We now have power!!! Getting power to the house seemed like the first logical step to starting construction inside the house. Welding and cutting (with a grinder) would have been difficult off of 200 feet of extension cords (especially with 20amp welder). So we ran the power.

The trench was done prior to setting the containers but we did have to go back over it and clean it out. If you are building your house on cash flow and are doing it in stages like we did, remember that an outdoor panel is less expensive than a 200 amp cut-off switch and it will allow you to run power to a barn, apartment, RV, etc. Keep in mind though that when you want to run the wire to the house you will need pass through lugs on that panel in order to extend your 200 amp service to the house.

We installed an outdoor panel with pass through lugs so we were good to go. We purchased 2 inch PVC for our conduit. When we purchased our service entrance wire we decided to go with an aluminum service entrance cable (about 3.5 times cheaper than copper). I talked to a few electricians and they told me that 135 or so feet would not result in a voltage drop for 240 volts. Also, on 200 amp you can use a 3awg copper for your two hot conductors but since we were using aluminum we had to go up to 4awg with a 2awg neutral. We also ran a 6 gauge ground from the house panel back to the panel at the meter location in addition to the ground outside the house.

I found it easiest to lay out the PVC on the ground above the trench and then run the cable through each section from the house to the outdoor panel. I have heard several horror stories of people gluing the PVC together and burying it only to find that it is very difficult to pull the cables through. After I ran the cables through each section I went back and glued it all together and rolled it into the trench. Then I buried the pipe and terminated the wires. It was actually pretty easy with a couple of people helping roll it out.

If you are in an area where you don’t have to pull a permit to do the electrical work… electricity is not that difficult. If you have zero experience I would seek out the advice of an electrician just to make sure you are safe.

Please share!