Ever since we started to understand the role of electric power in the 19th century, we have become increasingly dependent on electricity in our daily lives. So prevalent is its use in the 21st century that it is difficult to imagine living without electricity in our homes. In the same way, there is no need for your beautiful new summer house creation to go off grid.
Do I need electricity in my summer house?
As a garden building that brings you back into contact with nature and the outdoor world, you may crave some time away from modern conveniences and online interruptions. Purists may decide that their summer house space should remain sacrosanct as a secluded hideaway where you can enjoy quiet time amidst the sounds of nature. However, when we look at the activities and uses our customers have for their summer houses, it is clear that a summer house with electricity, connected to the mains, or installing a solar lighting package, can bring enjoyable benefits.
Switch it up: how electricity can help you to enjoy your summer house
With electricity installed, you can enjoy your summer house:
- At night: subtle lighting guides you through the garden so you can enjoy a quiet drink at dusk as the sun goes down.
- At Christmas: festive lighting extends from twinkling LEDs, and classic white bulbs, to explosions of colour that help create a feature in your garden.
- For work: add a bright desk light and connect your laptop to the Wi-Fi for an undisturbed and productive session in your own home office.
- For parties: create an ambience by adding a smart speaker to your summer house and a fridge for drinks and you have the perfect home venue for entertaining friends and family.
- For hobbies: whether you are engaged in crafts or studying in your garden building, adding electricity means you can switch on your sewing machine or PC.
- For entertainment: lounge in your very own outdoor haven and watch your favourite box set on your iPad. Or set up a games console to keep the grandchildren amused.
- For swimming: light up your garden building and it could become a pool house for an early morning swim.
- For gardening: add an outside plug to your summer house and create easy access to the lawnmower in the heart of your garden.
Depending on your lifestyle and aspirations there are many ways in which access to power could enhance your summer house experience and enable you to maximise its use.
In our blog, we look at the process of installing electric power to your summer house, some of the alternatives, and the pros and cons of different approaches.
Installing electricity in your summer house
Perhaps most important of all, ensure that you choose a garden building that is compatible with power installation. Electricians will always check whether your structure is watertight before starting any work and this is one job where engaging a professional is imperative. Scotts’ summer houses are finely constructed using long-lasting and durable hardwood, and each piece is carefully crafted to fit seamlessly helping to prevent the ingress of moisture as well as keeping out draughts.
Once you are content that your garden building is weatherproof and secure, the next step is to think about the activities you envisage enjoying in your summer house. What you plan to plug in will determine how much power you need and how many sockets and switches are required. It is always better to install more than you need at first to avoid a shortfall in the future.
Power will be taken from the mains electricity supply in your house and connected to the garden via a strong steel-wired armoured cable (known as a SWA). This can be buried (in which case you will need to dig a trench about 60cm deep in your garden) or installed along the line of a wall or fence. Keeping it hidden underground will maintain the integrity of your garden and summer house design.
Your electrician may connect this cable to your existing fuse box or, depending on its age, fit a new consumer unit. It is recommended for safety reasons to install a Residual Circuit Device (RCD) which immediately cuts the supply if any item develops a fault. Experts say that it is not advisable to connect your summer house to the mains via a series of extension leads, or even by one very long lead, as this represents a fire risk if overloaded.
Power installation should always be carried out by a registered electrician in accordance with Part P of UK Building Regulations which are designed to prevent fires and electric shocks. You will need to obtain an electrical installation certificate once the work is completed and notify building control at your local authority. You can find the right contact via the Planning Portal. Getting your paperwork in order will help to ensure protection by your insurance provider in the event of a fire, and you will certainly need to pass it on if you move house.
Alternatives to mains electricity
If you are keen to avoid the expense and disruption of installing mains electricity or think you might want to move your summer house at a future date, there are other options to help you take advantage of heat and light.
To retain heat in your summer house without a power supply, you could opt to install insulation within the walls and roof. Scotts’ tongue and groove effect lining can be fitted to the majority of its models creating a thick, moisture resistant layer than will keep your garden building cosy all year round.
