Electrical Wiring for Barns


Essential Electrical Wiring Tips for Barns

When it comes to planning the electrical wiring for barns, Root Electric understands the intricacies and unique requirements to ensure utmost safety, practicality, and efficiency. Serving the Northern Virginia and Clifton, VA area, we bring to you our expertise through these guidelines and tips:

Safety First: With barns being exposed to dust, moisture, and flammable materials, ensuring an ultra-safe electrical system is our top priority.

  • Circuit Breakers: We recommend and install appropriate circuit breakers and GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets, crucial in damp areas.
  • Conduit: For added protection, we use either metal conduit or MC cable.
  • Weatherproofing: Our team installs weatherproof covers and outlets to withstand the elements.


  • LED Lighting: Known for its energy efficiency, longer lifespan, and minimal heat production, LED is our top choice for barns.
  • Vaporproof: Lighting that is installed is generally "vaporproof", which means that there are seals around the lens of the fixture to make sure explosive gasses don't make their way into the parts of the fixture that can cause an ignition.  
  • Exterior Lights: We fit exterior lights at vital points such as entrances, driveways, and pathways, and often suggest motion-activated variants for enhanced security.
  • Task Lighting: We ensure well-lit areas for specific tasks, whether it's a workbench or a grooming stall.
  • Switches: Strategically placed at every entrance, and for extended barn aisles, we set up three-way switches.


  • Distribution: We strategically position outlets throughout the barn, reducing the need for potentially hazardous extension cords.
  • Height: Root Electric ensures that outlets are installed at heights where they remain dry and clean.

Heavy Equipment & Appliances:

  • Dedicated Circuits: We set up dedicated circuits for heavy-duty machines like welders or significant power tools.
  • 220V Circuits: For specific equipment and appliances, we can install 220V outlets alongside the standard 110V.

Fans and Ventilation: Recognizing the need for effective ventilation when housing animals, we can set up exhaust fans and circuits for floor or ceiling fans.

Rodent Protection: We prioritize wiring solutions that resist potential rodent damage, a common barn concern.

Future Expansion: Root Electric always plans ahead. We recommend installing extra conduits and wiring provisions for future needs.

Professional Touch: In an environment as specialized as a barn, our professional team ensures that all electrical work is done safely and in compliance with regulations. Remember, permits and inspections may be necessary.

Regular Inspection and Maintenance: We stress the importance of frequent checks given the exposure barns face to ensure the safety of the system.

Grounding: With barns often damp, we make sure the electrical system is impeccably grounded for utmost safety.

Clear Labeling: For ease of use, we clearly label all circuit breakers and switches.

Local Considerations for Electrical Wiring: The Clifton, VA Example

In places with active equestrian communities, such as Clifton, VA, which boasts a vibrant horse society, the importance of safe and efficient electrical wiring in barns and stables becomes even more paramount. The frequent activities and equestrian events held by the society place a heightened emphasis on the safety and functionality of barn facilities. Given the prominence of horses in Clifton, VA, it's not just about following general electrical guidelines but also ensuring that local standards and best practices, which cater to the specific needs of horse stables, are adhered to. Horses, being highly sensitive creatures, can be especially reactive to sudden noises, flickering lights, or even the hum of poorly wired electrical systems. Stable owners in the region should, therefore, be extra diligent. It might also be beneficial to liaise with local horse societies or clubs to stay updated on any particular recommendations or guidelines they might have regarding stable infrastructure. After all, when it comes to the safety and comfort of both animals and humans, no measure is too excessive. Remember, while these are general guidelines, local codes and regulations may have specific requirements, so always check with local authorities when planning your barn's electrical system.


Satisfaction / Safety First Since 1986

Bill Root

About the author

During my tenure at Root Electric, I lead the transition of Root Electric from a primarily sub-contracting based business model to a prime-contracting based business model. Accomplishments have been made by developing a team based approach to researching and implementing a service-specific client management system.

My goals for the next five years are to fine tune Root Electric's brand strategy and to diversify its scope of services, while remaining true to the discipline of electrical work.