What is the best way to connect my outdoor nest camera outside?
Yes, you can plug your nest outdoor camera outside but you should make sure you do it properly to protect your camera, yourself and your home from unintended hazards.
Nest does list the nest outdoor camera as rated for outdoors and it does a great job recording outdoor video. However even though the camera is rated for the outdoors and the elements, it does not mean that the plug your going to plug the camera into on your house is rated for the outdoors to have a plug permanently plugged in.
Failure to protect the outlet you plugging your nest into from the elements can create a host of issues:
Water can seep into the outlet and short circuit it damaging the outlet or electrical wiring
A short circuit can cause an electrical fire.
Water seeping into the connection damage the nest camera and cause it to no longer function.
It can create hazard for people plugging things into the outlet or near the outlet.
Below we show you a typical "Flip Up" style outlet cover that you should not plug your nest cam into as the outlet will eventually get water in it and fail. We also show you the correct installation with a rated outdoor cover that will enclose the plug and socket connection and keep moisture from infiltrating the outlet if properly installed.
If you don't install an outdoor rated outlet enclosure it's almost a guarantee that the outlet will fail in the future. Our nest pro partners have seen it dozens if not hundreds of times that a customer calls saying that their camera is not working when in reality the outlet got water in it and failed.
We recommend either of the two covers below to protect your nest outdoor camera or nest IQ outdoor camera connection.
The grey cover is metal and heavier duty than the clear plastic cover but both will do the job and protect your investment in your nest camera. Both covers can fit outlets that are horizontal or vertical. On my house I use the heavy duty metal cover from sigma electric because it's a clean look and solid construction, you will feel the it when you install it.
Examples of nest outdoor camera and nest IQ outdoor camera installations with both the clear and metal cover
When you are installing a camera into an outdoor outlet you or any other device into an outdoor outlet you always want to make sure that the outlet you are plugging your device into is a GFCI Outlet. Which is typically required by code in outdoor installations and provides an additional layer of protection from electrical shock in wet environments if properly installed. If you existing outlet is not currently a GFCI Outlet it might be a good time to upgrade with the installation of the new camera.
How do I know if I have a GFCI Outlet?
A GFCI will have two buttons on it, and typically a light to show the status of the outlet if it is wired correctly and if the outlet is currently working. GFCI Outlets have a test button that allow you to simulate a faulty electrical device and test to see if the outlet will turn off, and a reset button that will reset the outlet and provide power back to the outlet for it to function properly. You should test your GFCI Outlet before you plug something in and make sure you reset it after you test it so the outlet is getting power. If you don't press the reset button the GFCI Outlet will remain off.
EXAMPLES OF GFCI OUTLETS
Should you plug your nest camera into an outdoor outlet if it is not GFCI protected?
No, it could be dangerous and also possibility a violation of code.
Should you plug your nest camera into an outdoor outlet if it is not properly enclosed from the weather?
No, it could be dangerous and cause the outlet or your equipment to be damaged and fail.
How can I check if my GFCI Outlet is properly wired?
Most GFCI outlets will have an indicator light to display if they are properly functioning, but this indicator light can be misleading or non functioning. Each manufacturer has different GFCI Outlet designs and different color codes for different statuses. Typically Green means properly functioning and red means that the outlet is not functioning, but this is not always the case you need to look at the information for each outlet from the manufacturer. The only sure fire way to check and see if a GFCI Outlet is properly wired is to use a GFCI Outlet tester which can typically be purchased for under $20.00. You plug the GFCI Outlet tester in, follow the instructions and it will tell you if your GFCI Outlet is properly wired. If it is not you should get the outlet fixed as soon as possible to protect yourself from possible hazards.