Outdoor power and safety requirements

29th July 2021

Outdoor power and safety requirements

As summer comes around, many of us are heading out to our gardens, firing up the BBQs and enjoying some long awaited British sunshine.  It’s a time of year when our gardens become an extension of our homes, and outdoor power supplies can make that extension even easier. We look at how you can add an external power source, what you need to do to make that safe and how you can get them good to go for the warmer weather. 

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Wiring an external socket

Wiring an external socket is very similar to wiring an internal one. You’ll need to wire it from a junction box on the main ring circuit using a switched connection unit, feeding the wires through a hole in your external wall and fixing them to a socket that’s mounted outside. 

You should ensure your fixtures and fittings are waterproof and suitable for outdoor use, and check that your circuit has RCD protection to keep your clients safe. 

You then need to consider where your external power will be used. Does it simply need to be a socket on an outside wall, or will you need to lay further cabling down to extend the power to other areas of the garden? If you’re looking to power some lighting at the end of a garden, for example, you’ll need to lay cabling beneath the ground and install a further external socket in the desired area. 

How to fit an external socket: three steps to outdoor power

Fitting an external socket is as simple as three steps. Once you’ve got the appropriate fittings and RCD protection, you’ll just need a heavy-duty hammer-action drill and 16mm gauge bit. Then you’re good to get started. 

Step 1. Drill your hole. 

Check the wall for any hidden pipes or cables using an appropriate scanner. Then, from the outside, drill a hole 50mm below your desired socket position. Angle the drill upwards slightly to prevent any rain from seeping in later. 

Step 2. Feed the cable through. 

Push the conduit cable through the wall and leave it protruding by enough to connect it to the new socket. Now remove the central knock-out from the mounting box and add a weatherproof grommet. Mark the fixing holes for the mounting box and drill them with a masonry bit. 

Fit plastic wall plugs to keep the screws in place. 

Put the conduit through the grommet into the mounting box, then fit the box in place with screws. For weatherproofing, add some silicone sealant behind each screw head and between the wall and outer edge of the mounting box. 

Step 3. Get connected. 

Strip off the sheathing of the conduit to expose the cables, before connecting them to the right terminals and tightening the screws. Finish by screwing the faceplate to the mounting box. 


What IP rating is waterproof?

To use any appliance outside, you’ll need to ensure it has a waterproof IP rating. The same applies to your external socket. 

The second digit in an IP rating shows you how waterproof it is. You should look out for ratings of IP65, IP66 and IP67, which will be suitable for most general uses in external power sources. 

Order your external sockets today

We stock a great range of external sockets, outdoor switches and outdoor fused spurs, all at great trade value. Orders yours by 4pm to guarantee next working day delivery and bring a world of power to your client’s garden. 

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