How To Add An Outdoor Outlet For A Corded Electric Hedge Trimmer

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If you're tired of cutting your hedges and other bushes with a hand trimmer, but don't like the idea of storing fuel on your property, you can still opt for an electric hedge trimmer even if you don't have an available outdoor outlet.

You can power an outdoor outlet from an existing indoor outlet that is located near the planned location of your outdoor outlet. All you need is a few tools and supplies. Electrical service work is only dangerous when you don't follow basic safety rules or get careless from attempting to finish a job too quickly.

What you will need for your new outlet

GFCI outlet

A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet is designed for potentially wet locations, and will shut off if inadequate grounding is present.

Open outlet face plate

GFCI outlets have reset and testing buttons in the center, so the face plate must be open in the middle to allow access to these buttons.

Surface mount single gang box

The gang box is the plastic or metal box that holds the outlet. You will need a plastic cover for outdoor use, which can be added separately or be bought pre-installed on the gang box.

Wire

You'll need a three wire sheath of 12 or 14 gauge wire. Check the breaker that controls power to the indoor outlet. If it is stamped with the number 15, it is a 15 amp line, and you need 14 gauge wire. A 20 amp line will need 12 gauge wire. 

If the distance from your indoor outlet to the new outlet is minimal, a 10 meter roll of wire should suffice. The roll of wire will be marked either "14-2" or "12-2", depending on the gauge selected.

1/2" electrical conduit and fittings 

This is the metal tubing though which your wire will travel between outlets. You will need two end connectors and one 90 degree elbow fitting to connect the conduit between the outlets.

Wire cutter/stripper tool

Screwdrivers 

Drill with 5/8" SDS bit for drilling through your exterior wall

Hacksaw

Measuring tape

Preparing the indoor location

You will first turn off the breaker to the outlet, then remove the center screw that holds the face plate in place. Next, you will loosen the two screws that hold the outlet in the gang box inside the wall. Detach the three wires that are connected to the terminal screws on the sides of the outlet, and remove the outlet from the gang box.

Next, remove the gang box by loosening the diagonally placed screws holding it inside the wall. Punch out the knock out tab in the center of the back of the gang box, and place the box inside the wall. Mark the location of the knock out tab hole and remove the gang box again.

Running wire through the wall

You will then use the drill to create a hole through the exterior wall at the marked point inside the wall. Place the gang box inside the interior wall once more and measure the distance from the exterior wall to the back of the gang box by inserting a measuring tape through the hole from the outside.

When this measurement is taken, cut a piece of conduit to this length and attach a connector to one end. Twist the threaded end of the connector into the hole in the back of the gang box and insert the conduit through the wall from the inside location.

You will then reattach the gang box inside the interior wall and begin to feed the sheath of wire through the conduit until it clears the exterior wall. Slide a 90 degree conduit elbow over the protruding wire sheath and connect it to the end of the conduit.

Running wire to the new GFCI outlet

Twist a conduit connector into the bottom of your new flush mount gang box and hold it against the wall at the desired height above the conduit. Measure the distance between the conduit elbow and gang box connector fittings and cut a piece of conduit to match. Pull the wire sheath through the length of conduit and connect the conduit on both ends and screw the gang box into the exterior wall.

Connecting the wires

Pull the wire sheath through the bottom of the gang box. Using the wire stripper, strip 2 centimeters of insulation from each of the three wires in the sheath.You will then connect the black wire to the top "line" gold terminal, the white wire to the top silver terminal ,and the copper wire to the single green terminal of the GFCI outlet.

Place the sub-plate that is supplied with the open face plate behind the GFCI outlet and screw the outlet into the gang box. Snap the open face plate onto the sub-plate. You can then install a plastic shield according to the manufacturer's instructions (if your new gang box didn't have one pre-installed).

Back inside, cut the wire sheath and strip and connect the wires in the same manner as with the GFCI outlet. Screw the outlet into the gang box and reinstall the old face plate. Turn on the breaker and you're finished.


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