Outdoor electrical outlets provide convenient power access to light your yard, operate power tools, and take advantage of entertainment devices. Failure to properly protect these outlets, however, can do more than damage your equipment. It could also be extremely dangerous to the safety of your family and home.
Avoid hair-raising outdoor electrical experiences – protect your outdoor outlets!
Though most outdoor receptacles include weatherproof covers to keep moisture and dirt from compromising outlets, once you plug in a device – all bets are off. Luckily, you can ensure safety with the help of a few simple, common-sense measures.
- Select the right kind of outdoor outlet.
National Electrical Code REQUIRES the use of ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets for safety. You can identify these outlets by their ‘TEST’ and ‘RESET’ buttons – and by the ‘WR’ embossed on the outlet, indicating it as ‘weather resistant.’ Only this type of outlet is safe for outdoor use.
- Ensure proper installation.
Be sure to install the outlet with a gasket and a cover plate, sealing the connection to the wall, or attaching a weatherproof cover (see below). Always use the proper, external mounting brackets provided with the outlet. Otherwise moisture could get into the box, causing tripped breakers, melted outlets, or worse. To protect against shock as well as safeguard the lifespan of valuable tools and electronic equipment, ensure adequate ground. (Surge protectors do NOT supply grounding.) A 3-bulb receptacle tester can help you determine this – IF you know what you’re doing. If you’re not sure what you’re doing – NEVER toy with electrical equipment yourself; enlist the help of a qualified electrician.
- Add a weatherproof cover.
The little flip up tabs that cover your outdoor electrical outlets are only enough to protect the outlet when it’s NOT in use. Luckily, the addition of a properly connected weatherproof cover can allow you use of the plug while safeguarding it against moisture – even allowing for use in the rain. Sometimes referred to as ‘flip up’ or ‘bubble covers,’ these outlet additions are now mandatory as per the National Electrical code. Typically clear or smoke-colored, they come in a variety of configurations. Designed with a deep lid and grooves allowing for device and extension cords to run out of the bottom while protecting the outlet from inclement weather, for proper fit it is essential to be sure to select one with the same configuration as your outdoor outlet type (GFCI) and outlet design (single gang/2 outlet, double gang/4 outlet, etc.).
- Don’t assume safety.
Outlets already installed prior to the purchase of your home? Don’t assume they are the right kind – check them for type and proper installation!
Protect your home and your family by ensuring the safe and proper operation of outdoor outlets. Contact Mr. Electric for a free electrical safety inspection today.
Mr. Electric is part of a community of home service brands through Neighborly. These brands can help you with other safety concerns for you home. Worried you might have lead paint in an older home? Contact Five Star Painting for best practices on testing for lead paint, and what your options are to mitigate the situation.
This blog is made available by Mr. Electric for educational purposes only to give the reader general information and a general understanding on the specific subject above. The blog should not be used as a substitute for a licensed electrical professional in your state or region. Check with city and state laws before performing any household project.
An outdoor plug socket or switch is a convenient addition to your garden, allowing you to safely run electricity to your outside areas. Our selection of power solutions ensures you can safely plug in your pressure washer or switch on your garden lights with a waterproof light switch.
Available in a choice of one and two way configurations, an outside light switch is ideal for use with exterior lights such as wall-mounted floodlights. Made from a tough and robust polycarbonate casing for a fade and crack resistant life, our durable outdoor switches are fully weatherproof, so you can safely use your outdoor switches.
An outdoor socket provides a handy power source in your garden, so you don’t have to run indoor extension cables outside. With secure and easy to open see-through covers, choose from a single or double socket to suit your needs. Whether you want to plug in your power tools for some garden landscaping, vacuum the inside of your car or jet wash the driveway, we have a choice of outdoor sockets to suit your needs.
Our range of outdoor junction boxes provide reliable, weatherproof protection. With an array of models from Masterplug and options supplied with their terminal block, you can shop by size or the number of gangs required.
If you need full around-the-clock control of your pond pump or automatic dusk to dawn activation of your outdoor lights, our exterior power points come complete with timers, plus automatic and manual override options for 24 hour control.
You would like to guard your house and property, then you are able to buy Outdoor Outlet Covers that provides best cover. Likewise, the covers offer adaptive uses where you are able to cover all of your electrical outdoors outlets while also incorporating weatherproof structure. When you buy one, no longer UV rays or extreme weather reaches your own property.
The outdoor outlet covers also enhance your house when enhancing the whole decor thereby making everything seem perfect. Moreover, the covers are available in a variety of designs and contour in which you find it hard to pick the top one. To aid you, here’s your review of the 6 best outdoor outlet covers.
How To Choose The Best Outdoor Outlet Cover
While purchasing an outdoor outlet cover, you’ll need to observe the total structure. It has to arrive in a lasting design and must be perfect for outdoor use. Choose the one which has a solid structure and comes from a weatherproof layout. Make sure it has an attractive appearance that could easily match to your outdoor decor. Start looking for the one which consists of all UV-resistant material.
