Shop wiring/lighting

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Forum topic by azwoodman posted 01-21-2010 05:41 AM 2625 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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132 posts in 4295 days

01-21-2010 05:41 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop setup electricity wiring lighting

Hello my fellow LJ’s!

Quick question for y’all… I am in the process of turning my 3 car garage into a workshop. I plan on aquiring some more tools some of which may need 220 amps. Also as I’ve been spending more time out there I have realized that I am definately going to need to add some ceiling fixtures.

I understand that the cost to have someone come out and put in the new electrical and the energy costs will vary depending on where you are, but for anyone who has had this done, how much did you spend to hire the electrician and also, how much do you find that your energy bill increased?

-- Spencer, Gilbert Az (

10 replies so far

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4159 days

#1 posted 01-21-2010 07:06 AM

In its past life, my shop was a garage. If you are dedicating that much space, you will definitely be adding a 220 line. Currently I have two big saws that draw from a 220 line. Initially I added lines as I bought equipment, so I don’t know the total cost. If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would add a sub-panel with empty space for more breakers. I started with drawing off the existing, then added a small box and finally adding a much larger box. Start with a big box. One other point, add commercial florescent lights that are completely enclosed to keep the dust off your lighting.
I’m sure my electrical bill is higher, but it depends on which pieces of equipment you’re using.
Good luck and have fun!

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 4022 days

#2 posted 01-21-2010 07:10 AM

Little something I came across that may help…

I don’t know how accurate it is, but from a few people I’ve talked to it seems in the ballpark for around here.
The main highlights…
Typical costs:

Electricians charge $75-$250 to add a conventional 120V household outlet (also known as a receptacle) to an existing nearby circuit.

Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and other moisture-prone areas (including the outdoors) need ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, which prevent shocks. These are at the higher end of the scale, or it’s about $60-$125 to replace an existing standard outlet with a GFCI receptacle.

If existing circuits don’t have the capacity for another outlet, running a new 120V circuit off the electrical panel adds another $150-$250.

Generally, adding a 240V outlet means installing a new 240V circuit on the main electrical panel, at a cost of $300-$800.

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 4692 days

#3 posted 01-21-2010 08:55 AM

A 240 Volt circuit is just two adjacent breaks in a “normal” electrical panel, a garage requires a GFI Circuit on all outlets. I agree it typically costs about $75 to add each outlet, that seem independent of part of country, location in house or almost anything else.

I made the mistake of not adding a sub-panel when I first wired my shop and I was always having to get creative (going to 1/2 width breakers) to add another circuit. Adding a sub-panel costs ~$750 assuming you have enough space to put in a 50-100 amp breaker in your main panel. If you have to run new wiring from the main it gets more expensive because you may need to add another meter and run high current lines to the shop.

I have always has a 200 amp main panel going to my house so added in sub-panel was “easy” and it still cost $750.

Make sure all lighting in on a different breaker than any outlets, so it you blow a breaker you still have lights.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR,

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3979 days

#4 posted 01-21-2010 01:05 PM

My cousin added a subpanel to my orig. box. I ran the 110 but didn’t want to wire a 220. ran the wire and let him hook it up. Put first you need to check the codes for the area that you live in.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Champagne1's profile


1 post in 3760 days

#5 posted 08-11-2010 04:42 PM

Electric for an addition does range alot, but I found this site to be very accurate: How much does it cost to add electric for an addition

some highlighst:

  1. The cost to install recessed lighting is roughly $100 to $150 per light.
  2. A recessed light costs $10 to $35.
  3. To install an overhead light, ceiling fan light unit or a chandelier to an existing lighting fixture plan on around $50 to $100.
  4. Ceiling fan lights start at around $75 and can cost up to $500 or more.
  5. An average quality ceiling light fixture costs $30 to $200.
  6. You can pick up a chandelier for as little as $50 or as much as thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars for high end products.
  7. An electrician charges $75 to $100 per hour to install a new fluorescent lights.
  8. Fluorescent lighting fixtures cost $25 to $60.
View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4657 days

#6 posted 08-11-2010 05:46 PM

I am a fluorescent guy … DO NOT Be tempted to buy a fixture that uses T12 lamps (These are the standard 1 1/2 inch diameter lamps 12/8ths of an inch).
In 2012, the Department of Energy has outlawed those bulbs, so you will be screwed when a bulb burns out.

I have T8 (1 inch 8/8ths inch) I found the 8 foot 4 lamp fixtures are great for providing a lot of light with good color quality, and each bulb is 32 Watts. so 4 T8 bulbs will burn 128 watts and generate ~12,000 lumens.
by comparison a 100W incandecent bulb is of course 100 watts and only 1600 lumens.
For our 3 car garage, I have 5 8 foot fixtures and 5 – 4 foot fixtures, set front to back (5 rows) and there is plenty of light.
I had a 100 Amp sub panel put into the garage so we still have one electric meter that goes to two boxes. You really don’t want to hike through the house to the basement any time a breaker trips. The box cost me 1200 to be installed (labor + Materials).

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3840 days

#7 posted 08-11-2010 07:30 PM

Wow! I can’t believe it costs that much to wire in your areas…

I paid a master electrician $500.00 who connected the main line at the power pole in my yard (I trenched and buried the line), he installed the 100 amp panel in my new garage, 1-220V line, 25 duplex receptacles on 3 separate breakers, 7 interior lights (keyless), three exterior HP Sodium lamps (each on a separate switch) and 4 exterior lights, plus 6 exterior duplex receptacles with weatherproof covers.

I bought the 3 HP lamps and 4 fixtures/bulbs for the exterior, and 7 bulbs for the interior.

He supplied and installed everything else, now I think I got a deal!

It would have cost more if I would have helped… :(

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View rkevins's profile


79 posts in 3844 days

#8 posted 08-12-2010 01:54 AM

In the area where you live are you required to have a licned electrician do the work, in some areas if you do the work in your own home you do not have to have permits or inspections, adding sub-panels and recepticals is not all that hard, if you need the info PM me I have copies of the NEC code. (I work in electrical in a HVAC manfg. plant and have wired a few houses / shops)

View AnnaEA's profile


86 posts in 3770 days

#9 posted 08-12-2010 02:01 AM

I’m looking at 350-400 USD to have two circuits run to my workshop—each circuit will have two outlets, and one will be a 220V circuit for power tools, and the other will be 120V for lights and a charger station. I”m getting one of the 220V outlets on the ceiling, so I can use an extension cord reel for the tools that I’ll need to move around in order to use in my micro-shop.

-- Work hard, play hard, drink good beer.

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3876 days

#10 posted 08-12-2010 09:57 PM

Most places, after the house is certified for occupancy, you can do what you want in the inside. They won’t know if you rewire the whole house. I do all my own electrical.

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