With summer around the corner, your days of social distancing and self-isolation are likely filled with dreams of barbecues and backyard parties. Get your home ready to entertain by making sure your exterior outlets are safe. Outdoor electrical outlets are exposed to the elements and therefore, extra precaution must be taken to prevent fires and electrical shocks. Here are some tips for getting your outdoor electrical outlets ready for summer.
Install Weather Resistant Outlets
Installing weather resistant outlets is an absolute must! The National Electrical Code requires that all outside electrical outlets be weather resistant ground fault circuit interrupters (WR GFCIs). This special type of outlet has a cover that helps keep out rain, snow, ice, and humidity when installed correctly. Additionally, WR GFCIs use components that are corrosion-resistant and are designed to protect users from getting an electrical shock by cutting off the current if there is a surge. While these outlets are standard in newer homes, you may want to double-check your existing outside outlets if you are in an older home. If you do not have weather-resistant outlets, you’ll want to get them installed ASAP.
Check Your Wires
Keeping your outdoor electrical outlets also means checking your wires regularly. This will help you spot potential problems. Always make sure you untangle any wires. Additionally, you want to examine your wires for any nicks, cuts, or grays. These can all lead to problems and possible injury.
Lay New Wires Carefully
If you are installing new outdoor electrical outlets you need to be cautious as to where you lay the wire. You want to avoid laying wires in areas with high foot traffic, such as walkways and sidewalks. You should also avoid laying new wires near trees as well.
Keep Outlets Clear
It is also important that you keep your outlets visible. This means keeping grass, landscaping, etc. away from the outlet box. When you keep your outside electrical outlets visible you are less likely to forget they are there, preventing injury.
Watch for Water
Just as you want to avoid mixing outlets and water inside your home, the same is true outside too. Obvious places to avoid placing exterior outlets include near swimming pools, jacuzzis, or fountains. However, you also want to consider areas of your yard that tend to pool water or flood. Avoid putting any electrical work in these areas.
Another important point to consider in keeping your outdoor electrical outlets safe is to not use them during storms or rain. Using electrical appliances during storms puts you at risk of electric shock. Therefore, it is best to avoid using electricity outside during a storm.
Double Check Appliances and Extension Cords
When using appliance or extension cords outside, you should always make sure they are safe for outdoor use. This means double-checking the manual warnings for appliances and extension cords. If an appliance says “not for outdoor use” keep it indoors and avoid using it outside.
Get a Professional Opinion for Your Outdoor Electrical Outlets
If you’re confused as to whether or not your existing outside electrical outlets are weather-resistant, don’t hesitate to get a professional opinion. Our electricians at Wire Craft Electric can help you make sure you have outside outlets that are up to code through an electrical inspection. They can even help you install new outlets or do some electrical outlet repair if you’re coming up short.
Request a services and give us a call at 206-542-0208 to schedule an appointment to get your outdoor electrical outlets summer-ready.