Consistently see whether the outdoor outlet cover meets your requirements. With this, you have to determine whether it comes at an ideal size. Some of it may have extra space. Exterior outlet cover has to provide maximum protection so there could be improved security.
To getting powerful functionality, you will need to find the general look of this outdoor outlet cover. You will need to determine whether it’s compatible with various kinds of systems so you are able to get the absolute most from it. Besides this, you will need to find out whether it comes at a design layout. It has to match a regular-sized lock in order that there’ll not be any side access.
The setup needs to be easy and have to let you complete it in a fast time. Choose the one which includes the hardware. Some will allow you to mount it in a minute.
Always choose the one which comes from universal design. It has to enable you to place it either vertically or horizontally in order that there could be a better advantage.
List of 6 Best Outdoor Outlet Covers
1. Leviton 5981-UCL While-in-Use Cover for GFCI/Decora Duplex and Single Outlet
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- Protecting your outdoor outlets from the components is simple with the newest Leviton Extra Duty While-in-Use Covers. These non-metallic covers are ruggedly built to safeguard devices from debris, insects and debris, while providing easy access to sockets.
- Extra Duty While-in-Use Covers are offered in both horizontal and vertical settings; this guarantees a secure fit and tidy look when attached to surfaces such as siding, cement and brick. The UV resistant polycarbonate cover and base shield wiring apparatus from snow, rain and temperature extremes without breaking, cracking or discoloration. Stainless steel hinge hooks provide additional strength and immunity into the rigors of everyday use.
2. TayMac MM410C Single-Gang Horizontal/Vertical Mount Weatherproof In-Use Cover
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- The TayMac weatherproof plastic in-use cover is really a one-gang (16 in 1 ) regular horizontal/vertical cover clear MM410C that covers any electric socket in moments. The patented Multi-Mac attributes our Universal Combination system which allows you to utilize exactly the exact same merchandise for all kinds of receptacles. 1 Multi-Mac does everything.
- The cover fits vertically and horizontally. It’s composed of a polycarbonate construction that resists corrosion and breakage. The rapid fit optimized key gap bracket allows simple setup, together with the base setup together with it is patented knock out technologies allows for a personalized fit.
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- Extra-Duty for use in moist locations. Polycarbonate thermoplastic construction offers maximum durability in severe climate conditions. FOR DECORATOR/GFCI STYLE OUTLETS ONLY
- Weatherproof enclosure shields sockets from outdoor elements like sand, rain, dirt, and snow. Also offers protection from pets and other creatures
- Characteristics locking tab located in the base of home, and also two openings to operate electric cords separately. Can be mounted vertically. 1-Gang, 6.1″ Height x 3.4″ Width x 2.8″ Depth
4. Bell Weatherproof Single Outdoor Electrical Outlet Cover
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- The Hubbell-Bell one-gang metal watertight cover is composed of heavy duty, die-cast building with a durable powder coating finish. It’s a technology using a patented universal match adapter plus a patented fast fit essential hole mount setup that allows you to match different size screws. This cover includes a lockable tab plus a spring hinge closed.
- Flip cover perfect for outdoor electric boxes. Constructed of heavy-duty die-cast alloy with superior powder coat finish for durability. Attributes patented Quick-Fit keyhole mounting system for setup in under a minute. Pre-configured for GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) with innovative Knock-Out technologies for alternative apparatus.
5. Leviton 4976-GY 1-Gang Duplex Device Wallplate Exterior Outlet Cover
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- Leviton’s complete line of Raintight and Weather Resistant Covers are ruggedly built to seal out dust, moisture, insects and debris, while providing simple access to receptacles. Industrial Grade covers are specially made for rugged conditions. Their hardy, gasketed covers mount horizontally or vertically.
- Leviton creates two advanced Raintight While-in-Use Covers: telescoping metal. Designed for patios, decks, porches and related places, they are more than a match for the vagaries of the weather. Even the telescoping cover sports a low-profile when at the contracted position, whereas the metallic cover includes a self-closing lid made from powder-coated cast zinc.
6. TayMac MX3200 Single Gang Vertical Metal Weatherproof Receptacle Cover
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- The TayMac one-gang vertical (8 in 1) metal in-use weatherproof cover in gray MX3200 is constructed from superior commercial grade and die-cast metallic construction together with a superior powder coating.
- A gasket and setup instructions are included on this cover. The patented 8 in 1 universal match and essential mount attribute technology enables installment in under a minute.
What You Need to Do When Waterproofing Outlets
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.
Need help getting your exterior outlets water and weatherproofed? Get in touch with us today!