Retain the heat and keep out draughts by installing double-glazed windows in your summer house. Scotts offers double-glazing for the majority of its garden building models and uses clear, low E energy saving glass.
Good value and safer than many portable heaters with a low risk for fire, oil-filled heaters are a highly flexible alternative to mains-powered types. They efficiently convert almost all the energy they use to heat and go on radiating warmth even after you have switched them off.
Our love of a natural flame has increased demand for woodburning stoves in recent years. Scotts is happy to assist you in creating a bespoke summer house to accommodate a stove that creates a cosy ambience and keeps you warm when it is cold outside.
Increasingly, electrical items in common use can be charged and used wirelessly. From laptops and e-books to smart speakers and watches, you can enjoy portable technology in your summer house without access to mains power. Charge up an LED lamp and simply carry it out to your summer house for an effective light source with no annoying wires.
To maximise use of your summer house for as long as possible each day, choose a position that absorbs heat from the sun. Add a Scotts’ rotating base to your summer house and you can swing it around to chase the light.
If you are looking for a clean and green alternative to accessing power in your summer house, you might consider a solar lighting package. These are easy to install, safe to use and make the most of the natural resources inherent in daylight.
Scotts offers a solar lighting package that is capable of delivering 12v of energy that can power lights, a fan in warm weather, and enables you to recharge your smart devices, laptops, and mobile phones.
The kit includes a 10w high efficiency solar panel and wall bracket so it can be securely mounted out of reach. The 10Ah solarhub contains a lithium battery hub capable of powering a table lamp and wall lamp with vintage-style bulbs. LED bulbs like these use 80 per cent less electricity.
This simple system collects energy from the sun via the solar panel and stores it within the solarhub to power multiple devices. Entirely self-sufficient, a solarhub costs nothing to run once you have covered its installation.
Comparing the options: Mains versus Solar Electricity
Summer house with mains electricity
- Safe to power any type of device
- Flexible with multiple sockets
- Controllable and convenient.
- Expensive to install
- Requires professional certification
- Adds to domestic power bills.
Solarhub summer house electrics
- Clean energy that emits no pollution
- Easy to install
- Enables devices to be charged
- Keeps the lights on after dark.
- Insufficient energy for all uses (will not power an electric heater)
- Cannot charge up overnight
- Subject to the vagaries of the British weather.
Concluding Summer House Electrics
In conclusion, the integration of electricity into your summer house opens up a realm of possibilities, transforming it from a simple retreat into a versatile and dynamic space. Whether you seek the tranquillity of a quiet evening, the festive glow of holiday celebrations, a productive home office environment, or a hub for entertaining guests, electricity proves to be the catalyst for these experiences. The benefits extend beyond mere convenience, offering a canvas upon which you can paint a myriad of activities and memories.
The ease of installation, although requiring professional expertise, ensures a safe and seamless transition to a powered summer house. From subtle lighting to powering devices and creating a cosy ambiance, electricity enhances the functionality and comfort of your retreat. The choice between mains electricity and eco-friendly solar options allows for flexibility in meeting your specific needs and values.
In the end, a summer house with electricity becomes not just a shelter from the elements but a personalised haven where nature meets modern comfort. It’s a space that adapts to your lifestyle, enabling you to fully embrace the beauty of your surroundings while enjoying the conveniences of the 21st century. So, whether it’s a quiet night, a festive occasion, a productive workday, or a lively gathering, the benefits of a summer house with electricity are a testament to the seamless integration of nature and modern living.
Get a summer house with electricity already installed
We hope that you have been inspired by our review of the part that power can play in your enjoyment of your summer house, and we understand that you may have more questions relating to your specific project. Our design team and expert installers have decades of experience in handling this critically important element of your summer house build, and we can advise you on the best option to choose and the process to follow.
Whether you choose to install mains power, or opt for a solarhub, the Scotts team is happy to discuss the process and help you to prepare your summer house to maximise your enjoyment.
Contact us via our website or call us on 01832 732366 and we look forward to answering your questions.
You might also enjoy reading these posts: