I have a GFCI outlet in my garage. When it trips it shuts off the power to the light switch and another outlet on the same wall. I want to add an outdoor outlet on the outside of that wall in between the light switch and the other outlet. Would it be GFCI protected? Does an outdoor outlet need a GFCI plug?


Would it be GFCI protected?

It would be if you install it properly, by splicing off the load side of the GFCI in the garage, or off of the light switch or the 'other outlet' you mentioned.

Does an outdoor outlet need a GFCI plug?

No. It needs a receptacle (not a plug).

That receptacle should have GFCI protection. That requirement does not mean you have to install an outlet with GFCI buttons outside. In fact that's a bad idea because those buttons won't weather well.

But if you provide power to the new outside outlet VIA splicing into the load side of an indoor GFCI outlet, or GFCI-protected circuit, a plain old cheap outlet will be perfectly GFCI protected outside.


Let's start with regular receptacles. You notice on a regular receptacles, they have 2 screws on each side. That's real convenient. You can bring both inbound power source, and the downline to the next outlet, without having to do a pigtail like this. Super convenient.

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A GFCI is not a magic receptacle. It is not a receptacle at all. It is a protection system with 2 supply wires inbound (hot+neutral), and 2 protection-zone wires outbound (hot+neutral). You're used to seeing a GFCI+receptacle combo, which also has two sockets tied to the protected side. The LOAD side is special, and should not be used lightly, that's why they put a piece of tape across it. This is the source of huge confusion and mistake, because all 4 screws are different. Blindly daisy-chaining like a normal receptacle is a mistake.

So: first rule of GFCI is no daisy-chaining allowed, you must pigtail everything. That is because you only have one screw. Or, you can use devices with Leviton Screw-and-Clamp technology or competitor, which allows 2 wires per screw. On a plain receptacle this gives you a lavish 4 wires per side!

On your current setup, somehow, you have landed your lighting circuit on the Load side. The light goes out when the GFCI trips, generally super bad news if a circular saw is involved. So I'll assume you'd rather feed the light from the unprotected side.

Move the lamp wiring to the unprotected side

The idea is to move the lamp power to the supply (or LINE) side of the GFCI. Get 2 red wirenuts and a white and black pigtail 6-10" long.

After turning the power off, remove the "Hot" wire (non-white) from the LINE side of the GFCI. Replace it with a pigtail, then nut the hot wire and pigtail together. Do the same for the neutral wire (white). Power up, check everything out, it should all work exactly the same as before. So far so good.

Tighten down wire nuts hard. Use red ones with wings, not the pictured. Tighten until you start spiraling insulated wires.

Now move the lighting circuit to the LINE side. Unhook its hot from the Load Hot side, and add it as a third wire to the pigtail. Ditto with neutral. Power back up and make sure everything works. Trip the GFCI and the lights should NOT go out.

Hook up the new cable from the outdoor receptacle

Bring that onto the now-empty LOAD terminals, which places that downline into the protected zone.

And you're done.

Now, if you really, really want the light GFCI protected, you just pigtail the LOAD side instead of the LINE, and join the LOAD pigtail to the light and outdoor lines.

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