Watertight Uf Connector Installation

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Consider the circuit length when choosing cable sizes for an outdoor circuit. In very long circuits, normal wire resistance leads to a substantial drop in voltage If your outdoor circuit extends more than 50 feet, use larger-gauge wire to reduce the voltage drop For example, a 15-amp circuit that extends more than 50 feet should be wired with 12-gauge wire instead of 14-gauge. A 20-amp circuit longer than 50 feet should be wired with 10-gauge cable.

Installing Outdoor Wiring

1: Plan the Circuit

As you begin planning an outdoor circuit, visit your electrical inspector to learn about local code requirements for outdoor wiring. The techniques for installing outdoor circuits are much the same as for installing indoor wiring. However, because outdoor wiring is exposed to the elements, it requires the use of special weatherproof materials, including UF cable (page 176), rigid metal or schedule 40 PVC plastic conduit (pages 184 to 185), and weatherproof electrical boxes and fittings (pages 170 to 171).

The National Electrical Code (NEC) gives minimum standards for outdoor wiring materials, but because climate and soil conditions vary from region to region, your local building and electrical codes may have more restrictive requirements For example, some regions require that all underground cables be protected with conduit, even though the National Electrical Code allows UF cable to be buried without protection at the proper depths (page opposite).

For most homes, an outdoor circuit is a modest power user. Adding a new 15-amp. 120-volt circuit provides enough power for most outdoor electrical needs. However, if your circuit will include more than three large light fixtures (each rated for 300 watts or more) or more than four receptacles, plan to install a 20-amp. 120-volt circuit. Or, if your outdoor circuit will supply power to heating appliances or large workshop tools in a detached garage, you may require several 120-volt and 240-volt circuits.

Before drawing wiring plans and applying for a work permit, evaluate electrical loads (pages 148 to 151) to make sure the main service provides enough amps to support the added demand of the new wiring.

A typical outdoor circuit takes one or two weekends to install, but if your layout requires very long underground cables, allow yourself more time for digging trenches, or arrange to have extra help Also make sure to allow time for the required inspection visits when planning your wiring project. See pages 138 to 147 for more information on planning a wiring project.

Buried Household WiringBuried Household Wiring

Bury UF cables deep it the Protect cable entering conduit Protect exposed wiring v a GFCl bv attaching a plastic bushing to ground nyc

18 deep if'he >'ectecl bv a GFCl 20

2" minimum 8" maximum i

2" minimum 8" maximum

Prevent shock by making sure all outdoor recepta-ro'ected by GFCis ipage 74» A single GFCl car. be Aired to protect oiher fixtures on Outdoor receptacles should be at least round level and enclosed in weather-o»es /.ith watertight covers

Anchor freestanding receptacles that are not attached to a structure by embeddm_ the nod metal conduit or schedule 40 PvC plastic conduit m a concrete looting One way to do this is by running conduit through a plastic bucket then tilling the bucket with concrete Freestanding receptacles should be least 12 but no more than 18 above ground level-requirements vary socheck /.ith your local inspector

Running Conduits Above Ground

Installing Outdoor Wiring

2: Dig Trenches

When laying underground cables, save time and minimize lawn damage by digging trenches as narrow as possible. Plan the circuit to reduce the length of cable runs.

If your soil is sandy, or very hard and dry. water the ground thoroughly before you begin digging Lawn sod can be removed, set on strips of plastic. and replaced after cables are laid Keep the removed sod moist but not wet. and replace it within two or three days. Otherwise, the grass underneath the plastic may die.

If trenches must be left unattended, make sure to cover them with scrap pieces of plywood to prevent accidents and to keep water out

Materials You Will Need

Stakes, string, scrap piece of conduit, compres sion fittings, plastic bushings.

