How to Add Electricity to a Garden Shed
Many people get by just fine without running an electricity supply to their shed. However, if you want to use it for more than just garden storage, it often becomes necessary to install an electricity supply.
The most important thing to note is that this isn’t a job for the average DIYer. You should always hire an experienced and qualified electrician to make sure the job is done safely and properly. They will install an SWA cable (otherwise known as a steel wire armoured cable) from your property to your shed. This is designed to be safe to bury in the ground, as it is impervious to water and rotting. This cable comes in several varieties and thicknesses. Your electrician will know which one to use given the circumstances. As you can see, it’s not as easy as running a cable from A to B and wiring it in. There is far more work required here to ensure the job is completed to the highest specification.
How can you tell whether your electrician is qualified for the job?
When locating an electrician (or asking your current one if they can do the work), make sure they are qualified to handle Part P Electrical Safety tasks within a domestic environment.
Why do you need power in your shed?
This might seem like an odd question, but it is asked with logic in mind. No two people will have the same requirements in mind. For example, you may have a large garden and you want to be able to plug in your electric lawn mower without trailing a long extension lead from the house over the lawn. Someone else might want to run a small business from their shed. They will need ample sockets for computers, printers, and other associated equipment. There is lighting to consider as well – something that is likely required in all cases – and perhaps heating too.
So, before you call the electrician, make sure you know what you need and where you need it. That way, once they come out to your property, you’ll be ready to show them what’s required. They can then quote you accurately on your requirements.
Sockets inside or outside?
Another odd question, perhaps? Well… no, not if you have an electric barbecue for use outdoors. Even if all you need to use outdoors is the lawn mower, a waterproof and weatherproof outdoor socket might be easier for you than going into your shed to plug in the cable there.
Consider also how many sockets you will need. A good rule of thumb is always to have one or two more than you think you will need. (Just like sockets inside your home – you never seem to have too many, do you?)
Where will the cable run?
Obviously, it needs to run from your property out to the shed. However, there could be various points at which it could leave your property. It then needs to be connected to your electricity supply. Your existing fuse box might be fine for this, but in some instances, an older fuse box might need to be replaced so it is ready for the new cable to be installed. You are probably beginning to see why an expert is required to ensure the job is done properly and safely.
How to prepare the trench to receive the cable
It’s a good idea to mark out where the trench needs to be dug, either with grass-friendly spray or string. Once the location is agreed with your electrician, you can start digging. The trench should be prepared just prior to your electrician arriving to do the job. Incidentally, not everyone thinks to dig the trench themselves. If you’re able to, this will save some cash on the eventual cost of the entire job. It’s worth bearing in mind.
Double-check you’re happy with your requirements before booking the work
Even though you may want electricity run through to your shed as soon as possible, it’s worth spending an extra day or two making sure you’ve thought of everything before asking an electrician to come around and quote you for the work. How many lights do you want and what type do you want to have installed? If you know, maybe you could get them ahead of time and ask the electrician to safely install those too. Make sure you know what needs to be plugged in continually and what might only occasionally need to be plugged in.
By covering everything and being prepared for some questions from your qualified electrician, you can make sure you get the best outcome when the work is completed. Once the cable is laid and all other elements are taken care of, you can cover the cable with soil and turf and enjoy your new-and-improved shed.
PLEASE NOTE: Adding electricity to your building may count as customisation and may affect your warranty. We advise you to contact the supplier before you decide to action such work.