Now that spring is here, you and your family will be spending more time in the outdoor areas around your house. However, you may not know that the National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that outlet covers in wet locations be weatherproofed for safety.
NEC Damp and Wet Location Definitions
Damp Location: These are locations protected from weather and not subject to saturation with water or other liquids but subject to moderate degrees of moisture. Examples of such locations include partially protected locations under canopies, marquees, roofed open porches, and like locations, and interior locations subject to moderate degrees of moisture, such as some basements, some barns, and some cold storage warehouses.
Wet Location: These are installations underground or in concrete slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth; in locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids, such as vehicle washing areas; and in unprotected locations exposed to weather.
Traditional Outdoor Outlet Covers
An outdoor ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet can be vulnerable from water entering the wiring if it uses a traditional outdoor outlet cover. It may catch fire and blow out connected interior and exterior circuits. The traditional “weatherproof” outlet cover is considered inadequate for wet locations. They can only be accessed for use by opening a flap. In this open position, it won’t be able to protect the outlet from water. During seasons when inclement weather is more common, this type of outdoor outlet poses danger to a home.
The bubble cover type for outdoor outlets is ideal for wet locations because they provide weatherproof protection from water whether or not an outlet is in use. A bubble cover lowers over an outlet and covers it even while an electrical cord is plugged into it. Bubble covers will ensure protection from water damage and fire. They will also keep fuses and circuit breakers from blowing. If you have a home with outdoor electrical outlets in damp or wet locations with traditional flaps, the installation of bubble covers will eliminate electrical hazards from water invasion.
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