How to Replace an Outdoor Outlet

Many people’s outdoor electrical outlets are not actually up to electrical code anymore. They may lack GFCI switches or have the old-style outdoor outlet covers you see in the image here in this post.

This is a relatively easy DIY project. However, as always, it is important to call a professional electrician if you feel like you are getting in over your head.

Here are the materials you will need.

  • A weather resistant GFCI switch
  • An outlet tester
  • A screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical tape
  • Exterior outlet cover

In order to meet electrical codes, your exterior outlet cover should look like this:

Here are the steps that you will need to take.

1. Shut off the power at the breaker box.

2. Use your outlet tester to make absolutely sure that the power is off.

3. Remove the cover from the outlet.

4. Remove the old outlet.

5. Look for the wires. Sometimes you will only see two wires, and sometimes you will see three. If you only see two, don’t worry. The box is designed to be grounded when one screws it into the wall. However, if you see 3 wires there is a grounding wire offering additional protection.

6. Strip 3/4″ insulation off of each wire.

7. Form the end of each wire into a hook.

8. The GFCI box will have tape over one side. Avoid that side.

9. The hot wire goes to the black or brass screw. Place the hook over the screw and tighten.

10. The neutral wire (usually white) goes to the silver screw.

11. If you have a ground wire, it will go to the green screw.

12. Wrap electrical tape around the screw terminals once the wires are secured.

13. Push the wires back in and screw the outlets into the wall.

14. Turn the power back on and press the GFCI button to test the outlet.

15. Make sure the screws aren’t tampered down too tightly. You’re going to need them in order to affix the cover plate.

16. The cover plate will have some foam backing. Push that over the screws.

17. Next, slide the plate into place. Screw it down tight.

18. Now, take up the flap cover. Remove the knockouts on the bottom. These will allow you to run cords through the cover without opening the flap, which means the outlets get maximum moisture protection.

19. Snap the cover into place and lock it down. You’re done!

This is a relatively simple code upgrade. Most code upgrade issues are not at all DIY!

If you need a new outdoor outlet or a code upgrade you don’t have to do it alone. If you live in Cary, Wake Forest, or anywhere else in the Raleigh-Durham area, just call us. You’ll get prompt, courteous, reliable service and the kinds of upgrades your home needs.

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