How to Dig Trenches for Underground Cables

Marked With Stakes And String

Mark the outline of trenches with wooden stakes and string

2 Cut two 18"-wide strips of plastic. and place one strip on each side ol the trench outline

3 Remove blocks of sod from the trench outline, using a shovel Cut sod 2" to 3" deep to keep roots intact Place the sod on one of the plastic strips, and keep it moist

Trench Bushing Cot 750 800

"iches to the deoth you' local cooe the second stn

"iches to the deoth you' local cooe the second stn

5 To cable under a siaew C D'

Cot a length ot neta1 condui' O soi about 1 foot longe' than width ca -oee-' sidewalk then flatten one en wooc d the conduit to <orm a sha'o tne c

Run Wire Under Sidewalk

7Cj' off the ends of the conduit with a nacksa-v leaving about 2 e/posed conduit on each sice underground cable will run r.'cugn tne conduit

8 Attach a compression fitting and plastic bushing to each end of the conduit The plastic fittings will prevent the sharp edges of the conduit from damaging the cable sheathing

9 If trenches must be left unattended temporarily cover them with scrap plywood to pr vent accidents

Wire Single Gang Outdoor Box
Electrical boxes for an outdoor circuit must be weatherproof This outdoor receptacle box made of cast aluminum has sealed seams and is attached to conduit with threaded, watertight compression fittings

3: Install Boxes & Conduit

Use cast-aluminum or PVC plastic boxes for outdoor fi tures, and install approved conduit to protect exposed cables Standard metal and plastic electrical boxes are not watertight, and should never be used outdoors Some local codes require you to install conduit to protect all underground cables, but in most regions this is not necessary. Many local codes allow you to use boxes and conduit made with PVC plastic (page 171), while others allow only cast-aluminum boxes and metal conduit.

Begin work by installing the retrofit boxes and the cables that run between them inside finished walls. Then install the outdoor boxes and conduit.

Materials You Will Need

NM two-wire cable, cable staples, plastic retrofit light fixture box with grounding clip, plastic single-gang retrofit boxes with internal clamps, extension ring, silicone caulk, IMC or rigid metal conduit, pipe straps, conduit sweep, compression fittings, plastic bushings, masonry anchors, single-gang outdoor boxes, galvanized screws, grounding pigtails, wire connectors.

Plastic Wall Anchors Brick

How to Install Electrical Boxes & Conduit

1 Outline the GFCI receptacle box on the exterior wall. First drill pilot holes at the corners of the box outline, and use a piece of stiff wire to probe the wall for electrical wires or plumbing pipes. Complete the cutout with a |ig saw or reciprocating saw.

Masonry variation: To make cutouts in masonry, drill a line of holes inside the box outline, using a masonry bit, then remove waste material with a masonry chisel and ball-peen hammer

2 From inside house, make the cutout for the indoor switch in the same stud cavity that contains the GFCI cutout Outline the box on the wall, then drill a pilot hole and complete the cutout with a wallboard saw or jig saw

Hole Saw Wiring


3 On outside of house, make the cutout for the motion-sensor light fixture in the same stud cavity with the GFCI cutout. Outline the light fixture box on the wall, then drill a pilot hole and complete the cutout with a wallboard saw or jig saw


6 Insert the box into the cutout opening, and tighten the mounting screws until the brackets draw the outside flange firmly against the siding

4 Estimate the distance between the indoor switch box and the outdoor motion-sensor box. and cut a length of NM cable about 2 feet longer than this distance Use a fish tape to pull the cable from the switch box to the motion-sensor box. See pages 182 to 183 for tips on running cable through finished walls.

7 Estimate the distance between the outdoor GFCI cutout and the indoor switch cutout, and cut a length of NM cable about 2 feet longer than this distance. Use a fish tape to pull the cable from the GFCI cutout to the switch cutout. Strip 10" of outer insulation from both ends of each cable

5 Strip about 10" of outer insulation from the end of the cable, using a cable ripper Open a knockout in the retrofit light fixture box with a screwdriver Insert the cable into the box so that at least '/>" of outer sheathing reaches into the box

Staple Distance From Electrical Box

8 Open one knockout for each cable that will enter the box Insert the cables so at least of outer sheathing reaches inside box. Insert box into cutout, and tighten the mounting screw in the rear of the box until the bracket draws the plastic ears against the wall. Tighten internal cable clamps

(continued next page)

How to Install Electrical Boxes & Conduit (continued)

