Sometimes, we are very careful about safely using electrical equipment and outlets in our home. But we tend to overlook the risks of electrical hazards due to outdoor electrical outlets. So, to help you, we are discussing how to ensure maximum safety when using an outdoor electrical box followed by some very important electrical safety tips.
Pick the right electrical outlet
When you choose an electrical outlet for outdoor use, it is important that you keep a few things in mind. According to the National Electrical Code, you must use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) circuit to ensure safety. You can identify a GFCI circuit by its ‘test’ and ‘reset’ buttons. And since the outdoor electrical circuit must also be weather resistant, you must check if the ‘WR’ is embossed on the GFCI circuit.
If you purchase a home that has the main electric outlet installed already, do not assume that they are safe. Check the configuration, wiring, etc. before moving in.
Install the outdoor circuit properly
Since outdoor electrical outlets must be protected from the weather, make sure you install the outlet with a cover plate and a gasket. Use external mounting brackets to seal the connection of the electrical outlet to the wall. If the mounting brackets are not fit for external use, moisture can easily get into the circuit, which can trip the breaker and make the outlet melt. Inadequate protection from the weather can also lead to electrical fires. So, you must be extra careful.
To safeguard electrical equipment used in the circuit breaker and electrical system, and prevent electric shocks, ensure that the electric current grounds when required. You can use a 3-bulb receptacle tester to check if that happens.
You must install the outside outlet box only if you know how to do it. If not, get help from an expert electrician.
Add a weatherproof cover
If the main external plug socket is not in use, the flip-up tabs may work to protect it against the weather. However, flip-up tabs are not recommended when the outlet is in use. To prevent moisture from getting into an active outside plug box, you can use a weatherproof cover which National Electrical Code has made mandatory. Though the cover is designed with grooves and deep lids to fit the electrical outlet properly, it is advised that you use one that has the same configuration as your GFCI outlet design. Weatherproof covers are available for various electrical equipment including circuit breakers.
Additional Outlet Safety Tips
Sometimes, carelessness when using outlets in our home can result in electrical hazards. So, here are a few tips that will help you ensure safety:
- Check outdoor electric sockets for loose plugs and replace them.
- Replace broken wall plates to ensure that no wiring is exposed.
- Do not overload outlets with heavy appliances, all plugged in at the same time.
- Make sure that the electrical wiring is not torn or frayed.
- Ensure that the wattage of lights and bulbs match the fixture requirements.
- Make sure extension cords have safety closures to prevent electrical shocks.
- Check for loose electric wires, wires, wall plates, and lighting fixtures. You may hear a sizzling sound if any of those is loose.
- Use surge protectors in order to protect electronic devices.
- If there is frequent tripping or flickering and dimming lights, check if your home is equipped to handle the load.
- Make sure that electrical fuses are the right size for the circuit.
- If an appliance frequently trips a circuit breaker, blows a fuse, or causes flickering lights, then get it checked immediately. Also, check if there’s a problem with the plug or the electrical wiring.
- Make sure that terminal screws are not corroded.
If you notice anything wrong with your electrical outlet box or circuit, do not take the matter in your own hands. Call an expert electrician and let them do the job.
D&F Liquidators’ has been serving the electrical construction materials needs for more than 30 years. It is an international clearing house, with 180,000 square facility located in Hayward, California. It keeps an extensive inventory of electrical connectors, conduit fitting, circuit breakers, junction boxes, wire cable, safety switches etc. It procures its electrical materials supplies from top notch companies across the globe. The Company also keeps an extensive inventory of electrical explosion proof products and modern electrical lighting solutions. As it buys materials in bulk, D&F is in a unique position to offer competitive pricing structure. Besides, it is able to meet the most discerning demands and ship material on the same day.