Help Installing Outdoor Outlets

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  #1  
Old 05-04-04, 01:52 PM
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Question Help Installing Outdoor Outlets

I am planning to install 4 electrical outlets (2 in the front corners and 2 in the rear corners) in my single family ranch style house. This will be a dedicated circuit run directly to the electrical panel. Also included will be a motion sensor type flood light over the garage.

Should all of the outlets be GFI type or just the last one in the run. All outlets will be in weather-proof boxes with in-use covers. Also, should I use 14/2 wire and a 15A breaker or 12/2 wire and a 20A breaker. All outlets will probably not be in use at the same time, only Xmas lights in the winter and power/garden tools in the spring/summer.

Thanks in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-04-04, 02:04 PM
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I would put these on a 20 amp circuit, which means 12 gauge wire. You never know when you might want to use a shop-vac or other high current device.

All of the outlets must be GFCI protected. This means either the FIRST outlet is GFCI with the others fed from the load side, or that each one is a GFCI. I would make each one GFCI protected. This way if you get a ground fault you won't have to go to the first outlet to reset it, and you will know exactly where the problem is, you won't have to guess which set of Christmas lights or whatever is causing the problem.

I also recommend that you put the light on a switch, even though it is controlled by a motion detector. You may want to be able to turn it off, such as if you are trying to look at starts, or an eclipse, etc. Also, you or someone else in the future may want to put in a timer and/or possibly remove the motion sensor.
 
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Old 05-04-04, 02:12 PM
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Thanks, Bob.

I pretty much thought that I should use all GFCI outlets. I also thought about putting the flood light on a switch in addition to the motion sensor. However, there really is no convienent place to put one other than the garage. And I wouldn't want to go to the garage everytime I was unsure if the switch was on or not.
 
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Old 05-04-04, 02:16 PM
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If you don't want a switch in the circuit, then I still recommend putting in a junction box for one, and in a convenient location. Simply use a blank cover on it, or even pout a switch in it and simply don't connect to it. Just remember to leave enough wire in the junction box to connect to a switch, in case you eventually want one. You can also use 12-3 from the junction box to the light, thus enabling the light to be always on or switched, depending on how it is wired.

My point is this. If you are going to add new circuits and wiring, don't leave out items that you may eventually want, or scimp. It's much cheaper to add items now than it is to add them later.
 
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Old 05-04-04, 02:43 PM
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Just my preference, but I'd use regular receptacles all downstream from one GFCI, and I'd put that GFCI somewhere where I can reset it without getting out the ladder. I strongly endorse the suggestion for #12 wire.

I like the switch idea too. When I install a switch that I don't want people to accidentally turn off, I put it seven or eight feet high on the wall where it will be unlikely to operated accidentally. And of course I label it. You can put the GFCI right next to the switch.
 
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Old 05-04-04, 02:53 PM
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John,

Thanks for your input.

Unfortunately, the motion sensor & light will be near the end of the run, above the garage door, before the last outlet. That would negate putting the switch near the first GFCI.

Also, the outlets will all be less than 3' above the ground (just above where the siding meets the foundation), so resetting the GFCI would not be a problem. All of the weather-proof boxes would be surface-mounted to the house with the wiring coming from inside the basement to the back of the boxes.
 
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Old 05-04-04, 03:07 PM
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Since the outlets are to be used for outdoor tools, I had assumed they would be reachable with no ladder, so I was suggesting GFCIs at each location. I think John assumed eaves mounted outlets that would take a ladder to reach. If this had been the case then I would agree with him and recommend a GFCI where it could be reached without a ladder.

I still suggest a switch. Mount it high in the garage where it won't be reached accidently, such as six or seven feet high, as John is saying or find some other way to make it hard to accidently trip, such as using an in use cover even though it is the garage and not needed.
 
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Old 05-05-04, 07:45 AM
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Bob/John,

Thanks for all of the useful information. I think I am leaning more and more towards adding a switch to the light.

I just have 1 more question, is there any difference between an indoor & outdoor GFCI outlet? I would hate to run into problems after installing the wrong one.

Once again, thanks for all of your help.
 
  #9  
Old 05-05-04, 08:09 AM
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No, there's no difference between an indoor and an outdoor receptacle, but there is a difference in the box that you put it in.
 
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Old 05-05-04, 08:12 AM
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Thanks, John.

As stated above, they will be installed in weather-proof boxes with in-use covers.
 
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