9 Install NM cable from circuit breaker panel to GFCl cutout Allow an extra 2 feet of cable at panel end and an extra foot at GFCl end Anacn cable to framing members with cable staples Strip 10' of outer sheathing from the GFCl end ot cable and of insulation from each wire

Open one knockout for each cable that will enter the GFCl box Insert the cables so at least of sheathing reaches into the box Push the box into the cutout, and tighten the mounting screw until the bracket draws the plaster ears tight against the wall

A H Position a foam gasket over I I the GFCl box. then attach an extension ring to the box. using the mounting screws included with the extension ring Seal any gaps around the extension ring with silicone caulk

Pvc Emt Transition

4Measure and cut a length of I £ IMC conduit to reach from the bottom of the extension ring to a point about 4 from the bottom of the trench Attach the conduit to the extension ring using a compression fitting

<4 Q Anchor the conduit to the 13 wall with a pipe strap and masonry screws Or use masonry anchors and pan-head screws. Drill pilot holes for anchors, using a masonry drill bit

•4 A Attach compression fittings I to the ends of metal sweep fitting, then attach the sweep fitting to the end of the conduit Screw a plastic bushing onto the exposed fitting end of the sweep to keep the metal edges from damaging the cable

Foam gasket

Extension ring >

Mounting ears

1C Afacn mounting ears to the back of a weather-13 •voot receptacle box then attach the DO* to the •■ame 0\ driving galvanized screws through the nto the post

A C Measure and cut a length of IMC conou.t ID reach from the bottom of the receptacie oc-x a point about 4 from the bottom ot the trencn the conduit to the bo* nh a compression Attach a sweep fitting ano plastic bushing bottom of the conduit using compression isee step 14)

Weatherproof Box OutdoorInfo Green Builders

A ^ Cut a length of IMC conduit I f to reach from the top of the receptacle box to the switch box location Attach the conduit to the 'eceptacie box with a compres-ion fitting Anchor the conduit to •e oeck frame with pipe straps

4 Q Attach mounting ears to the IO back of switch box. then loosely attach the box to the conduit with a compression fitting Anchor the box to the deck frame by driving galvanized screws through the ears and into the wood Then tighten the compression fitting with a wrench

A Q Measure and cut a short I 9 length of IMC conduit to reach from the top of the switch box to the deck light location Attach the conduit with a compression fitting

Mounting ears

Compression fitting

Buried Cable Anchor

How to Install Outdoor Cable

Installing Outdoor Wiring

4: Install UF Cable

Use UF cable for outdoor wiring if the cable will come in direct contact with soil UF cable has a solid-core vinyl sheathing and cannot be stripped with a cable ripper Instead, use a utility knife and the method shown (steps 5 & 6. page opposite) Never use NM cable for outdoor wiring If your local code requires that underground wires be protected by conduit, use THHN/THWN wire (page 176) instead of UF cable

After installing all cables, you are ready for the rough-in inspection. While waiting for the inspector temporarily attach the weatherproof cover-plates to the boxes or cover them with plastic to prevent moisture from entering After the inspector has approved the rough-in work, fill in all cable trenches and replace the sod before making the final connections

Materials You Will Need

UF cable, electrical tape, grounding pigtails, wire connectors, weatherproof coverplates

Electrical Tape CableCable Installation

1 Measure and cut all UF cables, allowing an extra 12" at each box At each end of the cable use a utility knife to pare away about

3 of outer sheathing, leaving the inner wires exposed

2 Feed a fish tape down through the conduit from the GFCl box Hook the wires at one end of the cable through the loop in the fish tape, then wrap electrical tape around the wires up to the sheathing Carefully pull the cable through the conduit

3 Lay the cable along the bottom of the trench, making sure it is not twisted Where cable runs under a sidewalk, use the fish tape to pull it through the conduit

Stapling Cable Under Deck

each end ot O the shea"

clip aw ;ne oe'V Ben about 10

Dae« one o' the the remaining and gri sheathm Grip th

cut nd install a cable from the deck ie co» to the outdoor switch box using 10 ot sheathing from each end ol ip of insulation from the end oi jSmg a combination tool

