How to Install an Outdoor Electrical Outlet

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Install Wiring for an Outdoor Outlet: What is the best way to install a 110volt outlet outdoors? The Methods for Installing an Outdoor Outlet.

Wiring an Outdoor Outlet

Electrical Question: What is the best way to install a 110volt outlet outdoors?

  • I have an outdoor breaker panel that supplies 220 power to my pool pump.
  • I would like to install a 110v outlet to power hand tools,leaf blowers etc. at that location.
  • What wires do it connect my 110 outlet to?

This electrical question came from: Horst, a Homeowner from Paw Paw, Mississippi.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Horst.

Install Wiring for an Outdoor Outlet

wiring a gfci outlet

Application: Wiring an Outdoor GFCI Outlet.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of exterior outlets that will be installed.
Precaution: Identify the power source circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Outdoor receptacle outlets must have GFCI protection. Installing wiring for an outdoor outlet should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Methods for Installing an Outdoor Outlet

First Lets Review Some Very Important Electrical Code Considerations


  • An electrical outlet may not be installed within 10 feet of the inside wall of the pool.
  • The new outlet must have GFCI or Ground Fault protection which is best provided by installing a GFI outlet.
  • All the new components for the outlet such as conduit, outlet box and hardware must be water resistant and the outlet cover must be a water proof cover.
  • The new outlet must be installed separately on a 120 volt circuit and cannot be placed on a circuit with equipment such as the 240 volt pool pump.

Installing a New Circuit

electrical circuit breakers in a panel

  • For this type of utility outlet you have a choice of a 15 or 20 amp circuit.
  • The size of the circuit will depend on the required load of the equipment that will be used with this circuit.

Decide on the Location for the New GFI Outlet

  • The location should be located outside of the 10 foot range of the inside wall of the pool.
  • Measure this distance in order to purchase the necessary wire and conduit.

Wire Size and Type

electrical wire   12 2 romex wire

  • For a 15 amp circuit you will need #14 AWG wire with insulation such as THW or THWN.
  • For a 20 amp circuit you will need #12 AWG wire with insulation such as THW or THWN.
  • A black power wire and matching white wire and green wire will be used for the neutral and ground wires.

Conduit Size and Type

  • The conduit size may be 1/2 inch diameter for this type of circuit.
  • Because the GFI outlet will be outdoor it will require water proof fittings.
  • You can use solid conduit such as EMT, PVC or water proof Flexible Conduit and water proof fittings.

Installing the Conduit to the Outlet Box

Receptacle Box Weather Proof DSC06177

  • For solid conduit, straps will be required within 3 feet of the panel and outlet box enclosures and every 10 feet.
  • For flexible conduit, straps will be required within 12 inches of the panel and outlet box enclosures and every 4 1/2 feet.

Installing the Wiring at the GFI Outlet

  • Separate Neutral wire, Separate Ground wire.
  • The wiring must be installed to the location of the GFI weatherproof outlet box.
  • The white wire will be installed to the new GFI outlet on the Line side to the silver screw terminal.
  • The green ground wire is attached or bonded to the outlet box and to the GFI
  • outlet’s green ground screw terminal.
  • The black power wire is attached to a new GFI outlet on the Line side to the Brass screw terminal.

Installing the Neutral and Ground Wires at the Electrical Panel

Circuit Breaker Panel

  • The outlet circuit wiring is installed to an 120/240 volt electrical circuit breaker panel which must have a separate neutral bar and a separate ground bar.
  • This will be evident as the neutral terminal bar will have white neutral wires attached to it and the ground terminal bur will have green or bare wires attached to it.
  • A open terminal position on the ground bar should be located where the green ground wire can be attached.
  • A open terminal position on the neutral bar should be located where the white neutral wire can be attached.

Installing the Circuit Power Wire to the Circuit Breaker

  • A Single Pole 120 volt circuit breaker is purchased that is compatible with the electrical panel, the amperage size as you have chosen, 15 or 20 amps.
  • Make sure the new circuit breaker is in the OFF Position.
  • The circuit breaker is installed in the panel to an available area or slot.
  • After the wiring has been installed at the GFI outlet and the cover has been installed then the power wire is attached to the circuit breaker.
  • Access for the new circuit breaker will be required by removing one of the “blanks” from the metal cover.
  • The cover should be labeled to identify the new circuit.
  • Once all the wire terminations are made and the covers are installed the circuit is ready to be energized.
  • The GFI Outlet should be tested before use.

IMPORTANT: As always, all electrical projects should be done with a permit and inspection from the your local building department to ensure all local code compliance are met.

If there is any part of this project that you do not understand or are uncomfortable with then hire a local professional to assist you with this project.

More about GFCI Outlets

  • Wiring a single GFI Outlet for the Protection for one outlet location
    This method will provide GFCI protection to the immediate location only.
    The wire leading to this location may be an extension from another branch circuit or it could be a single circuit being served from a panel or sub-panel.

    How to wire a Single GFCI Outlet
  • wiring-a-gfi-outlet
  • Electric panel
    House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
    This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.

Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
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Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

» Click here to learn more about Home Electrical Wiring «
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.


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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “How to Install an Outdoor Electrical Outlet”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Robert,
    The following will need to be identified before determining the type and size electrical wire for this project:
    The specific electrical loads at the boat dock will need to be identified.
    The installation method that will be used to install the circuit, for example conduit or direct burial wire.

    Please refer to the Voltage Drop Calculator that I have provided on this website which will assist you further.
    I hope this helps,

  2. Robert Thil says:

    What grade of wire do I use to run 175ft from the outside GFI box on the house to the boat dock. I would have 4 flood lights and a 110 volt outlet for a battery charger.


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