Are Your Outdoor Outlets Safe?
When you plugged in the string of lights to decorate the outside of your home, did you consider how safe your outdoor outlets are?
Most of us don’t. They’re there, and so we use them. We assume their safety as long as they “look” all right.
Unlike the controlled indoor environment of your home, outdoor outlets go through a lot of stress each year. And those temperature spikes can make a difference in how safe they operate. But what does that mean? And how do you ensure they are safe to use?
Use the right outlet
The National Electrical Code has a policy for outdoor outlets, that only weather resistant (WR) GFCI receptacles be used outdoors. They offer protection from humidity, rain, ice, and snow when properly installed in approved weather protected covers. They are enhanced with corrosion-resistant components, and protect anyone who touches them against shock.
If your home is older or you aren’t sure you are using the correct outlets, call in an electrician today.
Don’t Use Extension Cords
Extension cords are more trouble than they’re worth. But if you use the wrong extension cord, it compounds the problem. Indoor extension cords are no match for the outdoor environment. And in many cases, they don’t meet the capacity of the items you use outdoors, such as lawn equipment or power tools.
Watch For Potential Problems
Never operate a wire or cord that is tangled. Check for nicks and cuts; frays can indicate a serious problem and should be discontinued at once. Be careful about running wires around trees and walkways, where contact can come easily.
Avoid Wet Areas
It’s easy to avoid obvious spaces like fountains or pools. But also consider the layout of your property. If an area is prone to flooding, avoid putting anything electrical in the vicinity.
Keep Outlets Clear
The easiest way to get into trouble is by forgetting an outlet is there. Be sure to keep areas clean of grass clippings, landscaping, boxes – anything that can cover up the outlet or cause problems with operation.
Avoid Wasting Energy
When we use outdoor outlets, we tend to overload quickly. Those holiday lights can quickly increase your energy bill if you leave them on every hour of the day. Instead, focus on using more energy friendly alternatives every time you plug in. LED lighting technology is both earth safe and green, helping you keep more money in your pocket every time you use them.
Have a question about your outdoor outlets?