outside outlet before in-use was requiredoutlet is inside the cover This receptacle was installed prior to in-use requirements and placed inside the box instead of it being recessed. This is an aluminum garage (separate from the house) and I am not sure what I should do?

I did purchase an in-use box, but I am not sure in this case since the aluminum is very thin and the outside wall is about 1/2" thick. Should I put the whole 15 amp receptacle in the box or try to recess it. Your advice would be appreciated.

  • Larry, aren't you in Houston? How did you get through Harvey? What street are you on? Sep 6, 2017 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


Lucky you. That installation is grandfathered and you have the old type that work.

Today for new work, "in use" covers are mandatory, but those things are a complete disaster. They are expensive, the seals don't work, they divert water into the junction box, and the door breaks off after the first or second use. On top of that, they won't even close over most extension cords. It's a racket.

If you want more water protection, build a little birdhouse around the receptacle with a hinged door and an open bottom for cords to exit.

Just put GFCI protection on the circuit somewhere upstream, and don't worry about it.

Here's the trick with GFCIs. Never put one outdoors, you need a special expensive type if you do. Every GFCI receptacle has a second set of terminals called LOAD. It is designed to feed additional receptacles, and it will confer GFCI protection to those receptacles also.. You add "GFCI protected" stickers to those downstream receptacles.

So you put a regular GFCI indoors in the circuit upstream of that receptacle. Voila, done.

The other reason not to put GFCIs outdoors is that the wires going into a GFCI (to its LINE terminals) do not have GFCI protection. If they get wet, they can create a serious shock hazard. By putting the GFCI safely inside and feeding off LOAD, the entire outdoor socket and supply cables are all protected.

  • HArper.. thank you .. hate that box and if i change it to in use with the gfci implanted in the bigger in use cover box...correct nothing would be said? Or do i have to recess it? Simply dont know? Jun 7, 2017 at 23:15
  • In-use boxes have a hinged, plastic cover with a notch in it that allows the electrical cord to hang out of it. It does not need to be recessed. In fact, recessing it would likely create issues of water penetration into the wall cavity. We used mounting blocks and cut the siding, during siding process, to butt up against the mounting block. Jun 24, 2017 at 19:21
  • Thanks James for adding, agreed don't recess it. @larrypinsky best to use plain sockets outdoors and feed them off the LOAD terminals of a GFCI which is indoors out of the weather. As far as in-use covers, in my experience they are horrible. Jun 24, 2017 at 19:44
  • Harper even though I'm grandfather, it is still required by NEC. Is metal in-use covers any better since you hate the plastic. And i didnt recesss the box in the garage--will replace it. Thank you. Jun 25, 2017 at 23:18
  • Grandfathered means you may continue using something which would not be code if you were installing it today. That applies to almost everything. I'm not aware of any metal in-use covers. In-use covers only matter if it rains while you have something plugged in, and even then it doesn't matter if you have GFCI. Jun 25, 2017 at 23:32

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