How to Wire a Shop

by Linea Lorenzo

Electrical wiring is an intricate job that requires an electrician’s expertise; hence, it is advisable to leave such tasks to electrical professionals. However, it is essential for you, the shop owner, to have a say in the setup and execution of wiring activities at your shop. If you are looking for an answer on how to wire your shop, then the following information will benefit you.

Before we get into the steps and processes, there are several vital things that you should know. When it comes to electrical codes, do not make any assumptions. Ensure that your installation is in line with what the local inspector approves. For electrical codes to be used, make sure they are approved, counter-check, and confirm.

Secondly, you should ensure on completion of your electrical project at the shop that you have your work inspected and that your shop does not have any insurance problems. It is essential to do your wiring properly since electrical wiring is done improperly can pose an excellent safety and fire risk.

It is not worth doing all the work without consulting an electrical professional since it can put your shop, your family, the employees, your life, your products, and customers in danger.

Steps on how to wire a shop

Steps on how to wire a shop
Steps on how to wire a shop

Below are appropriate steps to follow when wiring your shop.

Step 1: Design

Having mentioned the crucial safety risk of having your shop wrongly wired, we can get into the steps of setting up your shop. Like any other functional process of designing and building a good shop, an electrical plan starts with a diagram. Effectively planning where your electrical equipment, power access points, switch boxes, and lights are essential. It is vital to have a diagram of your shop showing where all electrical issues and conduits will run through your shop.

The plan should consider that large pieces of equipment requiring a dedicated power circuit. Typically, tools are powered by amps; ensure you check how much amps are needed for your devices. You can find this information on the nameplate located on the body of the tool and motor. Make a list of the amps and voltage consumed by each of the equipment you will use in the shop.  It is important to note that an amperage for smaller equipment like jigsaws, televisions, microwaves, etc., is between the ranges of two to eight amps. Larger equipment like routers, table saws, large washing machines, etc., is between the six twenty amps.

Step 2: Install Conduits

After identifying the design of your shop wiring plan, you can begin to install conduits. A conduit is a tube or housing for electrical wiring. For pipes that run under the shop, you can pass the wires first before installing them and leave an extra one foot of extra wire at each end just in case you need to make adjustments later.  For most of the wring, you will require a half-inch or three-quarter-inch conduit.

For this job, you will need to have a conduit bender with a head similar to the conduit size; elbows, box entries, and a coupler will also come in handy. When you fit a conduit, make sure you de-burr entirely with a file, preferably the rat rail file, to prevent the snagging of wires. Additionally, do not fill the pipes with too many cables. Check with your area code for the rule of conduit filling; a thirsty percent or forty percent is appropriate.

Step 3: Outlet Count

Think about the total number of electrical outlets you will need at the shop and keep in mind the saying that there is nothing like too many outlets.  In most cases, people underestimate the number of outlets they need when wiring their shops and later find out that they should have added more.  Therefore, in this step, determine the number of outlets and switches you will run on one circuit. I would advise that you follow maintaining six outlets per every one hundred and ten voltage circuit. It will help you anticipate any future requirements at your shop.

Step 4: Drill Wire Holes

The next step is to drill holes. In a situation where no underground conduits were installed when the shop was being built, you will be forced to make new holes for your wires to travel through.  Additionally, wire holes are not the only things you will find yourself drilling. You might have to drill holes to fasten external conduits. It is essential that when you’re curing out the drilling process, you have background knowledge of what is inside the walls or what is on the other side. The shop’s blueprint will help you avoid drilling through electrical wires, water pipes, and ductwork. In this step, you will also need to prepare your outlet holes; more outlets will save you extra renovation costs in the future.

Step 5: Set A Breaker

The Breaker box for the shop should have the switches labeled clearly by indicating which switch controls what circuit. It is advisable to separate your overhead lights on a different course from the circuit serving the equipment types. It will be beneficial if a power overload happens, and the breaker is tripped; the overhead lights circuit will remain up since a different circuit serves it. I would advise that you install your breaker inside the shop, preferably in the storage room, ensuring that it is safe and your shop from malicious individuals with ulterior motives.

Step 6: Pull The Wires To Outlets

Apart from the conduits that you installed with wires already fit in the other holes drilled and other tubes installed, it would help if you ran the wires needed to supply power. Starting from the breaker, pull the roll of wire close to the breaker box and use the diagram from the first step to remove the wire, begin from the closest outlet. In running the wires, label them based on their circuits, for example, overhead lights circuit and wall circuit. It will help you when you are connecting the courses to the different breakers at the breaker box.

This step also covers the installation of the outlet ports and the connection at the breaker box. Using a wire stripper, remove the outer plastic casing from both ends of the wire. Based on the cables and the different breakers’ labeling, attach the cables’ ends to each outlet fixture and switch.

Step 7: Final Installation

This last step entails ensuring that all connections are made appropriately and that no wires are hanging. Install the individual circuits from the different wiring sets.  Confirm that each course meets its required amperage and serves the various outlets’ intended purpose. I strongly recommend that you get an electrician to look at you’re wiring as a precautionary measure.


I want to end this guide with a reminder that buying outlets and switches ensures you consider quality when acquiring them.  The cheap equipment might save you money, but it will not last long at the shop. They will often short out and cause fires on their own. It would help if you also bought switches and wire nuts from trusted retailers; spend a little more, and get quality parts that last you a lifetime.

Lastly, believe wires tested and made to the expected product standard set by NEMA and Underwriters Laboratories. Confirm that the wires are approved by checking the approval marks like those developed by Underwriters Laboratories; however, Approval writing may vary depending on the jurisdiction. Stay safe and sound luck on your first DIY.

About Linea Lorenzo

Linea was born to love drawing and just a few tech gadgets. While not working or sleeping, he often spends hours to look through the coolest, latest gadgets at different shopping sites, drooling about them. He also likes to keep things clean and tidy - now that the reason you see so many cleaning devices and electronics reviews at Ah yes, he made the site also just for that. Occationally, he invited friends to share their expertise around here too. Linea received Bachelor of Arts in Arts & Letters at Sacramento State University.

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