I am putting an outlet under the eaves in my front yard to use for seasonal lighting. I am connecting it to a breaker that is only powering 2 outside wall mounted lights. The eaves are about 10 ft tall. I also will install a weatherproof flip lid outlet cover.

My question is can I install a (Weather Resistant)WR outlet or does it have to be GFCI?

Reason I ask is because there is no outlet cover with 2 flip lids for GFCI because of the design, but there is one for the WR outlet.


They do make while-in-use covers that work with GFCI outlets. See, for example, this one at Home Depot (not an endorsement or recommendation, just an example). And, they do make WR GFCI receptacles, so you could do both. Pretty sure at least GFCI is required by the NEC.

Here is an example of a WR GFCI outlet.

WR GFCI outlet

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Previous owners of my place solved this by putting a GFCI inside, and using its load terminals to power (and thus protect) the outdoor outlets.

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  • This is the best answer as I would not want "while-in-use" covers hanging down under my eaves on the front of my house. If there is no good way to mount a GFCI inside, how about changing the breaker to a GFCI breaker? – Tyson Sep 7 '16 at 14:25

It has to be GFCI protected, and a weather-resistant type receptacle must be used. Also, the cover must be weatherproof when nothing is plugged in, though I recommend an "in-use" or "extra-duty" cover.

You shouldn't have any trouble finding a weather-resistant GFCI receptacle, and weatherproof covers for this style of receptacle are also easily found.

Article 210.8(A)(3) of the National Electrical Code, says that outdoor receptacles must be GFCI protected.

National Electrical Code 2014

Chapter 2 Wiring and Protection

Article 210 Branch Circuits

210.8 Ground-fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel.

(A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A)(1) through (10) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.

(3) Outdoors

Article 406.9(A), says that receptacles in damp locations must have covers that are weather-proof when nothing is plugged in. While 406.9(B)(1), says that receptacles in wet locations must have covers that are weather-proof even when something is plugged in. Both sections also require the receptacle to be a weather-resistance type receptacle.

Chapter 4 Equipment for General Use

Article 406 Receptacles, Cord Connectors, and Attachment Plugs (Caps)

406.9 Receptacles in Damp and Wet Locations.

(A) Damp Locations. A receptacle installed outdoors in a location protected from weather or in a damp location shall have an enclosure for the receptacle that is weatherproof when the receptacle is covered (attachment plug cap not inserted and receptacle covers closed).

... All 15- and 20-ampere, 125- and 250-volt nonlocking receptacles shall be a listed weather-resistant type.

(B) Wet Locations.

(1) Receptacles of 15 and 20 Amperes in Wet Locations. Receptacles of 15 and 20 amperes, 125 and 250 volts installed in a wet location shall have an enclosure that is weatherproof whether or not the attachment plug cap is inserted. An outlet box hood installed for this purpose shall be listed and shall be identified as "extra-duty".

All 15- and 20-ampere, 125- and 250-volt nonlocking type receptacles shall be listed and so identified as the weather-resistant type.

Personal preference here, but I like the type of "extra-duty" cover that accordions out when in use. Something like the Hubbell-TayMac ML450G.

Hubbell-TayMac ML450G

As it maintains a slimmer profile when not in use, but allows ample space for routing the cord when something is plugged in.

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  • Awesome answers all...definitely want to do the right thing..Did not even think of gfci breaker...will see what type of in-use covers there are and go with gfci breaker, wr outlet with slim profile design in-use cover. Sound right? – Tony Campos Sep 7 '16 at 18:44
  • The only place I have a problem is not ALL out door outlets are required. Snow melting outlets are on the roof are still exempt from this requirement in the 2014 code. Depending on the current code in that state it could be over 6-1/2" above grade dosent require GFCI. – Ed Beal Sep 8 '16 at 1:20
  • @EdBeal according to the code all outdoor receptacles require GFCI protection, except the ones that do not require it. At any rate, the OP specifically said that the receptacle is for "seasonal lighting", not snow melting. – Tester101 Sep 8 '16 at 2:19

There are In-Use weather proof covers that will protect a GFCI outlet. I have one on my shelf made by Hubble, Taymac model MM420G 16 in 1 configurations. theses are extra duty and will last better than the inexpensive plastic models.

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"WR" may not mean what you think it means, it refers to the design of the plastic housing that is resistant to UV rays and extreme cold. It does not provide any waterproof qualities.

It is extremely important that an outdoor outlet be protected by GFCI device in one way or another. The most obvious way is as you suggest, with a GFCI outlet. But you can also us a GFCI breaker or another GFCI device wired properly upstream.

Also to be safe and to current US codes you want to buy a cover that lets you use the outlet while it is still covered (a so-called "while in use" cover. The old style with the spring-loaded flaps do not provide any protection if you are using the outlet and are not safe for outdoor use.

A safe installation will have all three of these attributes (WR receptacle, GFCI protection, and "in-use" cover).

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  • The metallic parts of WR receptacles are more corrosion-resistant as well. "In-use" covers are only required in wet locations. While I would recommend using one, they may not be required if the receptacle is up under the eaves. – Tester101 Sep 7 '16 at 16:02
  • WR covers and outlets are exactly that. They keep the weather out! GFCI outlets are for people protection. With ice/snow outlets outside / on a roof GFCI is not required in the 2014 code but WR or In use covers are and have been required since my apprentice years in the 70's. In wet locations. – Ed Beal Sep 8 '16 at 3:08
  • @Ed Beal, WR "outlets" (receptacles) do not "keep the weather out", that would exclusively be the function of the cover. – Jimmy Fix-it Sep 8 '16 at 5:01
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    @EdBeal: I agree with Jimmy, WR receptacles do not do anything to keep water out of the contacts, protect against electrocution, shorting, etc. The WR features are designed to make the receptacle last longer outside, they are not safety features. The GFCI exemption for snow-melting equipment was essentially removed in NEC 2011 when 426.28 was reworded. But it only applied 1) where the circuit is dedicated to that purpose AND 2) where the receptacle is not accessible, neither of which is the case here. Regardless, I cannot fathom why the OP would want to skip on a GFCI. – Hank Sep 9 '16 at 17:53

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