Are you looking to light up your house’s exterior with Christmas lights? Don’t worry because this guide contains all the help you need to install outdoor outlets for the holidays.
In this article, you’ll be learning about why you want to use outdoor outlets, how to install them, and a few safety tips to help you along the way.
Why Should You Consider Additional Outdoor Outlets For Christmas Lights?
An extra outlet is useful if you wish to install many Christmas lights. Many folks may string them along their stair banisters, along their fireplace mantel, and on their Christmas tree.
If they’re all near together, you might want to think about adding another electrical outlet. But if you have too many amps on a single circuit, you can end up with overheated wires.
Regarding outdoors, an extra outlet built in the eaves beneath your roof might be very practical. They can be placed over windows and doorways and at the house’s corners. These locations make it easy to plug in Christmas lights without using dangerous extension wires.
Before You Install Additional Outdoor Outlets
Before you start messing around your house and installing outdoor outlets, there are things you need to consider. Decorating your house for Christmas can be very exciting. But many people are unaware of the problems that may arise in doing so.
You should be aware that installing multiple strings of lights throughout your home and yard can lead to accidents like short circuits and electrical fires. And you need to think of a few factors to ensure everyone’s safety.
Check The Existing Circuit Load
The circuit load of an average household can take about 15-20 amps. That said, you should never exceed 20 amps, but the safest option is to avoid exceeding the 80% mark. Not exceeding the mark means you should stop at 16 amps.
Add Or Use A Separate Circuit For The New Outlet
Examine your light sets’ packaging. If you can’t, look for a tag or plug on the light cable. You’re good to go if it gives you the amperage rating.
Remember that this is simply the total power available for the Christmas lights; install the same circuit if anything else is used to make the project easier. The lights will have less power.
A single circuit may use several outlets or light fixtures. If you think you’re nearing its overload threshold, divide the lights between two or more circuits.
By turning off one breaker at a time and checking each power outlet, you may determine which are on which circuits. Any outlet with no power is on that circuit.
Don’t Overload A Circuit
Another source of potential overload is using one of those cheap screw-in adapters to plug Christmas lights into light fixtures.
You can only do this safely provided that the adapter is in good working order and makes solid contact with the fixture base, and you don’t exceed the adapter’s or the light fixture’s wattage limit.
Meaning you won’t be able to connect all of your outdoor holiday lights to a single fixture, but it’s better than having a fire.
Consider Safer LED Bulbs
LED lights are approximately 75% more efficient than incandescent lights. Switching from old-style lights to LEDs reduces your electrical load by more than seven times and lowers your holiday electric bill by the same amount.
That might be enough to address your overload issues. These meet the program’s minimal energy efficiency and warranty length requirements. Because LEDs have a long lifespan, investing a little more in quality makes sense.
How To Install An Outdoor Outlet?
So now that you know about what factors to consider and have decided to move forward, you’re ready to install an outdoor outlet.
What You’ll Need
- Drill bits
- Drill/Screw gun/Screwdriver
- Electric tape
- Voltage tester
- Stud finder
- Wire stripper
- Cable clamp
- Electric cable
- GFCI outlet
- Silicone caulking
- Weatherproofing box cover
1. Determine And Check Your Location
Decide which interior outlet you’d like to use first. To make the project easier, install the new outlet in the same cavity on the stud as any existing indoor outlet.
The use of circuits in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or those committed to a big appliance, such as a refrigerator, is prohibited by building rules. They can be used in the living room, basement, and bedroom, but not in the basement because it’s already full.
2. Turn Off Power From The Panel Board
Disable the breaker that controls the outlet and use a voltage tester to ensure that the electricity is off. The receptacle should next be unscrewed and pulled out of the electrical box. Place the voltage tester over the terminals to ensure that the power is switched off.
3. Unscrew The Wires For The Outlet
Next, disconnect the wires from the outlet. Ensure the junction box has enough room for extra wires. For plastic boxes, inspect the inside for a listing of 21 cubic inches for the volume.
4. Drill Through The Wall
Use a stud finder to verify where the stud is located on the electrical box. On the side farthest from the stud, use a 1/4 inch x 18 inches drill bit to drill a hole on the exterior of the electrical box.
Between the drywall and the box, squeeze the drill bit. There’s no need to be concerned if you accidentally drilled a hole in the drywall. It can then be hidden below the cover plate of the outlet. Drill a hole through the wall and siding to locate the new outlet.
The outlet may be lowered by tilting the bit downward, but it can be mounted anywhere on the wall. You can hide it beneath plants if it’s close to the ground. Drill a 3/4-inch hole outside. A hole in the siding can be found above or around the smaller hole.
Move the external junction box straight up or down while in the same cavity of the stud if it isn’t where you want it, and mark the location of the box hole on the siding. Then you should drill a hole measuring one inch over the smaller hole or the mark to provide room for the cable.
5. Connect The New Cable From A Power Or A Convenience Outlet
If you want your outdoor outlet to be located somewhere without an accessible interior outlet, you’ll need to tap into another electrical circuit. Then run 12-inch cables on the inside.
You could use a metal conduit to connect an existing external outlet to a new one. The conduit should be wrapped around corners but not in front of a door with a service ell. You can plant any kind of vegetation to cover it from the front.
6. Secure Back The Source Outlet
After the pigtail wires have been secured to the outlet, connectors join the wires. The exposed copper wire is linked to the green ground screw on the other side, the white wire to a silver terminal of your choice, and the black wires to the brass screws on each side.
Wires colored black or any other color except green or white are hot wires and should be connected, all the white neutral wires, and all the ground wires to the interior outlet. Ground wires are usually green or bare copper.
7. Install The New Outdoor Outlet
The exterior outlet box should be attached to your house. If your lap siding is made from wood, fiber cement, hardboard, or plywood sheathing, you can attach the junction box with exterior-grade fasteners.
The mounting lugs are then secured with galvanized deck screws. If the siding is brick or stucco, use masonry anchors to secure the box. When installing vinyl siding over a composition board, it would be ideal to use wall anchors that are hollow.
8. Add Waterproof Cover As Appropriate
Place the base over the outlet and on top of the box. Ensure that the hinges on the plastic cover above the outlet are on top of it before closing it. To secure the base to the box, use the screws that came with the package.
Join the cover to the base. Remove the chord knockouts from the base where the electric lines will go. By pushing the hinge receptacles sideways over the hinges, you will feel them snap into place. Then turn on the power and plug in your holiday lights.
9. Check Power
Simply turn on the switch to see if everything is working properly and you’re done.
Consult With Local Professionals To Get The Best Results
If you’re having a hard time following these instructions or have some limitations not covered here, you can always talk to professionals to help you with your project. You can ask for advice or hire them to do the work for you.