Powering up

We moved into this house in late 2008. One of the huge demerits was a lack of outside power outlets on the house. As such, I’ve had to power the shed via an indoor outlet and extension cords through the back door. It’s been like this for a couple years exclusively. For quite a few months, I’ve been running the shop only on this one 12ga cord.

Three months ago, I purchased an outdoor outlet kit, consisting of an in-use cover, GFCI outlet, and hardware. I also bought 14/2 romex. I was very hesitant in punching holes in my siding, so it sat in the back of my car. On Saturday, I got the confidence to tackle this project. I bought a second outlet kit, a 38″ spade bit that would reach through the wall, and decided this had gone on long enough.

NEC says that you can’t run an outdoor outlet on a kitchen, bath, or major appliance circuit. Unfortunately, where I most wanted to put an outlet in, on the dining room wall closest to where the back door is, sits on one of the kitchen circuits. That location was out. Also, almost all of the master bedroom is on a bathroom circuit. I hate the people that redid this house, but I knew that already. An outlet in the play room, an old carport, would work though. This was the same outlet I hooked the smaller gauge extension cord in when I needed two circuits. Until I could buy a longer 12ga cord, I couldn’t fix the door entry, but I could hook back up the 16ga cord on a semi-permanent basis. Except for having to return the romex (to get 12/2) and corresponding wire nuts, the process went very simply. Punched the hole with the drill and fed the wire through the wall. I spliced it in to one side of the indoor outlet and buttoned up things on the inside. The outside portion of it was very simple. I added some outdoor caulk to help seal things up, and it works a treat. I should have done this years ago, and I know I’ll be adding at least two more outlets, with potentially a third on the side of the house farthest from the shop.

So, implications for the shop. I ran the 16ga cord through the same hole in the side of the shop. Having both at the same spot isn’t the best solution, but I’d rather not punch another hole or buy another in-use cover when I wouldn’t be using it on the new shop. Potentially. I did some minor cord management by moving the overhead light/charging strip over above the door to reach. This strip and the A/C are going on the 16ga cord. The A/C only uses about 5A, so it should be a good choice. I still think I won’t use it while I’m running the vac, which is also on this circuit. The miter saw is unfortunately still on the smaller strip, but I hope to rectify this soon. Otherwise, all tools are on the 12ga cord. I very rarely trip the house breaker, and when I do overload a bit it gets overloaded at the extension reel and doesn’t do as much damage to the cord itself. And even then, it was running lights, the vac and the table saw on the same cord. I know, bad juju. It was what it was, but no more.

There’s more to be sorted out about where things go on strips, but not today. It’s 98° outside, and even with A/C that is entirely too hot. The plug situation will be different in the new shop, but not this summer.

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