How To Install An Outdoor Electrical Outlet

Posted on: 16 October 2015

Having an outdoor electrical outlet can be convenient for a lot of reasons. It can allow you to run your electric powered lawn mower, weed whacker or leaf blower. It can allow you to plug in your vacuum cleaner to clean out your car with. If you find yourself running an extension cord out of your house to do these tasks, you need to install an outdoor electrical outlet. If you have an intermediate knowledge of electrical principles and installation as well as access to specialized tools, you can install an outdoor electrical outlet on your own by following the directions below.

Turn Off The Power

The first thing you need to do is turn off the circuit breaker to the outlet that you intend to turn into an outdoor outlet. This outlet needs to be located on an exterior wall and in a location that will be convenient for you to use outside.

You may want to turn off the power to your entire house, just to be on the safe side and to ensure that you don't electrocute yourself. If you have a voltage tester, you can use it to make sure that the power is out by hooking it up to the circuit breaker and checking the voltage reading, which should be zero if the electricity is turned off.

Take Off The Indoor Outlet

First, you will need to unscrew the wall plate that is over your indoor electrical outlet. After you remove the wall plate, you are going to then remove the screws from the receptacle.

Then, you need to disconnect the wires from the outlet. You should be able to do this with your fingers; just unwind them from the receptacle. When the wires have been detached, just let them hang there for the time being.

Drill A Hole

Next, you are going to need to knock a hole in the outlet box that is holding all the wiring together. This is generally a blue or grey plastic box; you should be able to knock out the back of the box by using a screwdriver and a hammer.

After you create a hole, attach a long drill bit to your drill and create a hole a little off from the center of the outlet box. You are going to want to drill all the way to the outside. This will give a reference as to where the wires are at when you go outside.

Cut A Hole

After you drill the hole, go outside. You should see where the hole came through; this is where you need to cut a hole for the new, outside electrical box. Take your new outlet box, place it over the hole you drilled, and outline it with a pencil.

Then, take a saber saw and cut around the outline. Once the hole has been cut, push the outlet box into place and attach screws to it so that it stays in place.

Run The Cables

Once the outlet box is in place, you are going to need to cut off the amount of new wire that you need. Then, you are going to need to run the new bundle of wires through the hole in the inside to the outside; make sure that you leave a couple of inches to work with inside. You are not pushing the old wires through this hole; you are pushing a new set of wires through the holes.

Wire The Outside Outlet

Take the wires and use a razor blade to pull back the sheathing or coating on the cable. This should expose the three wires inside of the cable. Then take each wire and repeat this process, remove a little bit of the installation around the wire so  you can work with the bare wire itself.

You now need to attach the wires to the receptacle or outlet. Wrap the black wire around the gold screw; then wrap the white wire around the silver screw. The cooper wire should wrap around the green screw; this is the grounding wire.

Once the wires are wrapped around the receptacle, place it into the opening for it on the box. Then, screw on the cover for the outside outlet box.

Rewire The Inside Outlet

You are going to need to rewire the inside outlet. Using the original wires, wrap the black wire around the top gold screw, the white wire around the top silver screw.

Then, take the new wire that you left a couple of inches off inside, and pull back the sheathing and the insulation. Then, take the new black wire and wrap it around the bottom gold screw. Next, wrap the white wire around the bottom silver screw.

After you have done that, take a new piece of copper ground wire and attach it to both ends of the old and new grounding wire. Then, take the new grounding wire and wrap it around the green screw.

Place the receptacle back into place, and screw the outlet in place as well as the cover.

Finally, turn the power on and test out the outlet inside and out to make sure that it works. You need to have a basic understanding of how to wire and set up a regular outlet to do this project. If you don't have an understanding of electrical installation, you may want to hire an electrician, such as Nicholas Electric Co, to do this job for you. It shouldn't take a professional electrician or you more than a couple of hours to do this entire job.