Safety Tips for Outdoor Electrical Outlets

Safety Tips for Outdoor Electrical Outlets

December 30, 2020

Do you have electrical outlets around the exterior of your property? The holiday season is the time of year during which those outlets are most likely to see regular use, as people will use them to plug in their holiday lights and blow-up decorations.

It’s important to make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions when using those outlets in order to avoid potential hazards. Here are a few of the simplest and most effective safety tips for outdoor electrical outlets in Walla Walla County, WA to prevent any potential incidents.

Make sure you’re using the right type of outlet

Under the National Electrical Code, you are required to have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets to ensure safe use. These outlets are easily identifiable by the pair of buttons labeled “TEST” and “RESET,” which might, depending on the outlet, be in black and red. The outlet should also have a “WR” embossed on it, which stands for “weather resistant.”

This is the only kind of electrical outlet safe for outdoor use. If you have old, outdated outlets located outdoors, you need to make the switch immediately, or not use the outlet at all. These outlets are designed to protect against a wide range of environmental conditions, including rain and snow.

Have a weatherproof cover on the outlet

Every outdoor outlet you have on your property should feature a weatherproof cover. Outlets that have small, flip-up tabs might protect the outlet when it’s not being used, but a weatherproof cover will protect the outlets even during use. These covers are exactly what they sound like—a cover that gets attached at the top and on the sides, and then can flip up or down for protection. When cords are plugged into the outlet, the cover flips up and still provides top-side protection, something you would not get if you only had the small tabs that covered the individual outlets rather than the entire unit.

Emphasize careful, proper installation

When installing new outlets or replacing existing ones, make sure you install with a gasket and cover plate, and that the connection is properly sealed to the wall. It’s also a good idea to install a weatherproof cover as described above.

Any outlet you purchase will come with external mounting brackets. This will help to secure the outlet against the wall, and also to prevent moisture from getting into the box, which could lead to issues such as tripped breakers or electrocution. Make sure there’s adequate ground during installation as well. It’s best to have a professional electrician come and get the job done if you’re at all unsure about your ability to do the job safely.

Don’t take safety for granted

Never assume the outlets you have are safe, or that they’ve been installed correctly, especially if they predate your purchase of the home. Have a professional come out and inspect them to make sure they’re safe for use.

For more information about how to use electrical outlets safely for your holiday decorations in Walla Walla County, WA, contact Supreme Cleaning Services today.

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