8 Attach a grounding pigtail to the back of each metal box and extension ring Join all grounding wires with a wire conrector Tuck the wires inside the boxes and temporarily attach the weatherproof coverplates until the inspector arrives for the rough-i inspection

Arrange for the rough-m inspection before making the final connections

Installing Outdoor Wiring

5: Make Final Connections

How to Connect a Motion-sensor Light Fixture

Switches for outdoor use have weatherproof cover-plates with built-m toggle levers The lever operates a Single-pole switch mounted to the inside of the cover-plate Connect the black circuit wire to one of the screw terminals on the switch, and connect the black wire lead from the light fixture to the other screw terminal Use wire connectors to join the white circuit wires and the grounding wires. To connect the manual override switch for the motion-sensor light fixture, see circuit map 4 on page 156

Make the final hookups for the switches, receptacles. and light fixtures after the rough-m cable installation has been reviewed and approved by your inspector, and after all trenches have been filled in. Install all the light fixtures, switches, and receptacles, then connect the circuit to the circuit breaker panel (pages 192 to 193)

Because outdoor wiring poses a greater shock hazard than indoor wiring, the GFCI receptacle (page 266) in this project is wired to provide shock protection for all fixtures controlled by the circuit.

When all work is completed and the outdoor circuit is connected at the service panel, your job is ready for final review by the inspector

Materials You Will Need

Motion-sensor light fixture, GFCI receptacle, 15-amp grounded receptacle, outdoor switch, decorative light fixture, wire connectors.


1 Assemble fixture by threading the wire leads from the motion' sensor unit and the bulb sockets through the faceplate knockouts. Screw the motion-sensor unit and bulb sockets into the faceplate

2 Secure the motion-sensor unit and the bulb sockets by tightening the locknuts.

3 Insert the fiber washers into the sockets, and fit a rubber gasket over the end of each socket The washers and gaskets ensure that the fixture will be watertight.


Fiber washers

Lead Lead Gasket Washers

4 Connect the red wire lead iron" "he motion-sensor unit to the black ire leads from the bulb sockets using a wire connecte' Some light fixtures have pre-tagged wire leads for easy mst nation

5 Attach the bare copper grounding wire to the grounding clip on the box

6 Slide the foam gasket circuit wires at the el box Connect the white to the white wire leads fixtjre using a wire COr.n

7 Connect the black circuit wire to the black wire lead on the light fixture, using a wire connector

8 Carefully tuck the wires into the box. then position the light fixture and attach the faceplate to the box. using the mounting screws included with the light fixture (See also circuit map 4. page 156 )

Earthing The Light Fixture

Grounding clip


1 Connect the black feed wire from the power source to the brass terminal marked LINE Connect the white feed wire from the power source to the silver screw terminal marked LINE

2 Attach the short white pigtail wire to the silver screw terminal marked LOAD, and attach a short black pigtail wire to the brass screw terminal marked LOAD

3 Connect the black pigtail wire to all the remaining black circuit wires, using a wire connector Connect the white pigtail wire to the remaining white circuit wires

4 Attach a grounding pigtail to the grounding screw on the GFCI Join the grounding pigtail to the bare copper grounding wires, using a wire connector

5 Carefully tuck the wires into box Mount GFCI. then fit a foam gasket over the box and attach the weatherproof coverplate. (See also circuit map 3. page 156 )

How to Connect an Outdoor Receptacle

How to Connect an Outdoor Receptacle

Decorative Conduit Box

2 Feed wire leads through conduit nd box Slide iignr fixtjre onto cont an. compression fitting Connect Diac* screw terminal on switch and conn lead to white circuit wire (See also circuit page 156

How to Connect a Decorative Light Fixture through tne union

Make hookups at circuit breaker panel (page 192) and arrange tor tinal inspection_

Connecting Light Fixture Wiring

Typical low-voltage outdoor lighting system consists of lens cap (A), lens cap posts (B). upper reflector (C). lens (D). base/stake/cable connector assembly (contains lower reflector) (E). low-voltage cable (F). lens hood (G) 7-watt 12-volt bulbs (H). cable connector caps (I), control box containing transformer and timer (J), light sensor(K)

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