How to Install a GFCI Outdoor Outlet

The National Electrical Code requires GFCI outlets in all new bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas, as well as all outdoor receptacles.

Tools and Supplies

Before installing your GFCI outdoor outlet, you will need the following tools and supplies:

Inductive voltage detector
Electrical cable(approved)
Surface mounted outdoor electrical outdoor outlet box
Outlet cover
Provided clamps and screws
Electric drill and bits
Cable stripper
Utility knife
Long-nosed pliers
Twist-on connectors


Follow these procedures for properly installing a GFCI outdoor outlet

  1. Determine an existing outdoor outlet with adequate amperage on the inside of the exterior wall.
  2. Turn off the power to the circuit at your main service panel. Use your inductive voltage detector to test to make sure the power is completely off.
  3. Now determine the “exact spot” for your outdoor outlet scouting above, inside and outside the house. Measure the distance from the indoor outlet to your reference point, such as a windowsill, and mark the location of the indoor outlet on the exterior wall at a good site.
  4. Start drilling your pilot hole from the inside of the house, and then complete the hole from the outside.
  5. Cut a piece of electrical cable measuring so that it is at least 18 inches longer than the distance between the indoor receptacle and the hole to the outdoor outlet.
  6. Fasten the cable to the inside of the outdoor outlet box using an internal cable clamp. Allow at least 9 inches of cable to emerge from the box. Strip about 8 inches of sheathing from the cable and 1/2 in. from the wire ends. Fasten your outdoor outlet box to the wall.
  7. Thread any other cable used to power additional outlets through the outlet box using an internal cable clamp, and strip the sheathing and wire ends on those wires as well. Use a compression fitting to attach the conduit to the box and fasten the nut with your wrench.
  8. Attach the wires, including your ground wire, to their corresponding screws on the the outdoor GFCI.
  9. Attach both sets of wires if you are tapping off the outlet, then screw the receptacle into the outlet box.
  10. Place your gasket, may be supplied, over your outlet box and then install the outlet cover.
  11. Now go indoors and strip the new cable sheathing and wire ends. Disconnect your indoor receptacle’s wires and using the twist-on connectors, connect your indoor and outdoor wires to pigtails and attach your pigtails to the indoor receptacle.
  12. Turn back on the power and test. Once you determine their is power being supplied through your working outlet, then replace your wallboard and your done.


A GCFI outlet, whether installed outdoors or inside, can offer additional protection against electrical shock. Always check with your inspector before installing to ensure understanding of any special codes or restrictions related to your particular area.

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