Electrician, Meyer Electrical Services Inc.
Written by Walt Meyer

Basics for Safer Outdoor Electrical Outlets – Part 1

In contrast to the stable environment of your home indoors, outdoor outlets and wiring experience plenty of stress from the extremes of weather. Although they are clearly different in usage and conditions, homeowners often treat them alike, resulting in hazards that could have been easily avoided.

Outdoor electrical outlets provide convenience. Your home can have an exterior where people can enjoy an entertainment system and an outdoor kitchen under lighting that helps keep everyone safe. However, outdoor outlets can be hazardous unless they are adequately protected.

Why Outdoor Outlets Require Protection

The potential danger from outdoor electrical outlets stems from their constant exposure to the elements and moisture. In addition to ice, rain, and snow, they may also encounter water coming from a sprinkler or hose. Mixing electricity and water is always dangerous.

Plugging an appliance into a wet outlet will probably result in an electrical shock. This is because water easily conducts electricity, and if someone is in contact with electrified water, the current will flow straight into their body.

You may be startled a bit by a mild electrical shock. When it is powerful, it can cause serious injury or be fatal. Kids and pets who are playing close to a dangerous outlet can be hurt. Fortunately, you can be proactive about protecting your family. The following are safety tips for outdoor outlets at your home.

1) Use the Proper Outlet

Providing protection from humidity, ice, rain, and snow, WR (weather resistant) receptacles are most effective when they are properly installed with approved weather protective covers. WR GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacles are required by the NEC (National Electrical Code) for outdoor outlets. Your family will be protected against electrical shock in moist or wet environments by using only WR GFCI receptacles outdoors. They feature components that are corrosion resistant, so they have longer service lives than indoor outlets.

Part 2 will discuss more tips for improving the safety of outdoor electrical outlets.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.