How to Add an Outdoor Outlet

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Install an exterior outlet and plug in to more lighting and power tool possibilities

Install an outlet on the exterior of your house so that you can more easily light your yard and power your tools.  

Outdoor outlets have watertight covers that allow them to stay covered even with a cord plugged in.

The National Electrical Code requires the use of ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets outdoors. These units trip off when there’s 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.

Tips:
• As with all electrical projects, check local codes before doing any electrical work to ensure compliance.
• Choose an interior outlet that’s 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.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS PROJECT

1
Turn off the power
Turn off power - Add Outdoor Outlet

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

2
Remove the indoor outlet
Remove indoor outlet - Add Outdoor 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.

3
Cut a hole for the outdoor outlet
Cut hole outdoor outlet - Add Outdoor Outlet

• 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.
• Hold the outside outlet box against the wall where you plan to hang it, checking to make 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 outline.

4
Run the cable
Run the cable - Add Outdoor Outlet

• Cut a length of cable about 2 feet longer than you need.
• Push the cable through the hole in the indoor outlet, leaving about 6 inches hanging inside.
• 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.

5
Wire and install the outside outlet
Wire install outside outlet - Add Outdoor 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 ½ inch 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 screw.
• 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.

6
Rewire the indoor outlet
Rewire indoor outlet - Add Outdoor 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-inch 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.

7
Test the outlets
Test the outlets - Add Outdoor Outlet

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