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Old 10-23-2009, 07:52 AM   #1
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


I am planning to install one or two outdoor outlet(s). My original plan was to drill through the house in the basement, and use that hole to run a wire right into the back of an outdoor box.

I will be tapping into an existing 20Amp gfci-protected circuit.

The problem is that the basement is almost all (except for about 12-18 inches) underground. This would make the maximum height of my outlet just over a foot. Living in the northeast, that could leave this outlet buried in snow. I want the outlet 2-3 feet high to prevent this.

What's the best method to do this? I can come out of the basement wall with conduit and run it up the side of the house into the bottom of an outdoor box (which would be attached to the house). Or can I do this without attaching the box to the house? Should I come out of the basement below grade?

Also, since I will be using conduit, is 12-gauge THWN wire appropriate? Thanks.

Thanks.

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Old 10-23-2009, 07:55 AM   #2
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


The outdoor outlets should be on their own circuit, in order to prevent overload. What is to keep someone from loading the interior GCFI outlet with a hairdryer, or other heavy load user, while you are trying to use a power tool, Leaf Blower, etc, outside.

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Old 10-23-2009, 08:29 AM   #3
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


Hmm, good thought, but I dont think I'm knowledgeable enough to go installing breakers just yet.

It is safe to find a 20Amp circuit and tap into it, right? I just may trip the breaker if too much goes on at once?

Last edited by secutanudu; 10-23-2009 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:05 AM   #4
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


Outside outlets are not required to be on their own circuit - but a very good idea
You can't tap into bathroom, laundry or kitchen circuits
Outside outlet does need to be GFCI protected & must have an in-use wet cover

Yes - too much load & you will trip the breaker

You can come out of the basement below grade in conduit
Box needs to be supported if not on the house
I used PT 2x4/2x6 to support mine - re-inforced w/some concrete
THWN if in conduit/outside

If going direct into the back of a box mounted onto the house TWHN not required
I prefer to keep all of my outlets at least 12" off the ground due to snow
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:29 AM   #5
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


I can use romex if I go right into the back of the box even if it's outside?

Should I just use UF in that case, or is it overkill?
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:41 AM   #6
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


You should come out of your house and go up with conduit and attach it to a wet approved metal box like you recommended.

A couple things:

1.) Yes, use THWN. It comes in 2 flavors, stranded and solid. Do yourself the favor and pay the extra $0.04/ft for the stranded kind. BTW almost all places call it THHN. You won't find THWN on any labels or packaging but look at the cable itself almost all THHN will say THHN/THWN. Make sure your wire mentions THWN else don't get it. The alternative is UF-B but... UF-B is a ***** to work with and comes in 25,50,100 ft lengths THHN/THWN is by the foot and should be much easier.

2.) It has to be GFCI protected, this is one case I recommend either getting a GFCI breaker OR attaching it to a GFCI inside the house... even if you gotta put that GFCI recept in a place that doesn't make a whole lot of sense keep the GFCI inside and have the outdoor recept after the GFCI. I find GFCI recepts placed outdoors just don't last a damn even in the best of outdoor locations & covers. FYI having them inside if you trip it you have to go inside to reset it. This assumes you know that any recepts placed downline of a GFCI also inherit its protection. I put a GFCI recept right next to the breaker panel and then my outside recepts are connected to its "load" side so they all have GFCI protection and the GFCI protecting the circuit is inside. If it trips, I gotta go to the recept near my breaker panel to reset it... but that's never happened yet!

