Electrical outlets provide safe, simple, and easy access to electricity, but to ensure they stay safe you need to be cautious when installing them outdoors. Indoor outlets typically are placed in ways where weather isn’t an issue, but outdoor outlets need to be protected. Waterproofing outlets that are outside prevents not only damaging your home’s electrical work but also prevents electrical shorts and fires from damage.
Below are some key tips to keep top of mind while setting up outlets on your home’s exterior.
Waterproofing Outlets: Selecting the Right Type for Outside
In order to stay protected and safe, regular indoor outlets should not be used outdoors.
Instead, GFCI outlets should always be used. These are the same kind of outlets you will commonly find in bathrooms. That’s because they are specifically designed to prevent electrical shocks if the electrical current suddenly increases to that outlet.
These GFCI outlets are easy to distinguish from regular outlets as they have the buttons “TEST” and “RESET” on their face.
For exterior outlets, you will also need GFCI outlets with a “WR” marking on them that indicate they are weather resistant.
If you already have existing outlets that aren’t GFCI or WR, then you will need to replace them in order to keep them safe from the elements. Regular outlets can more easily get damaged and cause electrical issues if they are used in replace of GFCI WR outlets.
How to Protect Outdoor Outlets
Waterproofing outdoor outlets is simple—you just need to purchase and install a cover with sealing flip tabs. These are sometimes known as “flip-ups” or “bubble covers” which are either clear or smoke-coloured. These covers protect your outlet from the elements, especially water, and ensure your outlet stays safe and doesn’t get any water damage.
If you’re not confident in your electrical abilities (or aren’t sure if your outlets are waterproofed) then contact an electrician to help you with the rewiring and installation of the proper outlets.