Can I Run an Extension Lead to my Shed?

Installing electricity in a shed or any type of garden building can considerably extend your enjoyment of the structure, making it possible to use it year-round courtesy of heating and lighting, as well as convenient power for the likes of tools and entertainment. For a quick solution, many people ask, can I run an extension lead to my shed? Here we look at shed power do’s and don’ts, with advice on the best way to get electricity running into your outbuilding.

can I run an extension lead to my shed

With so many people spending more time at home and making use of their outdoor space, it is no wonder there is an increasing move towards wanting to connect power to sheds and other garden buildings.

Why would you need a power supply to a shed?

An electrical supply to a garden shed can provide heat and lighting during the winter, the option to use a fan or portable air con system or a mini fridge for cold drinks during the summer, and of course to power tools if the shed is being used as a workshop. Some people also house a tumble dryer in their shed for use over the winter.

The difficulty with installing power to a garden shed is that it’s not usually a fast or simple process. Laying cables and installing sockets can be time-consuming, and fairly costly too. It is crucial that a qualified electrician is used to carry out the installation, and to sign off the work in line with current safety legislation.

For a fast and perhaps temporary solution, a lot of people ask, can I run an extension lead to my shed, instead of installing permanent power?

The answer is that it can be acceptable to run an extension cable to a shed, but only on a temporary and short-term basis. If you are seeking a long-term solution, then you will need to go down the route of a professional power installation.

extension cable to shed

When can I use an extension cable to feed power to my shed?

Running a shed extension cable is fine if you need temporary light, for example if you are clearing out the shed. Similarly if you want to use power tools for a particular project, you can run an extension cable to the shed from the main house. As long as the extension lead is disconnected and stored away when not in use rather than left out permanently, this should be considered safe.

However, for frequent and ongoing use, such as heating and lighting, it is not advised to use an extension cable to bring power to your shed. Anything that requires the extension lead to be continuously connected and left in place would be better served by a professional electrical installation. This is because extension leads are designed for temporary use. Permanent use could push them above their optimum operating conditions, which could raise safety issues.

home observatory shed

Why can’t I use a shed extension cable on a permanent basis?

Extension cables can pose a number of hazards if they are left out permanently.

With the outer insulation of the extension lead cable designed to protect the wiring inside. If exposed to the sun over a prolonged period of time, the UV rays could start to break down the cable covering, exposing the inner wiring.

Some people consider burying an extension cable underground in order to protect it from sun damage. However, this can pose its own challenges, with the cable underground susceptible to attack from insects and rodents that will typically eat through the outer insulation. This can lead to the extension lead over-heating. Also, cables buried underground are not visible, making it difficult to check whether they are in full working order.

Extension cables can also pose a trip hazard, not to mention they are not particularly pleasant to look at. Frequent knocks and being trod on regularly could also damage the lead.

It is also important to remember that extension leads have power limits, and that overloading them can cause over-heating. This is why it really is only safe to use a shed extension cable on a temporary basis.

What are the alternatives to power a shed?

If you have an ongoing need for power to your shed or outbuilding, it is well worth looking into a professional electrical installation.

This will involve an armoured cable being connected directly from the main fuse box in the house to the garden building. Ideally, this will be buried under the ground via a trench, and hooked up through a dedicated consumer unit that’s installed within the garden building.

Specialist expertise is required in calculating resistance and ensuring that the work falls within the guidelines of Part P electrical safety requirements, and a Certificate of Work will be required once the work is done, which will become especially important if you later decide to sell your house.

Our guide to connecting your garden room to electricity should provide all you need to know.

Shed security

Looking for a fully powered-up garden shed? Surrey Hills Garden Buildings has the solutions you need.

At Surrey Hills Garden Buildings, we have earned a reputation across Surrey as the go-to supplier for all types of garden buildings, including garden offices, studios, gyms, leisure rooms, summerhouses, greenhouses, workshops and sheds.

Why not pay a visit one of our dedicated show sites for garden room inspiration? Our family run team is on hand to provide you with friendly, expert advice on creating the garden building of your dreams, with full guidance on connecting it up with all the power you need for your work or leisure requirements.

You are also welcome to get in touch to discuss your shed and garden outbuilding ideas. We look forward to speaking to you.

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