Wiring for an Outdoor Light and Outlet

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How to Wire an Outdoor GFCI Circuit for Outlets and Lighting: Install an outlet on a lamp post near the driveway: GFCI Wiring Connections for Outside Outlet and Lighting

Outdoor Lighting and GFCI Wiring

Electrical Question:I need help with an outdoor circuit for an outlet and light fixture.

  • Years ago, I wanted to install an outlet on a lamp post near the driveway.
  • Rather than trying to find a GFCI outlet to put in the pole, one was installed in the house and the wiring run off of load side of the outlet in the house to the lamp post outlet.
  • This worked fine for years. Now I’m installing an outlet on the front porch. I ran the wiring off of the same load side of the GFCI in the house that worked for the lamp post outlet but any time anything is even plugged into the porch outlet, it trips the GFCI outlet in the house.
  • What am I missing? Originally had used the same common wire for the lamp post outlet and the light in the post and it wouldn’t work. I ran a separate common and that worked fine.
  • The one for the porch outlet is separate cabling all together run off of the same load side of the GFCI in the house.

Background: Tom, a Homeowner from Greendale, Wisconsin USA.
See more about Home Wiring for Wisconsin

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

How to Wire an Outdoor GFCI Circuit for Outlets and Lighting


  • Application: Install Outdoor Light Fixture.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best Installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
  • Tools Required: Basic Electricians Tool Pouch of Electrical Tools, and Voltage Tester, Fiberglass Ladder.
  • Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience working with electrical wiring, the number of lights that will be replaced or installed and access to the light fixtures.
  • Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit or power source, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the electrical wiring and light fixture connections.
  • Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring for outdoor lighting should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

GFCI Wiring Connections for Outside Outlet and Lighting

Tom, check your electrical wiring connections as follows:

  • Make sure of your LINE and LOAD connections at the GFCI Outlet.
  • Check the wiring of the other devices that are using the circuit.
  • Is the original electrical cable going to the post light protected, or is it leaking voltage.

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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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