How to Install an Outdoor GFCI Electrical Outlet | The Home Depot


To install an outdoor
GFCI outlet, you’ll need to acquire power from
another source at your house. This could be an exterior fixture
that already has power running to it. Or you can choose a location that’s
opposite an indoor outlet in your home. Before proceeding, you’ll need to
make sure the circuit you’re using can handle the new exterior GFCI
outlet without overloading it. Confirm that the polarity and proper
ground of your interior outlet is running correctly. You’ll also need to check
your box fill requirements to ensure that the electrical box can
hold the new conductors being added. In some cases, it may be necessary
to swap the electrical box out with a larger one. Shut off the circuit at the breaker
box and clearly mark it out of service so no one else will turn the breaker
back on while you’re working. Confirm that the power to
the interior outlet is off. Start by taking off the wall
plate on the existing outlet. Remove the two screws connecting
the receptacle to the electrical box and pull it out from the wall. Disconnect all the wires running to the
outlet and push them out of the way. Use a hammer and a flathead screwdriver
to knock out one of the holes in the back of the box. With a long bit, drill
through the hole in the box until you reach through to the outside. Place the electrical box for your new
outdoor GFCI outlet against the wall, making sure it covers the
hole you just drilled. If you’re planning to
recess it into the wall, make a light marking around
the outside with a pencil. Drill holes in each corner,
then use a keyhole or saber saw to cut around the outline. Test fit the electrical
box into the cutout, and trim if necessary to make it flush. Now pull out the box and
use a hammer and screwdriver to knock out a hole in the
back of the box for the wiring. Take a length of Romex cable and feed it
through the hole in the electrical box from the inside. Run it through the wall and
out through the cutout section you created on the
exterior of the house. Cut the cable with a
pair of wire cutters, leaving about a foot
sticking out of each opening. Remember, it’s better to
be too long than too short because you can always
trim it back later. Now feed the outside part of
the Romex through the hole you created in the back of
the GFCI electrical box, and push the box into place in the hole. Secure the box to the
outside wall with screws or by tightening the clamping tabs
on the box to create a snug fit. If needed, use a strain relief
plug in the electrical box to hold the wiring in place. If the wires are too long, you’ll have
difficulty fitting them all inside, so cut back the Romex cable,
leaving about four inches sticking out of the electrical box. Remove the sheathing on the cable,
exposing the wires all the way down to about 1/2 inch from
the back of the box. With a pair of wire strippers,
take off about 1/2 inch of insulation from each individual wire. Now you’re ready to install a
tamper resistant, self-testing GFCI outlet into the new box. Attach the bare ground wire to the
green screw of the outlet, which is usually on the bottom. Attach the white wire to the neutral
screw on the opposite side, which will be silver. Now attach the black wire to the
common screw on the side of the outlet. This will be gold or brass colored. Carefully push the wires
and outlet into the box and screw it down on both sides. On the inside, cut back
the Romex cable if needed and remove the sheathing down
to about 1/2 inch from the plug. For a better fit, trim the
wires to and even length. Then use wire strippers to remove about
1/2 inch of insulation from each wire. To properly tie the new outdoor
outlet wires to the interior outlet, cut a separate piece of Romex about six
inches long and remove the sheathing. Now strip off about
1/2 inch of insulation from each end of the black
wire and the white wire. Depending upon your outlet’s location,
a tamper resistant receptacle may be recommended for the installation. Attach the black wire to the top
brass screw on the side of the outlet. Attach the white wire to the silver
terminal on the opposite side, and attach the bare ground wire to the
green grounding screw on the outlet. Take the other end of the six-inch
copper wire you attached to the outlet and pigtail it to the other
two copper ground wires. Place the ends together, twist
them, and screw on a wire nut. Do the same with the three white wires. Take the wire from the outlet, the
one coming from the house and the one going to your outdoor GFCI, and
pigtail them together in the same way. Finally, go through the same
procedure with the three black wires. Pigtail them together
and attach a wire nut. Now add electrical tape
to each of the connections to keep them from coming loose. Carefully push all of
the wires into the box and screw the outlet down into place. Reattach the cover plate. Some outdoor GFCIs
utilize a gasket to secure the outlet to the electrical box. Screw it down. Then turn the power back on at the
circuit and test out the outlets. With a voltage tester, confirm that
you now have power running to each one. Make sure the reset button works
properly on your outdoor GFCI. If everything is functioning
correctly install the cover. This will keep it safe from
the elements and give you year round power to use outdoors.

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