Adding an Outdoor Outlet

Adding an Outdoor Electrical Outlet

Outdoor electrical outlets can eliminate the need for extension cords, enabling you to upgrade your holiday lighting display, use power garden tools or enjoy your backyard long into the evening. Fortunately, adding an outdoor outlet is no more difficult than adding an indoor outlet and is a project you can easily do yourself with a few common household tools.    


The difference between installing indoor outlets and outdoor outlets is in the materials. A watertight or in-use, outlet cover allows the outside outlet to stay covered even with a cord plugged in. The National Electrical Code also requires the use of ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets outdoors. A GFCI outlet trips itself off when it senses a current leakage or a short circuit.  


This project guide will show you the step by step process of how to add an outdoor outlet on the siding-clad exterior wall of your home using an indoor outlet for power. As with all electrical projects, check local codes before doing any electrical work to ensure compliance.



• Choose an interior outlet to power your new outlet approximately back-to-back to the planned location of your 
  exterior outlet.

• Install the exterior outlet in the same wall bay as the interior outlet, but not against a wall stud.

• Check the interior outlet’s circuit to ensure that a new outlet does not overload it.




• Turn off the electricity at the circuit breaker to the outlet you will use to power your new outlet.




• Save money by installing an outdoor outlet yourself, rather than hiring an electrician.




Step 1: Turn off the power

Turn off the Power • Turn off the electricity at the circuit breaker to the outlet you will use to power your
  new outlet.  
• Use a voltage tester to confirm the power is off at the outlet.  

Step 2: Remove the indoor outlet

Remove the Indoor Outlet

• Unscrew the wall plate on the indoor outlet.  
• Unscrew and pull the receptacle from the wall.  
• Disconnect the wires from the outlet and push them away from the center of the
  outlet box.  


Step 3: Drill a hole to the outside

Drill a Hole to the Outside • Using a hammer and screwdriver, knock out a hole in the back of the outlet box.  
• Insert the long drill bit in the hole at an angle, so that the new outlet will be to the
  side of the old outlet, not directly behind it.  
• Drill a hole in the exterior wall.  

Step 4: Cut a hole for the outdoor outlet

Cut a Hole for the Outdoor Outlet • Hold the outside outlet box against the wall where you plan to hang it, making sure
  the box covers the hole you just drilled and trace around the box with a pencil.  
• Beginning at the hole you drilled, use the keyhole or saber saw to cut around the

Step 5: Run the cable

Run the Cable

• Cut off a length of cable about 2-feet longer than you need.  
• Push the cable through the hole in the indoor outlet, leaving about 6 in. hanging
• Pull the cable through the outdoor hole and the back of the remodeling box.  
• Clamp the cable to the box. 
• Mount the box to the wall, screwing the clamping tabs carefully until the box is tight
  against the wall. 


To learn more read our Installing Remodeling Boxes Project Guide.  


Step 6: Wire and install the outside outlet

Wire and Install the Outside Outlet • Cut the cable so that 4-inches stick out of the outside box.  
• Strip the cable sheathing down to ½-inch. Leave the sheathing on the 1/2-inche
  of cable just under the cable clamp.  
• Strip ½-inch of insulation from each individual wire.  
• Attach the black wire to the line gold screw and the white wire to the line silver
• Attach the bare copper grounding wire to the green screw.  
• Press the outlet into the box and screw it down.  
• Press the in-use cover gasket around the outlet and then screw in the in-use cover.  

Step 7: Rewire the indoor outlet

Rewire the Indoor Outlet • At the inside outlet, wrap the original black wire around the top gold screw. Wrap
  the original white wire around the silver screw opposite the gold one.  
• Wrap the new black wire around the bottom gold screw.  
• Wrap the new white wire to the silver screw opposite.  
• Cut a 6-inches length of copper grounding wire.  
• Connect one end of the new grounding wire to one end of each of the other two
  copper wires with a wire nut.  
• Wrap the other end of the new grounding wire to the green grounding screw on
  the receptacle.  
• Screw the outlet back into the box.  
• Attach the outlet cover.  

Step 8: Test the outlets

Test the Outlets • Turn the power back on. 
• Using your voltage tester, test that both outlets are working properly.