DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

Wiring a 14 x 20 shed

318 Views 16 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Leon276
Hello everyone. New guy here looking for some help. I have a 14 x 20 shed that I want to run electric to. It sits about 15 feet from my workshop. This is the wife's new she shed. I have a breaker panel in the workshop that I can use for this. I just need a good game plan as I have never done anything like this before. All I need are about 10 outlets, one light switch, and there will only be one light in it. It will also have a small a/c window unit and a small electric heater. It will also have plumbing after I finish this project. I did have an electrician come out and we went over everything so and there weren't any surprises or uh ohs. The estimate he came back with simply floored me so I want to see if I can do this myself. I live out in the country so I am not required to have any code inspections or permits. I'm not rushing anything because I want to make sure it's done right and in a safe manner. Any feedback is appreciated. If, after this I realize that I'm not really saving that much money by doing it myself or I feel like I am just way over my head then I'll just leave it to the professionals. One thing I realize now that I am retired is that I should have become a plumber or an electrician the moment I left high school!!

Thanks
Leon
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

· A "Handy Husband"
Joined
·
14,916 Posts
Your requirements are small. I would run a 12/3 UF cable (direct bury at 24" cover), fed from a 20 amp 2 pole breaker in your workshop sub panel. This will effectively give you 2 20 amp circuits, it is called a MWBC (Multi wire branch circuit). Use 1 of the 20 amp circuits for the AC and the heater (they will not be run at the same time). Use the other 20 amp circuit for the lights and the rest pf the receptacles.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Your requirements are small. I would run a 12/3 UF cable (direct bury at 24" cover), fed from a 20 amp 2 pole breaker in your workshop sub panel. This will effectively give you 2 20 amp circuits, it is called a MWBC (Multi wire branch circuit). Use 1 of the 20 amp circuits for the AC and the heater (they will not be run at the same time). Use the other 20 amp circuit for the lights and the rest pf the receptacles.
Thanks RJ.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
What did the electrician recommend to be installed?
Sounds like a 60 amp sub panel with a couple of circuits will be more than enough.
I was having a procedure that day and was knocked out when he came by so my wife talked to him. She told him what we wanted, walked him through the shed, the shop, and the main breaker in our garage. At that time I wasn't even thinking about doing it myself.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7,766 Posts
First, getting power from the workshop to the shed.

I know you're trying to keep the circuit "small" by pretending the loads will be less than they will be, but I think you are underestimating.

Look, I know that if you're kinda new to electrical, messing with conduit can be daunting. You barely feel comfortable with hucking down Romex cable. I get that. But counterpoint: skills can be learned, and steel conduit can be trenched with a garden trowel. Wires can't. It only requires 6" burial depth (12" if vehicles drive over it). Also conduit work can be done in bits and pieces, since the wire is pulled in only when done. Add also: if you later find the #12 wires you stuck in there are insufficient, you can yank 'em out and upgrade them as high as 50A (#8 wire) quite easily.

The RMC and IMC type conduit eligible for 6" is expensive as heck at over $2/foot, but you are only going 15 feet so you are still likely to get the underground work done for less than $60 of pipe.

Heating, ventilation, air conditioning

It will also have a small a/c window unit and a small electric heater.
I gather you won't be maintaining the temperature in there continuously because that would be too costly. OK so in winter you're going to get a 15x20 shed from icy cold, up to comfortable temperature, using nothing but ONE, "small" electric space heater that is 1500 watt, 5120 BTU? LOL that's not gonna work. Practical matter, the space will be unusable in the winter. Is the wife OK with it?

Also those space heaters are not approved to run unattended. That'll cause problems with your fire insurance.

What you need is a mini-split heat pump that will be 240 volts. Youtube is full of DIYers endorsing heat pumps and showing the ease of installation. That info is accurate. They are perfectly possible to DIY at under $1000. They are 2-3 times the efficiency in both heat and A/C mode and notably, much quieter than a rattley window unit. The electricity savings will pay for the unit in a year or two of use. In fact, not a bad idea for your shop, either.

Because of their very high efficiency, the typical mini-splits kick out enough BTUs that you can just start them an hour or two before you plan to go out there. And better, a lot of them have WiFi so you can turn them on from the house.

The newer heat pumps do work at any temperature you'll have in the 48 states. Extreme cold down to -5F makes them less efficient but they do work and don't need emergency heat.

Powering a 240V mini-split along with 120V appliances again favors conduit. You could put a 240V circuit in the pipe along with a 120V circuit for other appliances (since they are different voltages) or you can run 3 wires + ground and have a subpanel in the shed. Or you could start with one and change to th other later. Beauty of conduit :)

Plumbing, and therefore, heating

The fact you're putting water out there will necessitate proper heating to prevent pipe freeze. Ask a Texan - being in traditionally moderate climates does not protect you from occasional freeze. You don't want to be running space heaters in desperation. Get proper built-in heating that will do the job on demand.


Your requirements are small.
I really wish people would stop using the word "small" in association with electric heaters. It's like they're "wishing on a star" that they can make the power requirement less than it's actually going to be.

All heaters are 1500 watts, folks. That's 12.5 amps.



I live out in the country so I am not required to have any code inspections or permits.
I think that's a fantasy. Of course you have code requirements. And you have inspections too - they come up when you sell, or post-accident when the insurer is evaluating whether they need to pay and/or when the DA is deciding whether to press charges. Like this nincompoop who did a turn with the criminal justice system, and will have wages and social security garnished for the rest of his life.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
10,331 Posts
I would break it down into two parts, (1) the feed from the main house and shed subpanel, and (2) the rest of the electrical work in the shed.

Part 1 can be quite simple, materials wise. I would direct bury a #6 120/240 volt feed, a 6-3 (with ground) UF Romex will do.

You can get away with no subpanel out in the shed during the time you are using no more than two 20 amp branch circuits (one on each leg of the power feed). You would have a 20 amp breaker set back at the house panel. You could have a junction box with master switches at the shed to break out the feed into wiring for the shed receptacles and lights you can install yourself as Part 2. You can add things, including putting in a mini split heat pump, as a series of separate projects spread out as your do it yourself efforts allow or your finances allow...

The nincompoop mentioned in a previous reply just had a stroke of incredibly bad luck. No one in passing cars beat him to setting the fire (with the same results) by throwing a cigarette butt out the window.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What did the electrician recommend to be installed?
Sounds like a 60 amp sub panel with a couple of circuits will be more than enough.
I was doing chemo that day so my wife talked to him. She told him what we wanted, walked him through the shed, the shop, and the main breaker in our garage. At that time I wasn't even thinking about doing it myself.
First, getting power from the workshop to the shed.

I know you're trying to keep the circuit "small" by pretending the loads will be less than they will be, but I think you are underestimating.

Look, I know that if you're kinda new to electrical, messing with conduit can be daunting. You barely feel comfortable with hucking down Romex cable. I get that. But counterpoint: skills can be learned, and steel conduit can be trenched with a garden trowel. Wires can't. It only requires 6" burial depth (12" if vehicles drive over it). Also conduit work can be done in bits and pieces, since the wire is pulled in only when done. Add also: if you later find the #12 wires you stuck in there are insufficient, you can yank 'em out and upgrade them as high as 50A (#8 wire) quite easily.

The RMC and IMC type conduit eligible for 6" is expensive as heck at over $2/foot, but you are only going 15 feet so you are still likely to get the underground work done for less than $60 of pipe.

Heating, ventilation, air conditioning



I gather you won't be maintaining the temperature in there continuously because that would be too costly. OK so in winter you're going to get a 15x20 shed from icy cold, up to comfortable temperature, using nothing but ONE, "small" electric space heater that is 1500 watt, 5120 BTU? LOL that's not gonna work. Practical matter, the space will be unusable in the winter. Is the wife OK with it?

Also those space heaters are not approved to run unattended. That'll cause problems with your fire insurance.

What you need is a mini-split heat pump that will be 240 volts. Youtube is full of DIYers endorsing heat pumps and showing the ease of installation. That info is accurate. They are perfectly possible to DIY at under $1000. They are 2-3 times the efficiency in both heat and A/C mode and notably, much quieter than a rattley window unit. The electricity savings will pay for the unit in a year or two of use. In fact, not a bad idea for your shop, either.

Because of their very high efficiency, the typical mini-splits kick out enough BTUs that you can just start them an hour or two before you plan to go out there. And better, a lot of them have WiFi so you can turn them on from the house.

The newer heat pumps do work at any temperature you'll have in the 48 states. Extreme cold down to -5F makes them less efficient but they do work and don't need emergency heat.

Powering a 240V mini-split along with 120V appliances again favors conduit. You could put a 240V circuit in the pipe along with a 120V circuit for other appliances (since they are different voltages) or you can run 3 wires + ground and have a subpanel in the shed. Or you could start with one and change to th other later. Beauty of conduit :)

Plumbing, and therefore, heating

The fact you're putting water out there will necessitate proper heating to prevent pipe freeze. Ask a Texan - being in traditionally moderate climates does not protect you from occasional freeze. You don't want to be running space heaters in desperation. Get proper built-in heating that will do the job on demand.




I really wish people would stop using the word "small" in association with electric heaters. It's like they're "wishing on a star" that they can make the power requirement less than it's actually going to be.

All heaters are 1500 watts, folks. That's 12.5 amps.





I think that's a fantasy. Of course you have code requirements. And you have inspections too - they come up when you sell, or post-accident when the insurer is evaluating whether they need to pay and/or when the DA is deciding whether to press charges. Like this nincompoop who did a turn with the criminal justice system, and will have wages and social security garnished for the rest of his life.
Well that was encouraging lol. I appreciate your feedback but I'm not going to go into some long response to try and provide answers to all of that. Your points are valid and again, I do appreciate you pointing them out in great detail. Thanks
 

· Registered
Joined
·
793 Posts
Is she going to sew out their or a doll collection? I might do what post 4 said.
In a lot of cases. It'll probably get filled up with junk and not used any how. ;)
As far as bank or home inspections. Most of the ones I have been involved with excluded sheds.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7,246 Posts
I think what she plans to do in the shed may help us help you with ideas or give better suggestions.
And your location may be a part of this since your HVAC needs will be variable depending on your climate.
If this is her "woman cave" and she will be spending a lot of time there you may want to consider enough basic power to allow expansion.
A mini-split can easily take care of both heating and cooling but you will have to keep it running year round.
Can you elaborate on what you think the end purpose of the she shed is?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think what she plans to do in the shed may help us help you with ideas or give better suggestions.
And your location may be a part of this since your HVAC needs will be variable depending on your climate.
If this is her "woman cave" and she will be spending a lot of time there you may want to consider enough basic power to allow expansion.
A mini-split can easily take care of both heating and cooling but you will have to keep it running year round.
Can you elaborate on what you think the end purpose of the she shed is?
This will be her art studio. She does a lot of paintings and she's pretty dang good at it.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top