How To Install An Exterior GFCI Electrical Outlet For Your Holiday Lights

4 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog


The holiday season is a lot of fun as people decorate the outside of their homes with festive lights. These lights should be plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter electrical outlet that will protect you against electrical shorts and shocks. If you don't have a GFCI outlet on the outside of your home, you'll have to install one. Here is how you can install a GFCI electrical outlet on the outside of your home before you put up your holiday lights.

Step One: Choose Location

The outlet should be placed in a convenient spot you can easily reach and on the opposite side of a regular electrical outlet inside the home – this is so you have quick access to an electrical supply to tap into to provide power to the GFCI outlet.

Step Two: Turn off Electric

Turn off the circuit breaker going to the outlet in your house. Test the outlet with a voltage meter to make sure the electricity is off.

Step Three: Drill Hole

You need to remove the interior outlet. Take off the outlet cover and remove the top and bottom screws holding the outlet to the electrical box. Remove the electrical wires connected to the outlet.

There are little tabs at the bottom of the electrical box. Push one of the tabs in with a screwdriver.

Place a long drill bit on a drill and drill a hole through the tab to the outside of the house.

Step Five: Create Opening for GCFI Electrical Box

Center the GCFI box over the hole on the outside of the house. Use a pencil to draw an outline of the box on the house. Cut out the outline with a jigsaw so the GCFI box can slide into the opening.

Step Five: Connect Wires

Slide the electrical wire cable (the cable holds the positive, negative, and ground wires) from inside the house to the outside. Knock out a tab in the back of the GCFI box and slide the wires through the box. Split open the cable, and trim the insulation on the white and black wires back to expose the bare end of the wires inside the cable – the ground wire is already bare.

The bare ground wire is connected to the green screw on the GCFI outlet. The white wire goes to the silver screw and the black wire to the gold or brass colored screw. Slide the outlet into the GFCI box and screw it into place. Put on the cover.

Go back inside and trim back the wires on the other side of the cable you slid through the hole.

Cut a length of wire cable about three or four inches long. Split open the cable and remove the individual wires. Connect these wires to the corresponding screws on the regular outlet – the screw colors are the same as the GCFI outlet. Then connect these wires to the same colored wires coming from the GCFI outlet and the circuit breaker box (white to white, black to black, and ground to ground).

Use a nut screw to connect the each set of wires together and cover with electrical tape. Place the outlet back in the electrical box and put the cover back on.

Step Six: Check Electrical Circuit

Turn on the electricity. Check the GFCI and regular outlets with a voltage meter to make sure you have electrical service going to each outlet.

For more information, contact an electrical contractor in your area.