This is a great coop electricity thread-- everyone seems to have so much good info!
Electricity in the coop - Page 2
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Code here in upstate NY where I live is 3 feet down for power lines . My husband and son hand dug/shoveled a trench to run power out to the pole barn which is maybe 30-40 feet from the house. He swore a big NO to running power to the coop which is farther away. So, in the winter I run an electrical cord for the water heater and that so far has worked fine( 4 years). I do have a solar light hooked up for the coop to provide the girls with some light a dusk to help them settle in. It runs for about 5 hours on a charge . I leave it on so it comes on automatically at dusk and recharges during the day. This set up has worked well for me.
I too am planning on using an extension cord this winter, but I really like the idea of using a solar light. What kind/type of solar light do you use? Also where did you find it to purchase it?
I purchased it from Habor Freight...they have a website www.harborfreight.com or google them I think it was $40-$50
Codes call for different depths in different regions. They are there to cover the worst case situations. HOWEVER- a piece of NMW (or even plastic NMD) wire that is burried in 8-12" down is going to be safer than an extension cord running thru the mud.
If the wire is in sandy, or loamy soil (no sharp stones) and you are not going to hit it with a rototiller or shovel, it will last indefinitely. Frost won't hurt it, neither will wet ground. If it runs under a driveway, then put some sand in the trench to surround the wire and then cover it with a pressure treated 2x4 or 2x6, anything to protect it from damage.
You can also run a 3/4" plastic pipe underground and pull an extension cord into it. This way you can plug it into an outdoor outlet.
None of this is legal, and a home inspection MIGHT pick it up, but it sure beats an extension cord laying on the ground....
If you use a GFI circuit then it will trip if anything does start to short out.
If you are buying it, and its just for lights and a small heater in the coop, buy #14. #12 is a real challenge to put plugs on.....
By small heater, I mean a couple of hundred watts, not 1000 or 1200 watts....
Ya, im debating on whether to put a small heater in the hen house this winter. I'm thinking maybe i'll just insulate the nest boxes with styrofoam on the tops, sides and bottoms. Surprisingly alot of people up here don't insulate or power their chicken houses at all and the birds do well as long as they are not in a direct draft. I've got a neat hanging solar light that i bought. the solar panel is small and goes on the roof and the bulb hangs inside.
Two araucanas, two black sex links, a buff orpington, a speckled sussex, a blue cochin and silver cuckoo marans. And two rescue dogs, a rescue cat, two ponds full of goldfish and koi, and a few turtles.