Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Switched GFCI Outlets!

This is something you will rarely see done, but is a great idea. All outdoor receptacles must be ground fault protected, either with a GFCI Receptacle, or GFCI breaker protecting the circuit from the panel.

The typical cost of a GFCI outlet is about $15, and it can protect other outlets as you want further along the circuit. A GFCI breaker protects all outlets on its circuit, yet costs over $100. Obviously the best way is to run a GFCI outlet first in the circuit to protect all other outlets wired beyond it. 

So the other problems are that GFCI's are the ugly decora style, which I refuse to mount on the outside of this fine edifice, and my preference for having outdoor receptacles switched, for safety and to prevent neighbors charging their plug-in hybrids at our house when we aren't around! But GFCI outlets can't be switched on or off, as the outlet would have to be reset each time power is returned.

My solution? A GFCI is wired first in the circuit off the panel, located 'outdoors' underneath the front porch, hidden away from view. From there wire is run to this switch, from which all 3 outdoor outlets will be controlled, one switch for a single driveway outlet, the other switch for two garden side outlets.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cable Holders

This photo shows the full cable run to the attic, in the short space in the basement where they run under the floor joists from the panel to where they turn and run up the inside of the foyer wall. I found these red plastic cable holders, knowing they would come in handy wiring the attic, and for other locations, such as between two main air ducts here, where I didn't have enough room to drill holes through the joists to accommodate the cable. Each holder can carry four 2-wire and two 3-wire cables.