Wiring for an Outdoor Light and Outlet
How Can I 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 #1: 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 in Wisconsin.
Electrical Question #2:
- I ran an outside light(used a pre made metal clad service cable from switch to light) with an added dusk to dawn sensor and attached the line to an existing receptacle inside of the house.
- The receptacle was the only item on the original line. Everything worked fine until I decided to change to a GFCI receptacle, the GFCI will not set.
- I have tried two separate GFCI’s, same result. #1 – Do I need a GFCI at all. #2 The green grounds appear to be the problem, how do they relate to the bare ground wire?
This electrical wiring question came from Virginia.
Thank you for your electrical questions.
How to Wire an Outdoor GFCI Circuit for Outlets and Lighting
- Application: Install Outdoor Light Fixture.
- Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced. This electrical project is 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.
More about GFCI and Outdoor Electrical Wiring
Wiring Electrical Outlet for the Home
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.
Home Electrical Wire
Electrical Wire for the Home
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
For more information about GFCI Wiring
Wiring GFCI Outlets
This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI and GFCI Receptacles and how they are wired.
This link is helpful as a Homeowner
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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 Electric Wiring Projects.
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This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
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I’m installing a photo eye sensor on a pole light that also has an outlet. After I connected everything, I still have a Green wire from the outlet and a Ground wire from the light topper. Do these two wires get connected along with the white wires or do they get wired together just by themselves?
Hi Jim, Great Question,
A green wire or bare copper wire are ground wires which are connected together with the ground wire of the circuit which provides the power. The outlet at this outdoor location should be GFCI protected as well.
I hope this helps,