Just like many other homeowners, you might want to start using your garage as a personal workshop. Maybe you plan on doing some woodworking in there. Or, perhaps you’ve got a project car you’re building from scratch.
But before you decide to plug in any heavy power tools or machinery, you need to do a little bit of preparation first. After all, you don’t want to end up tripping your circuit breakers and plunging your entire home into darkness. Worse yet, you don’t want to cause an electrical fire in your home!
In this article, we’re going to take a quick look at all the things you should consider about wiring your garage for heavy power tools.
Heavy Power Tools and Regular Wall Sockets
The first thing you need to understand is that garages typically have regular wall sockets, just like the ones in the rest of your house. While those sockets may be great for powering your toaster in the kitchen, they might not be able to satisfy the big appetites of heavy power tools.
Figure Out How Much Amperage Your Power Tools Need
Before you get any wiring done for your garage, you first need to figure out how much power you’ll need. To be more specific, power tools need a higher amperage than other electrical appliances. Amperage is simply the maximum amount of power that tool will draw from your power supply when you’re using it.
To figure out how much amperage you need, look closely at the tools you have. Also, do your homework about any tools you plan on buying. Look at the manuals, or simply check the nameplates on the tools themselves. They’ll list down the exact amperage requirements you need to be aware of.
Check The Total Amperage Available In Your Home
Once you’ve figured out what your tools’ requirements are, check the main breaker in your home. There, you should see details about how much amperage your home can support.
If your home cannot sustain the amperage required by your heavy power tools, then perhaps it’s time for a change. You could downgrade to less power-hungry tools, but that’s no fun. Instead, you could increase the power supply to your home and install an upgraded home service panel to cater to your power needs. To do all of this, you’ll need to hire a qualified electrician.
Remember: complicated and dangerous electrical work like this should always be done by an expert. This is not a weekend DIY project!
Upgrade Your Electrical Wiring
Your power supply and service panel aren’t the only things that need to be upgraded. You must also ensure that the wiring in your garage can sustain the increased electrical power flowing through your home.
The typical wiring found in a residential home isn’t designed for heavy-duty usage. Your current wiring may be enough for appliances like fridges and air conditioners, but probably not for heavy power tools like arc welders or cabinet saws.
So, you’ll have to consult your qualified electrician about installing higher-gauge wiring and sufficient wall sockets in your garage, as well.
Using Extension Cords
At some point, you may be tempted to use extension cords instead of installing new wall sockets. That’s perfectly fine. Still, you have to bear in mind that not all extension cords are made the same.
If you plan on using those extension cords to power your heavy power tools, you’ll need to buy heavy-duty extension cords. Just as the wall sockets mentioned earlier, these will have higher-gauge wiring in them and can, therefore, cater to your heavy power tools’ higher demands.
A Worthwhile Investment
Wiring your garage for heavy power tools sounds like a significant investment and a lot of hassle. But if you plan on spending a lot of time in there working with heavy-duty tools, the investment will certainly be worth it!