How to Run Power to a Detached Garage Above Ground

Detached garages are a popular choice for homeowners who want the convenience of being able to store their cars indoors, but the downside is that they typically lack an outdoor power supply. If you want to run power to your detached garage above ground, there are a few different options available to you. 

Whichever option you decide to go with, it’s important to make sure that the chosen method is capable of meeting your specific needs and requirements. This article will provide you with some important instructions on how to run power to a detached garage above ground.

How to Run Power to a Detached Garage Above Ground

Planning Ahead

If you are planning to run power to a detached garage, it is important to plan ahead. The first step is to determine the amount of power you will need. You will need to know the voltage and amperage of the equipment you will be using. Once you have determined that, you can then choose the right size transformer.

The next step is to determine the route for the wire. You will want to avoid any obstacles, such as trees or poles. The wire should also be buried at least 18 inches below ground. You will also need to install a circuit breaker and GFCI outlet in the garage.

Once all of that is done, you can then start wiring your garage.

Choosing the Correct Voltage and Amperage

When choosing the voltage and amperage to run power to a detached garage, it is important to consider the amount of load that the garage will be putting on the electrical system. The garage should not exceed 80% of the main house’s load. The voltage and amperage can then be chosen based on the size of the garage and the type of service panel that is installed in the garage.

The Garage Should Not Exceed 80% of the Main House's Load

Choose the Right Power Source

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right power source to run power to a detached garage. The first is the distance from the house to the garage. If it is too far, then you will need to use an extension cord, which can be a fire hazard. The next thing to consider is the voltage of the power source. Most garages require either 120 or 240 volts.

Most Garages Require Either 120 or 240 Volts

Calculate the Load

To calculate the load to run power to a detached garage, you need to know the wattage of the devices you plan to use in the garage and the voltage of your electrical service. Once you have that information, you can use a simple formula to find out how much power you need. For example, if you have a 200-watt device and your service is 120 volts, you would need 1,920 watts (200 x 120) to run that device.

To Calculate the Load You Need to Know the Wattage of the Device

Tools and Materials

The tools and materials you will need to run power to a detached garage above ground include a drill, saw, screwdriver, hammer, level, tape measure, and ladder. You will also need wire strippers, a utility knife, screws, nails, electrical tape, a conduit, a junction box, and a circuit breaker.

How to Run Power to a Detached Garage Above Ground

If you are looking to run power to a detached garage above ground, there are a few things you will need to take into consideration. The first step is to determine the amperage of the garage door opener. This information can usually be found on the opener itself or in the owner’s manual.

Once you have this information, you will need to select a circuit breaker that is appropriate for the amperage of the opener. The next step is to install an outdoor GFCI outlet near the garage. This outlet should be mounted at least six feet off of the ground and should be GFCI-protected. The last step is to run a wire from the GFCI outlet to the garage door opener.

Tips for Wiring a Detached Garage

If you’re planning to wire a detached garage, you’ll need to take some basic precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and your property. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Always consult a qualified electrician before starting any wiring project.
  2. Make sure that the circuit breaker for the garage is properly sized and that it can handle the load of the new wiring.
  3. Follow all local building codes and regulations when installing your new wiring.
  4. Use only high-quality materials and components when wiring your garage. Cheap parts can be dangerous and may not meet electrical safety standards.
  5. Label all wires and connections clearly so that you’ll know what goes where if there’s ever a problem with the wiring.
Consult an Electrician Before Starting Any Wiring Project

Testing and Inspecting

Testing and inspecting after running power to a detached garage above ground are important to ensure the safety of those in the home and those in the garage. By testing the outlets in the garage and ensuring that they are properly grounded, you can avoid any shocks or fires. Checking the wiring on the garage side of the breaker panel is also important, as it can ensure that everything is safe and up to code.

Ensure That Everything is Safe and Up to Code

Safety Considerations

When running power to a detached garage, safety is of the utmost importance. Because the garage is located above ground, it is important to take into account potential hazards associated with overhead power lines. It is also important to ensure that the wiring in the garage is up to code and can safely handle the load of whatever appliances or tools you plan to plug in. Finally, make sure that any extension cords you use are also rated for outdoor use.


The maintenance required for a detached garage can vary greatly depending on the materials used in its construction, the climate it is located in, and how often it is used. In general, however, the roof should be checked for leaks regularly, the asphalt driveway should be resealed every few years, and the wood trim around the doors and windows should be painted or stained at least once a year.


In conclusion, by following the tips provided in this article, you can easily run power to a detached garage above ground. This will allow you to use your garage for storage, parking, or any other purpose you may need it for.

Frequently Asked Question

What Gauge Wire to Run From House to Garage?

When you are considering what gauge wire to run from your house to your garage, there are a few factors to take into account. The most important factor is the distance between the two locations. The thickness of the wire needed will also depend on the amount of electricity that will be running through it.

How Do You Install a Subpanel in a Detached Garage?

A subpanel is a smaller electrical panel that distributes electricity to specific areas of a building. It is usually installed in a detached garage, as it provides power to the garage itself and any appliances or tools that may be stored there. To install a subpanel in a detached garage, the main electrical panel must be located in the garage or adjacent to it. The wires from the main panel are then run to the sub-panel, where they are connected to the appropriate circuit breakers.

How Much Does It Cost to Run Electricity to a Detached Garage?

The cost of running electricity to a detached garage will vary depending on the size of the garage, the amount of electricity used, and the distance from the main electrical panel. In general, though, expect to pay around $20-$30 per month to have power running to a detached garage.

Do I Need a Ground Rod for a Detached Garage?

A ground rod is not necessary for a detached garage, but it is always recommended to have one. The ground rod helps to ground the electrical system of the garage and protect people and property from electrical shocks. If a ground rod is not installed, the electrical system of the garage could be dangerous.

How Many Ground Rods Are Required for a Detached Garage?

A detached garage typically requires two ground rods spaced 10 feet apart. The rods should be 8 feet long and have a diameter of at least 3/4 inches. They should be driven into the ground until their top is flush with the soil surface. If the garage is not electrically grounded, it is important to install a lightning protection system.

What Does the NEC Require for a Detached Garage?

The NEC, or National Electrical Code, requires that a detached garage have a dedicated circuit for lighting and one for appliances. The circuit for appliances must be GFCI-protected, meaning it has a ground fault circuit interrupter. This is to prevent electrocution in the event of a malfunction.

What Kind of Wire Do I Need for a Detached Garage?

The type of wire you will need for a detached garage will depend on the voltage of the system and the distance from the service panel to the garage. Typically, you will need a minimum of 10-gauge wire for distances up to 100 feet and 12-gauge wire for distances up to 200 feet. However, if you have an older home, you may need to use heavier gauge wire.

Does Romex Need Conduit in the Garage?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a variety of factors, including the specific code requirements in your area and the type of wiring being used. Generally speaking, though, it is often recommended to use a conduit when running electrical wiring in a garage, as this can help to protect the cables from potential damage.

Can Romex Be Exposed in Detached Garage?

Romex is a brand of type NM cable which is generally used in residential wiring. The cable has thermoplastic insulation and sheathing and a copper conductor. It can be used in exposed or concealed applications, but it cannot be used in wet locations. In a detached garage, the Romex could be exposed to the weather, which would make it unsuitable for use.

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