Chris White is a home and garden writer looking to provide informative and entertaining articles for industry professionals and amateur DIY enthusiasts. He also aims to assist in your projects by helping you find affordable and effective designs to help turn your house into a home.
A lot of DIY and home improvement enthusiasts (and even professionals from the industry) consider themselves to be relatively good at, if not experts at, building certain structures and doing specific tasks around the home, but there are some that even the most passionate of DIY lovers struggle to get to grips with.
One of these jobs is installing an electricity supply outside and it’s easy to understand why – it’s a difficult enough task as it is, and one that has to be done right or it could end up in disaster around the property. You don’t really think about how much electricity you need outdoors until a matter of days, (or even hours), before you realise you need some form of power supply in the garden shed or log cabin so you can entertain family and friends during the summer with a fridge and music; or at Christmas time when you go to hang your lights and find that there’s nowhere to plug them in.
You can say it’s simple to remedy by just running an extension lead from inside the house, but you present all kinds of risks here such as overloading power supplies inside the home and tripping hazards outside when people struggle to see the cable in your lawn or on the gravel driveway. In some cases you may need to ask for permission to add power to the exterior of your home so it’s worth contacting your local council before you start, but once you know that you’re okay to proceed just follow these five simple steps although this is the kind of project you should know about, or hire an expert to do:
- Choose your outlet location, and mark it inside and out. It’s worth evaluating which power outlets throughout the home use the most electricity before you make your choice because you can then avoid overworking them, and having done so you should then mark the point on the wall inside and outside. This will enable you to drill through the wall in the correct place without making it look as though a mouse has tried to chew through in several locations! Before you start your drilling, however, it is a wise move to turn off the power going to that socket or the whole house, just to be safe. Make sure you are using the correct drill bit for the material of your wall.
- Running the correct type and length of wire. Ensure that the wire you’re going to use to provide the external electricity is the same thickness as the existing cabling inside and strip it back so that you have some exposed wire to connect to the, then form a loop with the exposed wires and thread this through the hole in the wall so that you know how much you have to ‘play’ with. Then, using a hook – either homemade or something you have that is similar – feed the cabling through the wall from the outside and make sure that you have enough to reach wherever your power supply will be.
- Rewire the interior box. Having exposed the interior wires to extend the cabling, you are now left with some exposed ends. Rewire the box to tidy it up and ensure that the connection is reestablished by using connectors and then reattach the cover plate.
- Mount and wire the exterior box. Having completed the inside, tidy the external wiring and mount the box to the wall using the correct screws – dependent on the material of course.
- Mount the box cover. Due to being outdoors, you need to install some kind of cover to prevent any moisture from getting into the electrics. There are a variety of outdoor socket covers available so you can choose the kind that fits the styling of your home the best or that works best with the kind of plugs you will be using. These are usually hinged and will ensure that the plugs are ready to use whenever you need them.