your insurance will likely not cover the damage.
Another consideration is whether you want to run the power above or beneath the ground. Above ground installation will require an entrance head and support cabling for the wires, all of which must be at least 12 feet off the ground (18 feet over a driveway). For underground installation, you must use either direct burial wire UF (underground feeder) or USE (underground service entrance cable), and the wire should be run 24 inches below ground, preferably in a conduit for maximum protection.
Regardless of the installation method you choose, you should have some experience working with electric service, including the types of conduits, outlets and wiring gauges that are optimal for your specific layout.