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PVC Conduit and Electrical Wiring For Outdoor Lighting


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Install Wiring for Outdoor Lighting: Planning Circuits and Switch Wiring for Outdoor Lighting.


Outdoor Lighting Circuit Wiring

Electrical Question: I am installing a very large patio floor but want to install underground wiring that would allow for future outdoor lights and one box.

  1. Am using 3 strands of individual 12 AWG electrical wire and housed in Sch 40 grey PVC conduit.
  2. I’m unsure of how to run the electrical wiring from one light (or box) to the next.
  3. Appears as if I’d need a 3-way tee and junction box to continue the wiring run – but suspect that’s not appropriate.

Thanks, Ross.
Background: Ross, a Homeowner from Collegeville, Pa.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Ross.

Electrical Circuits and Switch Wiring for Outdoor Lighting

Application: Outdoor Lighting.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Depends on the number of lights that will be required within the circuit wiring.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tool, Voltage Tester, trenching equipment or shovels .
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools and the condition of the soil where PVC conduit will be installed.
Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit or power source, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring and connections.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring for outdoor lighting should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

How to Install Wiring for Outdoor Lighting

garden-light

  • Connecting PVC conduit electrical wiring is much the same as Romex wiring.
  • You will need to bring up the PVC conduit to a desired location and extend it up to a junction box location and make your loops from that point on.
  • Additional under floor loops can be installed as necessary.
  • The key is to plan your circuits and switching ahead so you can size your conduits and junction boxes accordingly. Understand that junction boxes may be used for outlets or switches too.

More about Outdoor Electrical Wiring

The following resources lead to detailed information that will assist you with your electrical wiring question:

Lighting Electrical Codes

Underground Electrical Codes

Electrical Wire for the Home

Outdoor Lighting

  • Light Up Your Home for Beauty Safety and Security – This is a Comprehensive Guide to Outdoor Lighting.
  • Answers your questions about different types of outdoor lights such as Motion Detectors, Wall Mounted Lights and Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting.

« Using a Circuit Tracer to Detect a Broken Electrical Wire Wire Size for a Home Electrical Service Panel »


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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “PVC Conduit and Electrical Wiring For Outdoor Lighting”
  1. Mark says:

    My home is located in Ontario, Canada. Can an exterior GFCI outlet (plug) and an Exterior light be on the same circuit?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Mark,
      Having an exterior light and GFCI outlet on the same circuit should not be a problem, just keep in mind that if the light fixture is not totally weather proof then moisture or rain water may cause the GFCI to trip off at times.
      Dave

  2. Kev taylor says:

    I’m looking into getting some outside lights fitted on my external brick. I’ve been advised by a electrician friend that I can have the lights fitted using the wiring inside conduit, he told me to go out and buy some lights and he will do the rest, my question is what type of external light can I have or am I limited to just bulkhead style ones. I take it the conduit needs to run up to it.

    Thanks
    Kev

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Kev
      As long as the light fixture is rated for outdoor use then it should be fine.
      You may want to start with deciding what kind of light you would like to have, such as accent or wall wash, directional as to illuminate a specific area, or a light that will brighten up a large area. The light fixture should be application specific, that is to accomplish what you want.
      Because the light fixture will need to be mounted to a surface mounted box (which the conduit will run to), it would be best to select a light fixture that is made to mount to a surface electrical box, so your selection will be narrowed down a little.
      There are some outdoor light fixtures that are self contained, where the junction is inside the fixture, so the fixture is mounted and then the conduit is run to an opening that is provided on the light fixture.
      I hope this helps,
      Dave


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