Last week I discussed running the electrical for my workshop. At the end of the post I alluded to the fact that I am running the power to the workshop in a slightly unconventional manner. The easiest way to think about it is that the power will be supplied to the workshop as if it is an RV. When an RV comes to a park, it hooks up to the park power using an extension cord connected to an exterior plug on the RV. In the same way, when I want power inside the workshop, I will hook up via an extension cord to my house power.
This strategy has one big advantage, and it is that I do not have to dig a trench or run aerial lines from the house to the workshop for power. Digging a 2 foot deep trench all the way to the workshop seems like a lot of unnecessary work, especially considering how easy it will be to plug in whenever I need too.
As I mentioned previously, the workshop has 3 circuits, a 15A circuit for the lighting, and then a 20A and 30A circuit for my tools. Whenever I need all 3 circuits I will have 3 separate extension cords running to exterior plugs on the house. However, for a majority of projects I may only need one or maybe two of the circuits plugged in, depending on the project size and time of day that I am working. The setup from inside is below.
The 15A circuit comes in from an exterior plug, runs through a switch (so that I can turn off the lights if I want to take a break without unplugging), and then runs to where the lighting will be. Here is what it looks like from the outside with all 3 circuits installed.
Eventually I plan on adding a cedar “mailbox” as a way to enhance the aesthetics of the workshop and hide the plugs from sight. Before that though, I’ll need to add some plugs on the exterior of my house. In the meantime though, I can run extension cords from my kitchen to light up and use the workshop outlets.
I personally think this is a clever strategy to avoid digging trenches through the yard, burying electrical cable, and having a sub panel on the outside of the shed. Let me know what you think!