Do Outdoor Outlets Need To Be Covered?
Using an outlet outdoor is almost as important as using outlets inside. If you want to mow the lawn, you need electricity to power the lawn mower. An electrical outlet is very convenient to avoid the usage of a lot of extension cords during Christmas and Halloween. It also makes an outdoor kitchen more convenient and more functional. In addition, there will be less hassle in setting up the electric leaf blowers and pressure washers.
Overall, an outdoor outlet is a very convenient addition to your outside functionalities. It cuts off the travel time needed in order to access electricity from the outside. In addition, it also saves you from using extension cords, which can be very inconvenient sometimes. For families who like to take their activities outside will even find it more useful. However, there is an extra precaution when using an outlet outside of the house. Because of its location, it is more exposed to outside elements, which might cause damage or other safety hazards. This includes weather elements such as snow and rain.
If an outdoor electrical outlet gets wet, serious issues can occur. A powerful electric shock can injure a person or even cause death. This also applies to electrical outlets, which is connected to the wirings where electricity is being distributed. When the outlet becomes wet, the flow of electricity will run in the water.
When this happens, anyone who is not observant enough will receive an electric shock. The most at risk here are unsuspecting children and animals who happen to be playing outside. Outdoor outlets are important for convenience, but to eliminate the chance of water getting inside, homeowners need to use an outdoor cover.
DO OUTDOOR OUTLETS NEED TO BE COVERED?
All outdoor outlets should be covered whether it is used or not, especially those that are likely exposed during the rain. It is even required to be installed in special boxes, alongside the electrical covers, For example, all outlets installed in damp locations, as well as in locations unprotected by rainfall, must be protected with a weatherproof cover.
The most common danger related to outdoor outlets is the possibility of someone being shocked by being in contact with the water near the outlet. Fire can also happen when an unsuspecting person put a plug inside a wet outlet, which can cause a short circuit that can start a fire. The short circuit can also cause power outages throughout the house and can cause damage to your appliances.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE OUTDOOR OUTLET GETS WET?
1. Turn off the GFCI Outlet
GFCI Outlets are designed to switch itself off automatically when the electricity has been cut off. The common occurrence of this happens when water or any liquid compromises the flow of electricity. If for some reason, the GFCI outlet did not turn itself off automatically, you can do it manually by pressing the reset button and the test button at the same time.
2. Shut Down The Breaker Box
In case of a flood or any other events where there are a lot of outlets affected, shutting down the Breaker Box is the most reliable solution. It is even recommended even when the GFCI outlets successfully stopped function automatically. If you’re not sure what circuit breaker should be flipped, call an electrician for help.
Selecting the kind of outdoor outlets is one of the most important parts of ensuring safety. Only GFCI outlets are the standard that NEC mandates. Also, make sure to follow the installation of the GFCI outlet. Use brackets that are designed for exterior outlets. Last but not least, install a weatherproof cover.
A weatherproof cover, usually made with plastic, is a covering designed to protect the outlet from moisture and water. Different kinds of weatherproof exist for different usage and locations. Use the right cover for the right outlet design and configuration. It is worthy to note that using a cover with the wrong design and configuration will likely let the water leak inside the outlet even when it is covered.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COVERS AND WHEN TO USE THEM
The National Electrical Code or NEC mandated to use Bubble Covers for all types of outdoor outlets in wet locations. The flat electric cover is no longer viable for outlet protection, as per NEC, so it is not an item for a recommendation. For the “in-use” outlets that are located in places unprotected from rainfall, or in underground places in direct contact with the Earth should use covers designed for wet locations. This type of cover lets the outlet sealed even while in use.
Another one is for outlets which are located in damp locations. Damp locations are defined by the NEC as locations that are protected by roofs, canopies, and marquees. Covers that are used in damp locations protect the outlet and keeps it sealed while not in use. These practices are mandated by the NEC and are recommended by a lot of electricians. Using a cover that is meant for other location reduce the efficiency of the cover. Water and other particles are expected to leak when the wrong cover is used.
SHOULD YOU DIY COVER INSTALLATION ON OUTDOOR OUTLETS?
Outdoor outlet covers are usually made with silicon and extra-duty plastic. These items can come in different colors and different configuration. Although these items seem easy to install, it is always recommended to call a professional for installation. You might think that you’re doing the installation right until you hit the wrong place and endanger yourself.
If you’ve been using an old cover for outdoor outlets, it is also recommended to seek the help of a licensed electrician to uninstall it. These items are needed to be removed with precision and care.
Mister Sparky Electrician Houston, America’s On-Time Electrician, serves Houston, Texas and the cities of Katy, Sugar Land, Cypress, Spring, The Woodlands and others with a team of certified electricians. In addition to emergency electrical repairs, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections. Call us today at: (281) 907-8418.