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PVC Conduit and Electrical Wiring For Outdoor Lighting

How to Install Wiring for Outdoor Lighting: Planning Circuits and Switch Wiring for Outdoor Lighting.


Outdoor Lighting Circuit Wiring

Electrical Question: I am installing a very large patio floor but want to install underground wiring that would allow for future outdoor lights and one box.

  1. Am using 3 strands of individual 12 AWG electrical wire and housed in Sch 40 grey PVC conduit.
  2. I’m unsure of how to run the electrical wiring from one light (or box) to the next.
  3. Appears as if I’d need a 3-way tee and junction box to continue the wiring run – but suspect that’s not appropriate.

Thanks, Ross.
Background: Ross, a Homeowner from Collegeville, Pa.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Ross.

Electrical Circuits and Switch Wiring for Outdoor Lighting

Application: Outdoor Lighting.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Depends on the number of lights that will be required within the circuit wiring.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tool, Voltage Tester, trenching equipment or shovels .
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools and the condition of the soil where PVC conduit will be installed.
Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit or power source, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring and 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.

How to Install Wiring for Outdoor Lighting

garden-light

More about Outdoor Electrical Wiring

The following resources lead to detailed information that will assist you with your electrical wiring question:

Lighting Electrical Codes

Underground Electrical Codes

Electrical Wire for the Home

Outdoor Lighting


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Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.


  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.





Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

3 Essential Electrical Tips

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
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..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.



« Using a Circuit Tracer to Detect a Broken Electrical Wire Wire Size for a Home Electrical Service Panel »

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “PVC Conduit and Electrical Wiring For Outdoor Lighting”
  1. Mark says:

    My home is located in Ontario, Canada. Can an exterior GFCI outlet (plug) and an Exterior light be on the same circuit?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Mark,
      Having an exterior light and GFCI outlet on the same circuit should not be a problem, just keep in mind that if the light fixture is not totally weather proof then moisture or rain water may cause the GFCI to trip off at times.
      Dave

  2. Kev taylor says:

    I’m looking into getting some outside lights fitted on my external brick. I’ve been advised by a electrician friend that I can have the lights fitted using the wiring inside conduit, he told me to go out and buy some lights and he will do the rest, my question is what type of external light can I have or am I limited to just bulkhead style ones. I take it the conduit needs to run up to it.

    Thanks
    Kev

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Kev
      As long as the light fixture is rated for outdoor use then it should be fine.
      You may want to start with deciding what kind of light you would like to have, such as accent or wall wash, directional as to illuminate a specific area, or a light that will brighten up a large area. The light fixture should be application specific, that is to accomplish what you want.
      Because the light fixture will need to be mounted to a surface mounted box (which the conduit will run to), it would be best to select a light fixture that is made to mount to a surface electrical box, so your selection will be narrowed down a little.
      There are some outdoor light fixtures that are self contained, where the junction is inside the fixture, so the fixture is mounted and then the conduit is run to an opening that is provided on the light fixture.
      I hope this helps,
      Dave

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