Who to call to rearrange outdoor faucet and power outlet?
October 17, 2021 7:48 AM   Subscribe

My home (desert southwest US metropolitan area) has an outdoor faucet situated right above an outdoor electrical outlet on the patio. This seems like a bad idea. The solution that occurs to me is to move the outlet higher up the wall, though I’d be open to whatever is easy that has a result that allows safe use of a hose. Photo

What’s the order of operations for finding contractors to remedy this? I’m worried that if I call a plumber they’ll come out to tell me it’s impossible and only an electrician can do it and vice versa, plus I would imagine dealing with the exterior wall and stucco will be squarely outside the scope of either. Thanks!
posted by zepheria to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Best answer: There's only one way to find out. They need to come to your house to give an estimate, so whoever you call first will tell you if the other person needs to be there first. But most likely, an electrician will be able to move the outlet up without having to worry about the pipes.

Or, you could just find a handyman who does small plumbing and electrical jobs and see if they can deal with whatever is inside the wall if it turns out that both things need to be rearranged. This person might be able to do the stucco, too.

Or, just leave it. Those clearly aren't new fixtures, and that's a (theoretically) water-tight cover over the outlet, so I'm assuming that they've been like that for decades without causing any electrocutions. You could attach a small length of hose permanently to the faucet and let it hang down below the outlet. Then attach a full length hose to that when you need it.
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:02 AM on October 17, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I would do what you're doing, exactly as you describe it. It would probably be fine, but I know myself and I would not want water above an outlet like that.

The electrical box is likely fastened to a wall stud, and the wall stud - given the spacing - is probably between the pipe and the electrical stuff. So my bet would be to get an electrician in to do this, on the assumption that when they open the wall up on that side of the stud there is no plumbing to be seen. No certainties here, but that's the balance of probabilities.

Also, you're not planning on moving the tap, so what is there for a plumber to do?

Both plumbers and electricians will have some knowledge of patching walls up, and both will happily cut holes. You might need someone (perhaps a handyman) to tidy up whatever is left and give it a lick of paint, but that comes afterward. You can ask whoever you get in what the end state will look like.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 8:40 AM on October 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, this strikes me as not really a huge problem. It’s a pain to put new holes into stucco and to make sure that the patch work is actually good, so that’s another thing to keep in mind. If you wanted to do something specific to ease your mind, I would (or I would have an electrician) install a more expensive and effective commercial/industrial outlet cover like this one from grainger.
posted by rockindata at 8:42 AM on October 17, 2021

Best answer: Cheap fix : put an elbow on the water line and run it along the wall for a few feet.
posted by lobstah at 9:25 AM on October 17, 2021 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I do not think this is a problem, the outlet box is rated for exposure to water and does not look like the faucet would run down directly onto it, unless the angle has deceived me. So at most it will get occasional spray.

Anyway, the person to call is an electrician; putting in some conduit and moving the box up/replacing the box is a much simpler job than moving plumbing to a new hole in the wall.
Running the plumbing along the exterior wall is out unless it never freezes in your location.
posted by joeyh at 12:05 PM on October 17, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks! Appreciate the reality check, and now I have a good short term plan and know how to ask next time I have an electrician out. You all are the best!
posted by zepheria at 12:11 PM on October 17, 2021

Best answer: My house is like that too - but with your stone patio and stucco siding (mine is brick), it's going to be an expensive job to fix. So I just leave it.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:02 AM on October 18, 2021

Best answer: to add:
No pro I've ever talked to is willing to run the water or the electrical wire outside the framing of the house, so to fix you'd have to drill into your wall to access, cut a new water line under your patio to a more appropriate location.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:04 AM on October 18, 2021

Best answer: It's not a problem. That outlet box looks rated for exterior use and believe me, I live in wet, snowy New England where it's so damp moss grows on every northeast surface and there's piles of slush against every exterior wall for months and most houses have electrical boxes just like that. It's designed to keep out water.
posted by epanalepsis at 4:05 PM on October 18, 2021

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