J.V. - Thanks for the code snippet - that answers a few questions. I have a clearer idea of what to do. When we bought the house, it had 3 structures in the backyard (the yard is 85' deep), and 2 of them had electric running to them. We tore down all except the garage, but none have elec right now. Perhaps we are grandfathered in because 2 structures had elec before? (just a shot in the dark).
Jimmy and Greg - I'd LOVE to run a 50 amp circuit to the garage, but I'm pushing the service as it is (I have 100 amp service). I just ran wire and new outlets/switches throughout the entire house and rewired much of the breaker box from knob/tube to romex. There is one spot left in the panel, and I can afford a 20/20 double breaker for the garage without overloading the house - just barely.
I may be upgrading my service sometime soon. Ugh!
The garage will be a "man cave" of sorts - containing a computer, TV, fridge, and a small photo studio. I will also use power tools in there, but not very often at all.
Lets clarify the code article. There is no issue running power to each structure. The issue is running more than one source of power to one structure. Only one per structure is allowed.
A garage used for your description is going to be quickly overcome with power requirements. That man cave is going to need AC and heat if you are to enjoy it.
You must dig a trench anyway. So why not do it now, the first time. The added expense is small in comparison to coming in later to upgrade.
For a man cave I suggest the sub panel. For a couple receptacles and a light or two, a branch circuit would be okay. Not for a man cave. What about a refrigerator to put your beer and snacks into? Now we have AC, heat and refrigeration to add to the list.
As you can see, running a single 20 amp branch circuit is not the smart way to do this.
Your existing 100 amp service may be to small or maybe its just fine. But is does not matter as far as the garage is concerned. You can upgrade the service later if you need too.
Should you decide to do it right the first time, use the keyword "sub panel" in this forum's search function. You will get all the information and much more to do this job. Good Luck.
Last edited by J. V.; 11-18-2011 at 11:12 AM.
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