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I installed a GFCI outlet in an outdoor stucco wall without a box. The outlet is protected by a weather box

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It violates code and it is dangerous.

The GFCI effectively protects the output - i.e., the two receptacles and the "load" terminals, at least from anything that would create a ground fault, which includes many of the effects of water and other things, but it doesn't protect from everything. Plus the GFCI itself can be damaged by water and other things because it is a much more complex device than a simple receptacle.

However, the "line" terminals are totally unprotected if the device is not installed in a proper box. A proper box protects against:

  • Bugs (coming from the outside to the device and getting zapped)
  • Loose wires (from the device going to the outside and providing zapping opportunities for mice and men
  • Water, dirt, etc. from getting into the device - not 100% but generally pretty well

In some cases the box is there for structural reasons, and arguably your stucco wall may take care of that quite well. But a hole in a stucco wall does not adequately protect against all the other possible problems.

A proper box also either includes integral clamps or allows for the addition of clamps. Cables must be clamped as otherwise if the other end of the cable is pulled the wire connections to the device could be affected. Wires in conduits don't get clamps because they are protected by conduit, but you definitely don't want conduit opening up into some random space in stucco.

Most important of all, a proper box will protect against arcing and fires. A metal box will protect the best, but even a plastic box will do a fairly good job - they are designed and tested to take care of a limited amount of arcing. Stucco isn't. And stucco isn't even necessarily all stucco - there can be layers of insulation and other materials.

Remove the GFCI/receptacle. Cut a big enough hole for a nice metal box. Install the box. Reinstall the GFCI/receptacle.

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  • This is why modern codes prefer GFCI circuit breakers... Nov 30, 2023 at 3:55
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    Note that even if this were an internal installation, putting a receptacle in the wall without a box is dangerous and a code violation.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 30, 2023 at 13:39
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    I am going to fix it. But the best answer was from the guy that said it is somewhat dangerous. There is a good amount of caulking around the weather box so no bugs can enter. And arcing is not very likely as I tightened the wires with care. Still it is a code violation and I will fix it.
    – user106218
    Nov 30, 2023 at 14:56
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    @user106218 "tightened the wires with care", or with the torque specified by the manufacturer?
    – Logarr
    Nov 30, 2023 at 20:31
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    "And stucco isn't even necessarily all stucco - there can be layers of insulation and other materials." - such as a metal mesh. Nov 30, 2023 at 21:01

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