It’s electric! Boogie woogie!
But, all old song references aside, having electric power in your shed or garden house is a real essential. You’ll need it to serve as a closer power outlet to the yard for gardening and maintenance. On the inside, it’s great for space heaters, good lighting, and any projects you don’t want to run on battery power alone. (Check out our article on lighting here!)
Use this article to decide if you want to hire a professional, or take on this project yourself.
Know before you start:
- Extension cords are not the solution! They break down over time, and could be damaged by gardening or weather. Don’t expose your family to electrical shock.
- Depending on your area and power needs, you may need a permit. These take a little time to obtain, but expensive ones are only about $75.
- Check your local laws. Running power to a shed might change it’s standing from “temporary structure” to “permanent structure” and this could affect your property taxes.
- Call 811 to check where your underground lines are. Be safe!
Hire an electrician or general contractor to do the work for you! This is by far the safest option. They may run the power from your house, or install a new meter depending on the distance you need to cover. It varies, but a good ballpark cost is $2,000 to $5,000. Plan to banish kids and pets from the yard for 1-2 days while the technicians finish their work. Call around and see who will give you an estimate. Look into apps like HomeAdvisor (https://www.homeadvisor.com/), Thumbtack (https://www.thumbtack.com/), and Fumble (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dk.appdev.fumble) to get connected to professionals. If you use these, some companies will give you estimates for cheap or for free!
Want to get your hands in the dirt?
Great! You’ll get some amazing experience doing this project yourself, plus neighborhood bragging rights. It’s harder to ballpark this cost, depending on the materials and tools you already have, but it’s a good guess to assume $2.20 for every foot of buried conduit, plus about $25 for LB fittings and miscellaneous hardware. Set aside 3-7 days to work on this project, depending on your experience and the amount of time you have to devote to it each day.
Do your research before you start! Know your local laws and don’t forget to call 811 to mark any unseen obstacles.
Save yourself some time by assembling all the materials you’ll need before you start. If you’re an experienced DIYer, you’ll probably have most of these.
- Tape measure
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Drill/driver, cordless
- Torpedo level
- Drill bit set
- 1-in. drill bit
- Pipe wrenches, 2
- Wire stripper/cutter
- A mattock, pipe bender, fish tape, and leather gloves.
Not required, but renting a Ditch Witch will save your time and your back. Otherwise, you’ll need a good shovel.
- RMC (rigid metal conduit)
- EMT (electrical metallic tubing)
- Fittings (connectors, LBs)
- Electrical boxes
- Stranded electrical wires, 2 (white and black)
- Wire connectors
- Conduit straps
- Duct seal
- Electrical tape
Looking for more resources? Check out https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring/electrical-wiring-how-to-run-power-anywhere/view-all/ for a very thorough guide–it’s our main source for this article! Also look into videos of DIYers running their power and double check them for safety measures and simplicity.
Running power can make the difference between having a cluttered shed you never use, or creating a prized wood shop, workspace, or garden house retreat. Invest your time and money well to take your BetterShed to be the best shed for you!