3.) To do this, I always recommend 3/4". Make sure you get the gray pvc from the electrical isle/parts store not plumbing PVC. Electricals gray pvc is resistant to UV, plumbings is not. Parts you'll need.
  • One 3/4" LB fitting (recommended) http://www.drillspot.com/pimages/1388/138803_300.jpg
    OR
    One 3/4" Pull Elbow http://www.farmtek.com/wcsstore/Engi...ll/lj1870a.jpg
  • One 3/4" PVC Pipe 10'
  • One 3/4" threaded fitting http://www.azpartsmaster.com/images/.../WPVC750TA.jpg
  • One 3/4"wet location one-gang 5 hole box http://www.bwfmfg.com/images/b5-22v.jpg (top picture) Experience has told me after this idea you will have other ideas so one with 2 holes on the bottom is nice cause if you want to expand it's most likely to expand down. They make a 3 hole as well which will look nicer if you feel you won't be adding later, but if you do add later your option is to expand out the top and that's usually not the direction you want. The metal wet location ones are better IMHO than PVC for this application as they come with hole stoppers and don't have funny looking nipples you have to plug if you are saving it for expansion later. Anyway, a metal wet location box gets my vote your choice 5 or 3 hole.
  • One 3/4" PVC bracket http://www.drillspot.com/pimages/1362/136257_300.jpg
  • One 20A recept
  • One outdoor recept cover (I personally like the in-use ones, I will say though the one-gang above + in-use cover will be sticking off your house like 6-8". They make an in-use cover that's expandable but I don't trust how long it'll last).
  • One can of electrical PVC cement http://images.orgill.com/200x200/6075246.jpg
  • Three lines of stranded #12 THWN (Black, White, Green makes most sense)
  • Some Silicone, don't need much
Double check everything matches up... 1/2" and 3/4" is common stock it's easy to accidentally pick up a 1/2" part instead of 3/4" (and likewise people at the store will often put back their 1/2" fitting in the 3/4" box etc.)

If you never used the pvc glue just a warning you have about 20 seconds if that to daub the male fitting, slide the piece together, and give it a twist. Hold for 10 seconds and you won't be able to pull it apart. Also try to make sure the wording on the PVC will end up on the back when you put it on your house.

Put the whole thing together, silicone heavily around the hole you drilled in your house and you don't have much time for the silicone to set, slide the whole thing in.. make sure the silicone seals as this may be under snow sometimes, and screw in the one gang and bracket. I don't know if you can just use regular romex in this situation sorry.


Good luck!

Last edited by Piedmont; 10-23-2009 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:52 AM   #7
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


Thanks for the responses to all...

Couple questions...

Why stranded THWN cable vs. non-stranded? (Just curious)

Why an LB or Pull Elbow as opposed to a normal one like this:

Wouldnt that normal elbow be less likely to allow water to seep in?
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:53 AM   #8
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


Quote:
Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
Thanks for the responses to all...

Couple questions...

Why stranded THWN cable vs. non-stranded? (Just curious)

Why an LB or Pull Elbow as opposed to a normal one like this:

Wouldnt that normal elbow be less likely to allow water to seep in?
Stranded is easier to work with.

An lb will fit flush against the wall, where the 90 you show will stick out from the wall and look like crap.
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:56 AM   #9
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


Well that makes sense

I take it the two types of elbows above are safe for outside, above-ground use?

Thanks!
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:02 PM   #10
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
Stranded is easier to work with.

An lb will fit flush against the wall, where the 90 you show will stick out from the wall and look like crap.
x2

Running wires in conduit is not near as easy as you'd think especially solid #12. You can certainly do it, for that distance it won't be too difficult until you try to latch down the recept. What do you need, 3 feet of Black, White, and Green? Around here the stranded would cost you $0.36 more and make this job butter. I think it's worth it.

When it comes to waterproofing the PVC cement makes a waterproof seal so there won't be any water issues with the fittings & pipe just make sure you do it right and fast cause like I said you have I would guess under 10 seconds to push the fittings together after you swab the cement and give them a twist. The gaskets on the LB and pull elbow do as well and yes any grey PVC electrical fitting (that I'm aware) is outside safe. You only need to make sure your hole is well... round and just big enough for everything to fit and that you caulk the pull elbow or LB and then push it in and fasten it and that the silicone has sealed between this thing and your house. If you do it right, this will be watertight. I included a pic to show, and did a pull elbow only because it's easier to draw I like LB's better. Obviously use galvanized screws on the gang box to fasten it to the house once you push it in.
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Last edited by Piedmont; 10-23-2009 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:57 PM   #11
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


Oh, by the way it doesn't look like you can install regular romex in the conduit for this application. Get the LB, not pull elbow. Bring your romex into the LB and in there switch over to THWN.

Romex can be installed in conduit for protection purposes but cannot be installed in a conduit system. There is a difference. In your case once you hit the LB you switch from protection to a system and from there Romex can't be used.

You only need THWN the short distance from the receptacle to the LB. Since it's straight, solid THWN is fine.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:32 PM   #12
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Wiring an outdoor outlet


Excellent info and pictures. Thanks so much. THis should be an easy job.

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