Electrican,Meyer Electrical Services Inc.
Written by Walt Meyer

Electrical Codes for Outdoor Receptacles and Lighting – Part 2

Part 2 will discuss Outdoor Lighting Requirements and Outdoor Power. Work with an experienced and licensed electrician for safety and the best results.

Outdoor Lighting Requirements 

Since exterior light fixtures will undergo exposure to climate conditions, they are engineered to withstand hail, rain, sleet, snow, and wind. Typically, outdoor light fixtures are designed with protective covers to keep them functioning in bad weather.

Home outdoor lighting requirements are focused on easing access to walkways and ensuring safety. The majority of homes have more lights than is required by the NEC.  

At least one lighting outlet is required on the exterior side of each door at the grade level (first floor). This does not apply to a garage door that provides access to a vehicle. However, a lighting outlet is required at every garage exit door.

The transformer used for a low-voltage lighting system must stay accessible. Plug-in-type transformers have to be plugged into an approved GFCI-protected receptacle with an “in-use” cover that is rated for wet locations.

An outdoor light fixture located in a damp location (protected from rainfall) is required to be “listed”, meaning the fixture must have been approved by a certified testing agency, such as UL, formerly the Underwriters

Laboratories organization, for a damp location or wet location.
An outdoor light fixture in a wet location (unprotected from rainfall) is also required to be “listed” for wet locations.

Outdoor Power

A circuit cable servicing wall-mounted outdoor light fixtures and receptacles may be run through a wall using standard NM (non-metallic) cable if the cable is installed in a dry location and has protection from moisture and damage. Outdoor light fixtures and receptacles installed away from the home are typically supplied by an underground circuit cable.

A cable located underground or in a wet area must utilize the UF-B (underground feeder) type. It must be buried at a minimum depth of two feet to be direct-buried (without a conduit). However, a one-foot depth is permitted for 20-amp or lesser-capacity circuits equipped with GFCI protection.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991 and serving Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services you can trust, including:

• Standby Generator Installation
• Panel Upgrades (Heavy-Ups)
• Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations
• Structured Cabling
• Circuit Breaker Replacement

Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.