Repairing exterior outlet

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Old 03-17-10, 09:38 AM
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Repairing exterior outlet

Hi all,

I have an external, 120V exposed outlet in a flush mounted box with exterior cover. Recently it lost power and I eventually discovered it is wired into the upstairs bathroom GFI outlets. I reset the GFI and it restored power. I just mention this in case it's important.

I need to replace the outlet (it's worn) and put in new gaskets or a new cover and properly seal it.

Is a standard 120V outlet OK for this application? That is what's currently installed.

Also, just below the outlet is a surface mounted junction box (with blank cover) to provide power to an underground conduit. The first time I removed the cover on this box there was about 2" of water in the box. I suppose that means that the whole conduit was filled with water(the far end is slightly higher than house end). I also need to put a new gasket in this one and seal it properly but I'm suprised that there is no weep hole in the box. Assuming the water is entering from the house end box, the water could be diverted from entering the conduit with a small weep hole.

Is it practice to drill a small hole in the bottom of the box or do you rely on a perfect seal?

Thanks, house is 12 years old in CA.
 
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Old 03-17-10, 10:19 AM
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Yes a standard 15 amp receptacle is ok. At least that is the simple answer.

What does the conduit supply power to? How hard would it be to run a dedicated cable to the receptacle? How close is the breaker box? Is it a one story house with accessible attic.

Lots of demands on a modern bathroom circuit. Removing the outside receptacle and what it feeds from the bathroom circuit might be beneficial.
 
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Old 03-17-10, 10:33 AM
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The conduit supplies power to a deck for lights (which I removed and never replaced) and an outlet and to tell you the truth we never use it - I may cap off the wires to the deck but it's still not good to have standing water in the box - it could even get to where the wiring hole in the wall and thus cause water damage.

The exterior outlets (I believe the one in the front is on the kitchen GFI) are used for lawn tools etc. This is the first time it blew, probably because I was using a circular saw on it.

Unfortunately, it would be very difficult to create a seperate circuit (2- story slab house). I'm amazed in these modern houses how many unrelated circuits are ganged on a single breaker. There are outlets on nearly every wall of every room (3 bedroom/2.5 bath) and about 20 pot lights yet they only have 18 breakers for the whole house. I'm sure it's legal but forget about any serious modifcations.
 
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Old 03-17-10, 12:29 PM
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Your grandfathered so what you have is OK but actually it wouldn't meet current code. You need to replace the old style cover with an in-use cover. That will shed water better. Replace the gasket on the blank cover for the conduit box.
 
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Old 03-17-10, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Your grandfathered so what you have is OK but actually it wouldn't meet current code. You need to replace the old style cover with an in-use cover. That will shed water better. Replace the gasket on the blank cover for the conduit box.

you put a gfci on the first outdoor outlet on the feed to make it easier to reset and then in the bathroom switch wire from load side to line side of the existing gfci
 
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Old 03-17-10, 05:17 PM
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Is it practice to drill a small hole in the bottom of the box or do you rely on a perfect seal?
I don't think it's practice, but I also don't think it would violate code. Yes, it's good to keep water out of the box. I would try a new in-use cover and gasket for that. As far as water in the conduit, all underground conduits have water in them.
 
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Old 03-17-10, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
I don't think it's practice, but I also don't think it would violate code. Yes, it's good to keep water out of the box. I would try a new in-use cover and gasket for that. As far as water in the conduit, all underground conduits have water in them.
LOL - that's kind of what I figured. I just finished the repair and noticed water about 1/2" below the top of the conduit.

BTW, I'm sure the pros know this but there are Leviton weather/tamper resistant outlets. They are about twice as much as standard but are probably worth it as they are noticeably sturdier. They also hold plugs much more firmly which is a nice feature. Couldn't figure out the tamper resistant part at first but it seems to mean that it's harder to insert foreign objects into the plug holes - a little silly IMO.
 
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Old 03-18-10, 06:46 PM
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I'm sure the pros know this but there are Leviton weather/tamper resistant outlets. They are about twice as much as standard but are probably worth it as they are noticeably sturdier
If you want sturdier and well built, stay away from the 39 cent bulk bin devices at the box stores. Buy a commercial grade or specification grade device instead. If you feel like you only get what you pay for, buy a Hubbell specification grade device, but be prepared to pay up to $10 to $12 per receptacle.
 
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