Installing power to your backyard shed can be a challenging DIY project. Running electrical wires underground on your property requires proper planning, materials, and safety precautions. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to safely and properly run underground electrical wires to supply power to your backyard shed.

Research Local Building Codes and Permit Requirements

The first step is to research your local building codes and permit requirements. Most jurisdictions require a permit to run new electrical wiring on your property. Make sure you:

Permits help ensure your DIY electrical project is up to code. It's better to be safe than sorry down the road.

Calculate Electrical Load and Conductor Size

Before digging, determine what the electrical load will be in your shed and size your wires accordingly. Consider all lights, outlets, and equipment you plan to run in the shed. The load calculation will determine the proper wire size.

Some key factors:

Larger wire gauges are needed for longer wire runs and higher electrical loads. Using wire that's too small can cause unsafe voltage drop. Don't skimp on the size.

Choose a Trench Route from House to Shed

Map out the underground route to take from your main electrical panel to the shed. Consider:

Measure the total length of the trench run. You'll need this info when purchasing the wire. Mark the route with small flags or spray paint so you know where to dig.

Use Proper Electrical Conduit

The wires must run through buried PVC conduit to protect them.

Consult an electrical code guide to ensure you use the right size conduit for your wire run.

Dig the Trench Safely

Now comes the hard work. Digging a trench safely requires:

Go slow and be cautious when digging near utility lines marked from your 811 call.

Lay the Conduit and Wires

With the trench fully dug, you can lay the underground wires:

Take photos at each step of the process. This will help with inspector approval.

Backfill and Compact the Soil

Filling in the trench correctly helps keep your underground system intact:

Proper backfilling avoids sagging wires and conduit damage over time. Check local codes for any requirements.

Connect to the Main Panel and Shed

The final step is making the electrical connections:

With all connections made securely, you can restore power and request an inspection. Enjoy your new backyard power source!

Running underground electrical to your shed or outbuilding is very rewarding but requires planning and adherence to electrical codes and safety standards. Do your homework in advance, use proper materials, and don't be afraid to hire a professional electrician if needed. Taking the time to do it right ensures you'll have safe and reliable power in place for years to come.