Bringing electricity to a shed, garden, or lamppost requires running electrical wires outside your home. When these cables remain exposed, the National Electrical Code requires you to cover them. Covering exposed wires and cables is crucial to minimize the risk of cable damage and reduce electrical hazards. This guide will teach you how to do it.
How To Cover Exposed Wires Outside
When running electrical wires outside, the National Electrical Code (NEC) requires you to protect the wires from potential physical damage. One way to do that is to mount a rigid metal conduit (electric metallic tubing) across the wall or exposed surface, then run your conductor wires through the conduit.
Things You Will Need
- Electrical metallic tubing
- Leather gloves
- Hole saw
- Masonry hole saw bit
- Pipe bender
- Fish tape
- Electrical tape
1. Disconnect the wire
If you are looking for ways to cover exposed electrical wires outside, chances are the wires already run along your exterior wall. To run them through a rigid metal conduit, you’ll have to disconnect them from the breaker box.
Don the leather gloves and turn off the power from your house’s main switch box. You can now locate the source of the exposed wire running outside your house. This is usually a breaker box located on the other side of the wall from the exposed wire or somewhere near the wire exit location.
Use an appropriate screwdriver to disconnect the wire from the breaker box. Get outside and pull the wire through the wall.
2. Plan The Conduit Route
The easiest way to run electric wires through a conduit is by installing the conduit first. To do that, you have to plan the conduit route along the exterior wall and underground if you want to bring electricity away from the house (to your shed or garden lamppost, for example).
If the route goes underground, dig the trench with a mattock. You should also drill an appropriately-sized hole in the wall to run the conduit from the outside to the breaker box from which you want to source the wire.
3. Install The Conduit
Once you’ve planned to route, you can install the conduit across the exterior wall. Fix it in place with brackets and use a pipe bender to bend the tube in the desired direction if you want to run it underground.
Run the electrical metallic tubing through the hole in the wall. Keep pushing the conduit inside your home until you have enough tube to stretch from the wall opening to the breaker box.
4. Run The Wire Through The Conduit
It is now time to route the electric wire through the conduit. The easiest way to do this is by running the fish tape through the tube first and then hooking the wire to it.
Start from the inside of your home and push fish tape through the tube until it comes out on the other side.
Now, hook the wire to the fish tape end outside your house. Secure it with electrical tape and go back inside the home.
Pull the fish tape through the conduit. As it comes out, it will run the electric wire through the tube.
5. Reattach The Wire
Once you’ve run the wire through the conduit, you can reconnect it to the breaker box. Fix the conduit to the breaker box with an appropriate fitting.
Outside your home, connect the wire to the electrical fixture you want to power up. Turn on the electricity from the main breaker box and switch on the electrical fixture you just hooked up to check the results.
Alternative Way To Cover Exposed Electrical Wires Outside The House
Installing electrical metallic tubing and running any exposed wires through it is the only way to run electricity outside your house while abiding by the code. Failing to do so means your property won’t pass an inspection.
That said, there are instances when you might want to cover the exposed wires without the hassle of installing the conduit – perhaps you’re not sure how to do it and want to protect the wires until an electrician can come over and take care of the task.
You can do that with an outdoor wire guard or a plastic cover for electrical wires. These covers are generally easy to install, fastening them with screws. However, they are only suitable to cover wires running along a wall. You still have to use the conduit to cover wires running underground or suspended between two structures.
How To Cover Exposed Doorbell Wires
Whether you’re constructing a new home or renovating an old one, the doorbell wires can sometimes remain exposed. Since this is a temporary situation, you don’t have to cover them with a wire guard or conduit.
Sealing the wires with electrical tape is all it takes to protect them from elements until the doorbell is installed.
Wrap the tape around each individual wire, then around the bundle if you need more than a wire for your doorbell.
If you have to run a permanent wire outside the wall to power the doorbell, remember that you have to cover it with a rigid metal conduit. However, you can temporarily use a wire guard or plastic cover to prevent weather damage.
How to hide a coaxial cable outside?
You can hide a coaxial cable outside by painting its cover in the same color as the wall. Use a specific metal paint to conceal the rigid metal conduit. Exterior wall paint may not adhere to metal, and it can peel off, crack, or get chipped easily.
How to cover exposed wires without electrical tape?
Electrical tape can only be used to cover exposed wires temporarily. For instance, you can use it to protect exposed doorbell wires while carrying out renovation works or wires running to an exterior light fixture that is not yet installed. However, electrical tape is never a permanent solution.
If you want to insulate wires without electrical tape, you can cover them with heat-shrinking tubing or friction tapes. Nevertheless, you’ll still have to run all exposed electrical wires through rigid metal conduits if you want your property to pass the inspection.
How to hide wires on the outside brick wall?
As explained, the easiest way to conceal wires outside your home is by painting their cover in the same color as the wall. No matter what color your brick wall is, rest assured that you can find a matching paint hue to conceal the conduit.
Protecting exposed wires outside your home is essential. Not only is it required by the law, but failing to cover exposed wires could result in an electrical hazard. The weather, your pets, and even the wildlife could also damage the wires. Whether you’re looking for a temporary solution until a licensed electrician can take care of the job or want to fix the issue permanently, we hope this guide can help you carry out the task with no hassle.