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Old 08-28-2016, 12:12 AM   #1
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Conduit to a shed


Toying with the idea of building a shed and running conduit to it, probably two, one for power and one for fibre (might put a backup server in there or something). The right way to build the shed would be to use an auger and go 10ft deep and use sonotubes and pour 4 piers. But I'm thinking of just using deck blocks or something and let it float on ground. If I go that route, anything special I need to do as far as conduit goes, as the shed will probably move around if it's not sitting on a proper footing that's below frost level.

I would probably put the conduit like 2-3 feet deep and then come in behind the shed and use LBs to go through the wall. I may end up making the shed solar powered to save from running hydro service, but I might want to run the conduit anyway.

Or do I just run normal conduit and not worry about it, since it has enough bend in it to just bend along with the shed?
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Old 08-28-2016, 06:12 AM   #2
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Re: Conduit to a shed


Expansion coupling.

http://www.lowes.com/pd/CARLON-2-in-...b-2c57140a0057
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:15 AM   #3
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Re: Conduit to a shed


10' deep ?
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:20 AM   #4
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Re: Conduit to a shed


Never understand why you far Northerners call electric service - "hydro". I understand that a lot of your electricity is generated by water turbines but there must be some other supplies. The first time I saw hydro used in that context, I thought he was doing plumbing😀
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Old 08-28-2016, 01:35 PM   #5
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Re: Conduit to a shed


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10' deep ?
Maybe a full basement or a safe room?
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Old 08-28-2016, 02:11 PM   #6
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Re: Conduit to a shed


Good to know about the expansion couplings, that might be the best bet, does stuff tend to mostly shift up/down in winter or in all directions? I imagine you set that up vertically above ground just before the LB?
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Old 08-28-2016, 02:44 PM   #7
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Re: Conduit to a shed


The expansion coupling won't help much with sideways shifts. You may need to install sealtite. It would have to be longer than the conduit break, so there's room for movement without causing the sealtite to pull out of the fittings, so there would be an "S" built in to the flex. You will also need to bond across the sealtite or pull a ground through the conduit.
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Old 08-28-2016, 02:46 PM   #8
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Re: Conduit to a shed


Canadians historically produced power primarily by hydro. They still do, the last number I saw was close to 60% of their annual power production came from hydro.

When you historically named your POCO's Ontario hydro, Manitoba hydro, BC hydro, etc, using the term Hydro instead of POCO will make sense to some people.

It does take a little getting used to when you first run into it.
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Old 08-28-2016, 04:26 PM   #9
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Re: Conduit to a shed


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Never understand why you far Northerners call electric service - "hydro". I understand that a lot of your electricity is generated by water turbines but there must be some other supplies. The first time I saw hydro used in that context, I thought he was doing plumbing😀
In Ontario it started out as the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission in 1909 and all generated power was hydro-electric until I think the 1950s (now all sorts of sources, except coal). Even today, although it's gone through several restructurings, the main distribution network is still called Hydro One. Because of their geography many, but not all, provinces are similar. Hydro Quebec to this day only generates a tiny percentage of its power from non hydro-electric sources.

It's become part of the lexicon, like 'kleenex'.
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Old 08-28-2016, 04:28 PM   #10
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Re: Conduit to a shed


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In Ontario it started out as the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission in 1909 and all generated power was hydro-electric until I think the 1950s (now all sorts of sources, except coal). Even today, although it's gone through several restructurings, the main distribution network is still called Hydro One. Because of their geography many, but not all, provinces are similar. Hydro Quebec to this day only generates a tiny percentage of its power from non hydro-electric sources.

It's become part of the lexicon, like 'kleenex'.
You must mean "Kleenex™ ".😂
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Old 08-28-2016, 04:52 PM   #11
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Re: Conduit to a shed


The OP mentioned digging his footing 10-ft deep, because his area has a frost line about 6-ft. down. This isn't Louisiana we're talking about

I very much prefer running power underground (rather than overhead) and using pipe (rather than direct burial cable). Still, there are plenty of details to mind.

You don't go into details about your shed, or the use for it, so I'll treat it as if you were building a house. Yes, there's some 'over' design, but I think it's worth it.

First is your trench. Make it wide and deep - it's worth getting a Bobcat for this. I'd make the rough trench at least 3-ft deep and 3-ft. wide. Line with perforated cloth, lay 6" for gravel, then your pipes. Cover with the gravel, fold the cloth over, and fill.

I'd run at least three pipes - power, data, and fiber. Use large radius "sweeps," especially for the cable. You're looking at (minimum) 1" conduit, and I'd suggest considering 1-1/2" for the power and fiber. That would allow for easily pulling "100 amp" wire and give you the gentle bend the fiber needs.

You can also place pipes here for future water and gas service- though the water will need to be even deeper (arctic winter).

I'd use "Schedule 40" electrical PVC pipe for the horizontal run, "schedule 80" for the uprights, and heavy steel (IMC) for the elbows. Where the uprights exit the ground, I'd slip sleeves of a larger size over them; the pipe always seems to get damaged there. Yes, you'll want expansion fittings at each end, to let the building move up and down with the frost heaves.

Once you clear the expansion fittings, transition to metal-lined Sealtite. Have this flexible material go straight up, then bend 90 degrees to enter the boxes from the side. Doing so will allow for building movement, and let you keep the pipes together in the trench. Support the pipes using 'thick strut' mounted on the face of the building.

The power disconnect, in particular, needs to be mounted above the usual snow line. For convenience, I usually also mount an outdoor receptacle there. Fire departments really like a building to have an outside disconnect.

I'd mount the boxes about an inch off the face of the shed, using 'thin strut.' The 'boxes' will be actual panels or disconnects for the wires / cables. You can enter the shed through the backs of these boxes.

I've mentioned strut twice- both "thick" (1-5/8") and "thin (7/8"). I use this, as it allows for minor variations in the siding. It allows for drainage behind the pipes. It solves the problem of the foundation / building base getting in the way as the pipes exit the ground. Finally, the thick strut aligns the pipe to land perfectly on boxes mounted using the thin strut.
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Old 08-28-2016, 05:00 PM   #12
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Re: Conduit to a shed


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Originally Posted by KarenStein View Post
The OP mentioned digging his footing 10-ft deep, because his area has a frost line about 6-ft. down. This isn't Louisiana we're talking about

I very much prefer running power underground (rather than overhead) and using pipe (rather than direct burial cable). Still, there are plenty of details to mind.

You don't go into details about your shed, or the use for it, so I'll treat it as if you were building a house. Yes, there's some 'over' design, but I think it's worth it.

First is your trench. Make it wide and deep - it's worth getting a Bobcat for this. I'd make the rough trench at least 3-ft deep and 3-ft. wide. Line with perforated cloth, lay 6" for gravel, then your pipes. Cover with the gravel, fold the cloth over, and fill.

I'd run at least three pipes - power, data, and fiber. Use large radius "sweeps," especially for the cable. You're looking at (minimum) 1" conduit, and I'd suggest considering 1-1/2" for the power and fiber. That would allow for easily pulling "100 amp" wire and give you the gentle bend the fiber needs.

You can also place pipes here for future water and gas service- though the water will need to be even deeper (arctic winter).

I'd use "Schedule 40" electrical PVC pipe for the horizontal run, "schedule 80" for the uprights, and heavy steel (IMC) for the elbows. Where the uprights exit the ground, I'd slip sleeves of a larger size over them; the pipe always seems to get damaged there. Yes, you'll want expansion fittings at each end, to let the building move up and down with the frost heaves.

Once you clear the expansion fittings, transition to metal-lined Sealtite. Have this flexible material go straight up, then bend 90 degrees to enter the boxes from the side. Doing so will allow for building movement, and let you keep the pipes together in the trench. Support the pipes using 'thick strut' mounted on the face of the building.

The power disconnect, in particular, needs to be mounted above the usual snow line. For convenience, I usually also mount an outdoor receptacle there. Fire departments really like a building to have an outside disconnect.

I'd mount the boxes about an inch off the face of the shed, using 'thin strut.' The 'boxes' will be actual panels or disconnects for the wires / cables. You can enter the shed through the backs of these boxes.

I've mentioned strut twice- both "thick" (1-5/8") and "thin (7/8"). I use this, as it allows for minor variations in the siding. It allows for drainage behind the pipes. It solves the problem of the foundation / building base getting in the way as the pipes exit the ground. Finally, the thick strut aligns the pipe to land perfectly on boxes mounted using the thin strut.
I think this defines the word "overkill".😀
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Old 08-28-2016, 05:22 PM   #13
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Re: Conduit to a shed


Usual Ontario 'frost line code' is 48". I have lived, but not built, in the far north of the province - perhaps there are local deeper variances. I believe Ontario code depth for buried electrical cable is 18" unless it's under a driveway, then 24".

The problem with year-round water lines is no matter how deep you make the trench, eventually it has to come up through frozen soil (not counting how you exit the house).
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Old 08-28-2016, 06:57 PM   #14
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Re: Conduit to a shed


We've had water mains even deeper than 10' freeze up, though this is on the highway and the problem is that they use tons of salt now. It was never a problem before that since the layer of snow acts as insulation.

I have no plans to run water to it, so I'll probably stick with the 2-3 conduits at a reasonable depth of 2-3 feet. Not a bad idea on the bobcat, was going to do it by hand but the time I save may be worth it.

What are my options for flexible conduit, I've only ever seen solid, but I imagine there must be some flexible one too? Maybe it would just be easier to use that the whole way and lay it in a slight S pattern and call it a day.

This shed actually will be a tad overkill. I plan to insulate and vapour barrier it. The whole shebang. Idea is I may setup a small backup server or something in there so I'll want to somewhat temperature control it. At least try to keep it above 0. Though that will be a project for later. I may not even start it this year, mostly just planing it.

Last edited by Red Squirrel; 08-28-2016 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 08-28-2016, 11:08 PM   #15
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Re: Conduit to a shed


With respect, you don't need a wide trench to run cable or conduit. Most rent-alls rent power trenchers. If you decide to stick with foundation piers over 4' deep, be prepared to hire a commercial boring company - I don't think you will be able to find equipment to deep auger yourself. If you plan to heat it, you will obviously have to insulate it well so you aren't signing your paycheque/pension over for electricity. It will take extra research, particularly for the floor,so your aren't building a warm winter home for woodland creatures.
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