Running electrical line to the coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MrJesse34, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. seanb

    seanb Songster

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    May 24, 2011
    Central PA
    If you're running 100 feet or more, I'd increase the size of your wire to #10 copper instead of #12 to account for line loss. (the smaller the number, the larger the wire). Bury a 1" conduit 18" deep minimum, 24" inches if you pass under a road way or drive way. Pull 3 single conductors instead of a cable, it will be an easier pull. Borrow a fish tape if you can. I stress running conduit over direct buriel UF cable because conduit is cheap once you've got an open ditch and offers a lot more protection from shovels, tree roots, settling, etc. Besides that, take a look at the price of a 250' coil of 12-2 or 10-2 UF lately.

    You can protect the entire circuit by installing a GFI in your breaker panel or simply install a GFI receptacle at the coop.

    If you're going to stay there for a while and you're running that far, take the time and do it right. I've been a licensed electrician for over 20 years and I'd be happy to talk you through it. As far as codes and NEC go, requirements for licensing and permits can vary from township to borough to city in PA; don't know about NJ.

    If this stuff is mostly beyond your abilities and you have to hire someone, at least consider renting the ditchwitch, digging the trench, glueing the conduit together and burying it. This is labor intesive but not highly technical work and will save you considerable money.

    Should you decide to go this route, consider any future needs for electric in that area as putting in a spare conduit while the ditch is open is usually money well spent.
     
  2. MrJesse34

    MrJesse34 In the Brooder

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    May 27, 2011
    Long Valley
    Quote:So, seanb, you are saying that I can dig the hole, run the conduit, and put the cable into it all myself. Then, get an electrician to just hook up the endds of it for me? That would make it more legit right? And I would save a ton cuz I did all the hard labor myself?

    Can a water line also go into the same trench? While I'm down there I might as well do it all at once, as the garden and the coop both need electric and water (in a perfect world).
     
  3. seanb

    seanb Songster

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    May 24, 2011
    Central PA
    What I would suggest is to speak with a local electrical contractor, hopefully one that someone you know can vouch for, and ask if they'd be willing to allow you to do some of the work that would not impact them as far as liability goes. I've always offered this kind of flexibility to my customers to save them money. If the contractor is a good one, he should be busy enough that he won't mind making a little less on the job.

    If you bury a water line in the same ditch, you may need to keep it a certain distance from the electric line. Perhaps a foot or so, not sure on that. You'd obviously have to be below the frost line with the water if you plan on keeping the line charged year-round. If you plan on draining it during the winter months, it wouldn't have to be as deep. My coop sits 150-200 feet from my house and I already had electric there but I really wish I would have thought about water when I ran it several years ago.
     

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