Outlets in Soffit


Old 11-09-10, 03:47 PM
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Smile Outlets in Soffit

Hi all!

I am new to the forums and am looking forward to hearing from you.

My wife wants some exterior outlets installed for x-mas lights. So, my questions revolve around installing outlets in my soffits. I have reviewed previous posts on this subject, but want to confirm a few things.

I have plenty of access in my attic and will be running the wiring there. So, here are my questions:

1) What type of wiring would you recommend? NM-B?
2) In addition, is it best to use the WP box with an “in use” cover, or Arlington In Box?
3) How many outlets is acceptable? I know this is dependent on the load, but is there a rule of thumb?

The circuit will be GFCI protected and will be on a switch. I am interested in learning the NEC requirements for applications like this.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-09-10, 05:59 PM
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IIRC, if you recess the box, you can use NM-B, but if you use a surface mount box you have to use UF.

The type of covers will be up to you. The InBoxes are very cool and sleek, but regular in-use covers are cheaper.

There is also no standard or maximum as far as soffit/decorating outlets. However, keep your decorating habits in mind when determining the number of circuits and outlets. If you go all Clark Griswold during Christmas (like I do ) you will definitely need at least two separate circuits with outlets at least in the corners, with extras 12' apart like an interior wall..

ALL outdoor circuits must be GFCI protected. You can either use GFCI devices or a GFCI circuit breaker. Again, up to you.
Old 11-09-10, 06:20 PM
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Would you need UF cable if the surface mounted box is over the drilled hole for the wiring that's in the soffit? I always though UF or other suitable cable as required when running the cable underground or along the exterior of surfaces?
Old 11-09-10, 07:37 PM
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If the cable is above the soffit, as long as it is not a damp area, regular NM could be used.
Old 11-09-10, 09:35 PM
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See that's what I'm not 100% on.. A soffit is a damp location. I'm pretty sure damp/wet boxes lose their rating when you use a clamp fitting on them. They have to be used with either conduit or UF compression seal fittings (which wont work with Romex). So even if the box is up over the hole, a good windblown rain can still creep water between the surface and box, allowing it to leak. I think the only way around that is to use a conduit stub in the back hole, then use a female-female coupler, and screw a clamp into that.
Old 11-10-10, 04:01 PM
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Thanks much!!! I will let you know how it turns out or if I have questions along the way. Also, any rule of thumb relating to how many outlets one should have on a 20 amp circuit?

PS Matt - Awesome Griswold reference. Not going all out this year, but perhaps in the future. I will take your advice regarding mounting outlets in the corners.

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