No Outside outlets

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  #1  
Old 11-28-05, 11:06 AM
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No Outside outlets

Was putting up Christmas lights outside this weekend and notice there are no outside outlets to plug them in! (just bought the house this past April). How do you make an outside outlet? Was thinking of using one of those converters for the porch light but it might not be safe? I can also drag an extension cord to go through the garage to the outlet in there but I don't think that's very safe. Any specific instructions, step by step on installing an outside outlet?
 
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Old 11-28-05, 11:26 AM
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You bought the house in April and 7 months later you are just finding out that there are no outside receptacles. There's something wrong with that picture. You SHOULD have figured this out when you completely mapped out the electrical system, shortly after moving in.

Installing an outside receptacle means identifying the load and then picking a location and finding a power source.

The load must be identified first. Are you talking about a few Christmas lights or many? What about other uses? Will you be wanting to run an electric hedge trimmer or a leaf blower?

Once you know the anticipated load you can find a power source and plan a location. The best power source is a new line from the circuit breaker panel. In this manner you can handle any 120 volt load, including your Christmas lights, and place the receptacle just about anywhere. . However, other possibilities exist, such as tapping an existing circuit. As long as you arenít tapping a kitchen counter top, bathroom receptacle or laundry circuit, you will be fine IF the anticipated load is small and the circuit is not already heavily loaded.

The easiest way to install the circuit is to run the line from the basement up inside the wall of the house to the location of the receptacle. How easy this is depends on the structure of the house and whether the basement is finished. If you are tapping an existing circuit, you may be able to install the box in the same stud cavity as an existing receptacle and not have to worry about the basement or running wires at all.

I suggest that you buy and read the book Wiring Simplified, as it will detail much of this and steer you in the right direction.

To answer your other questions, yes you can run an extension cord from the garage. An extension cord is perfectly safe as long as you donít overload the cord. I donít recommend trying to tap an outside light, as that usually means running the cord down from the light and using an adapter, both of which are discouraged.
 
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Old 11-28-05, 12:18 PM
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Thanks racraft all that info helps a lot but I must clear something up as it was bothering me...

As to why it's been a long time since I've moved in and haven't noticed...

I am a single mom. Since the move, I've been-cleaning, priming and painting the whole entire interior wall of the house as I didn't notice prior to the move the whole house smelled of smoke...fixed sprinkler heads, installed a sprinkler system in the backyard as there were none, dug up 1 side of the front lawn since the sprinklers on that side was not working, re-doing the floors in 1 bath, primed and painted the kitchen cabinets, installed light fixtures and other crudola, pulled up/out carpet/padding and installing flooring, etc. -DIY-ing...(not having other people do the work)...WHILE trying to maintain doing the laundry, dishes, mowing the lawn, vacuuming, cooking for my son and I, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning...all at the same time...oh, BTW...working 5 days a weeks...so if 7 months still seems long then I'm not moving fast enough...
 
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Old 11-28-05, 12:55 PM
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Question you're kidding, right?

You SHOULD have figured this out when you completely mapped out the electrical system, shortly after moving in.
seriously?!?
 
  #5  
Old 11-28-05, 01:02 PM
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Yes.

EVERYONE should completely and thoroughly map out their entire electrical system ASAP after moving into a house or apartment. No, you don't need to know which way all the wires run. What you need to know is which breaker (or fuse) controls each and every receptacle, light and appliance, as well as the reverse, what lights, receptacles and appliances are on each and every breaker. This information is invaluable when you have an electrical problem such as no power at a receptacle, but more importantly THE INFORMATION COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE SOME DAY.
 
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Old 11-28-05, 01:14 PM
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Oh, if that's what you meant...that was done already when I turned off all the electricity to do some electrical stuff inside the house...they are all marked correctly...just didn't notice there wasn't something to the outside...
 
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Old 11-28-05, 03:36 PM
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Just a friendly little tip for the ladies:

When buying extension cords, dont't just think about those lamp cord type extension cords. Extension cords can be bought rated for indoor/outdoor use and come in various wire gauge sizes. You can actually buy 12-gauge wire extension cords that won't burn up on you even under full load that a 20 amp house circuit can handle. I own quite a few 14-gauge wire size ones. These are good to use on any 15 amp rated circuit without the fear the exrension cord might go into melt down mode. Typical extension cords of this ilk are the 16 gauge ones, which obviously carry a little less current than a normal house circuit.

If you plan on using one extension cord with some multiple plug on the end in order to plug all kinds of lights into, extra extension cords or who knows what else, I would go with at least the 14 gauge one. You can usually buy these at home improvement centers in an array of pretty colors and the better cords do not get stiff in cold whether. You can even get them that have lit up ends that tell you that the cord is working.

When winding up an extension cord the typical way, where you wind it around your folded arm (most typical method, I'd say), you can avoid the wires inside the extension cord twisting and the cord getting figure 8 shaped by simply reverse winding up the cord each time. First time you wind it up, wind it clockwise., The next time, counterclockwise. The next time, clockwise. Etc. If you forget, you can tell which way you need to go by looking how the loops of the cord are laying. You always wind it so the loops start to unravel, rather than create more loops, as you wind it up. I am one of those people tha require perfectly coiled cords and hoses.
 
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