Installing a Light in a Metal Carport
Installing a light, or any electricity for that matter, into a metal carport isn’t the easiest do-it-yourself task, but it can be done with the right instructions and a little know-how. Below are the basic steps to set up a light inside your new metal carport.
Step 1 - Install a Breaker or Fuse Box
For any outdoor wiring system, a breaker or fuse box is always your first step. With the power shut off, install one on the wall inside where you want your power to be coming from. Install a conduit through the wall, to a weatherproof elbow installed outside. The weatherproof elbow will hold your cable firmly in place, so nothing outside catches on it and pulls on your fuse box or breaker.
Step 2 – Lay Cable
Lay your cable on the ground exactly where you’ll want it to be running, leaving 2 extra feet of cable at any point where it drops underground or comes back up. Once you’re certain you have enough cable, feed it through the conduit to the breaker or fuse box (be sure the power is still off), and fit it inside the weatherproof elbow.
Dig out a trench 2 feet deep where your cable will run. You may choose to fit your entire cable in conduit, but you probably don’t have to. However, you should at least fit the cable into a conduit wherever it bends (use a conduit bender on a thin-walled conduit to bend it into a corner), as well as any place where the cable is exposed above ground.
Step 3 - Run Cable in the Carport
If you have siding on your carport, run your cable up from the ground directly into the carport. If you can’t because your carport is on a pavement of some type, you’ll need to drill a hole in the side of your carport, install a weatherproof elbow outside, and feed it through just like you did at the house wall.
Once inside, run the cable up the wall to where you want the light to hang. You can use pipe strap to fasten it to the wall, or if the cable is lightweight, use zip ties to fasten it directly to your carport’s metal supports.
Step 4 - Add Outlet Box
You’ll need an outlet box for your light fixture to hang from. There are many designs available with different methods of attaching. Some outlet boxes will need a hanger bar to attach to, so look for a hanger bar that will easily attach to the supports in your carport. Fasten the hanger bar first, then attach the outlet box to the hanger bar.
As you are fastening it in, either slip the end of your main cable into the outlet box, or attach feed cable to the main cable (useful if you want multiple lights for a double carport, or want other outlets), and then slip the end of the feed cable into the outlet box.
Step 5 - Add the Fixture
Attach a mounting strap to your outlet box. Different straps are made for different outlet boxes, so be sure to find one appropriate for yours. Attach the wires of your fixture to the appropriate wires in your outlet box. Typically, black connects to black, white connects to white, and green or copper (which is your grounding wire) connects to green or copper.
Then, simply screw your fixture into the mounting strap, and you’re good to go! Depending on your carport plans, you may also want to have extra cable to run across for more lights, or for regular plug outlets.