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I have a switch that I would like to put in a workshop in a potentially damp location. It's not going to be outside in the rain, but it's entirely possible that at some point water might get splashed near it.

What's the best way to make this safe? I can't find any outdoor-rated switches like "WR" rated outlets, which was my first thought. Should I put an outdoor recepticle cover over it, like this? I'm not sure if the screw holes will line up in the right place. Or is there some other way to make this switch as safe as possible?

(Bonus question: if I don't want to put a GFCI breaker in my distribution panel, can I just use the load terminals on a GFCI outlet and use that to protect the switch & light?)

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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If National Electrical Code applies, here's what it has to say...

National Electrical Code 2011

Article 404 Switches

404.4 Damp or Wet Locations. A surface-mounted switch or circuit breaker in a damp or wet location shall be enclosed in a weatherproof enclosure or cabinet that shall comply with 312.2. A flush-mounted switch or circuit breaker in a damp or wet location shall be equipped with a weatherproof cover. Switches shall not be installed within wet locations in tub or shower spaces unless installed as part of a listed tub or shower assembly.

Which means that if the box containing the switch is not mounted inside the wall, you'll need a weatherproof box.

Weatherproof Electrical Box

Once the switch is mounted in the box, you'll need a weatherproof cover. You'll have a couple options here. You can get one with a flip up lid, where the cover has to be flipped up before the switch can be toggled.

Weatherproof Flip Switch Cover

There are also covers available that completely encase the switch, and have an external lever that is used to toggle the switch.

Weatherproof Lever Switch Cover


Bonus

Yes, you can supply a switch from the Load side of a GFCI receptacle to provide GFCI protection to the switch.

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+1 for bonus and waterproof flipper –  HerrBag Jun 11 '13 at 13:23
    
Great. Didn't know about those covers. Thanks. –  Henry Jackson Jun 12 '13 at 2:22
    
Note that the box, while weatherproof, has 3 openings. You'll need to plug any you don't use, or get a box with exactly the set of openings you want. –  Jay Bazuzi Jun 12 '13 at 20:42
1  
@JayBazuzi If I recall correctly (which I may not), these boxes usually come with plugs to fill the unused openings. If not, you can probably grab a bag/box of them for a couple bucks. –  Tester101 Jun 12 '13 at 23:21

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