Electrical outlets waterproof
How to Add an Outdoor Outlet by Tapping Into an Existing Circuit
Determine the Outlet Location
Identify an interior wall outlet in your home that corresponds to an outdoor location where a new outlet will be most useful. The existing outlet box is most likely fastened to a wall stud; the new outlet should be located on the same side of that stud, in the same stud cavity (space between neighboring studs). This prevents you from having to drill through a stud to run the new circuit cable.
Turn off the Power
Shut off the power to the existing receptacle circuit by turning off the appropriate circuit breaker in your home's service panel (breaker box).
Test for Power
Check the outlet with a non-contact voltage tester to confirm that the power is off to the circuit, inserting the tester probe into each of the outlet slots. Remove the outlet's cover plate and check all of the wires and outlet terminals for power, using the tester. The tester should indicate no voltage for everything in the electrical box.
Disconnect the Outlet
Loosen the mounting strap screws on the outlet and pull it out from the electrical box. Disconnect the circuit wires from the receptacle, and remove the receptacle, then bend the wires to the side and out of the way.
Remove the Box Knockout
Remove a knockout from the back of the box to expose the outer wall, if the box is metal. Pop out the knockout with a hammer and screwdriver. If the box is plastic, you should be able to use one of the existing openings in the box.
Drill a Hole to the Outside
Drill a hole through the wall from the interior side to the exterior side, using a drill and a long 1/4-inch-diameter drill bit. You can drill through the knockout hole in the box, if applicable. On the outside of the wall, enlarge the hole, drilling through the siding and sheathing only, using a 3/4-inch bit; this gives you a little more room to work with for the new wiring.
Alternatively, you can drill only a 3/4-inch hole on the outside of the wall (rather than drilling from both sides), aligning the hole with the interior box or locating it very near the box.
Install the Circuit Cable
Cut a length of NM-B cable to extend from one box to the other, plus at least 8 inches beyond both boxes. Feed the cable through the knockout of the indoor box and through the hole in the wall to the outside.
If you don't have a knockout hole, or if the box locations are not aligned, fish the cable through the wall with a metal coat hanger bent into a hook, inserting the hook through the exterior hole to grab the cable from inside the wall cavity.
Secure the cable to the interior box using a push-in cable clamp or the internal clamp in the box, as applicable.
Prepare the Pigtail Wires
Cut a 6-inch length of cable from the cable roll (not the installed cable). Use a cable ripper to remove the outer sheathing from the piece of cable, and separate the three wires. Strip 3/4 inch of insulation from both ends of the black and white insulated wires, using wire strippers. The third wire is the bare copper ground wire. You will use these three wires as pigtails to connect the indoor receptacle to the circuit wires.
Install the Pigtails
Strip away about 6 inches of the outer sheathing on the interior end of the newly installed circuit cable. Strip 3/4 inch of insulation from the black and white insulated wires.
Join the black wire from the new circuit cable to the black wire from the existing circuit cable and the black pigtail wire, using an appropriately sized wire connector (wire nut). Do the same with the three white wires, then the three ground wires. If your box already contained two white wires and two black wires, you will join those with the new wires and the pigtails, too, joining a total of four white wires together and four black wires together.
Note: If you have a metal indoor box, there should be a grounding pigtail already attached to the box (all metal boxes must be grounded). Join this pigtail with the two circuit grounds and the new grounding pigtail, connecting all of them with a single wire connector. If there is no grounding pigtail in the box, cut an additional pigtail from the cable roll and connect it to the box's ground screw and the other ground wires and pigtail.
Reinstall the Indoor Outlet
Wire the indoor outlet by connecting the bare copper ground pigtail to the ground screw terminal on the outlet. Connect the white (neutral) pigtail to one of the silver (neutral) terminals on the outlet. Connect the black (hot) pigtail to one of the brass (hot) terminals on the outlet.
Tuck the wires neatly into the electrical box and secure the outlet to the box with the original screws. Reattach the outlet's cover plate.
Install the Outdoor Box
Remove one of the knockouts on the back of the outdoor electrical box. Feed the new circuit cable through the knockout hole, and secure the cable with a cable clamp. Apply a thick bead of silicone caulk or exterior sealant along the perimeter on the back side of the box. Mount the box to the wall with exterior screws.
Install the GFCI Outlet
Strip away about 6 inches of the outer sheathing from the circuit cable, and strip 3/4 inch of insulation from the black and white insulated wires.
Connect the bare copper ground wire to the green ground screw terminal on the GFCI outlet. Connect the white (neutral) wire to the silver (neutral) terminal marked "LINE" on the outlet. Connect the black (hot) wire to the brass (hot) terminal marked "LINE" on the outlet.
Tuck the wires neatly into the box and secure the outlet to the box using the provided screws. Install the outdoor box cover as directed by the manufacturer.
Note:If the outdoor box is metal, install two grounding pigtails, connecting one to the box and one to the ground screw on the GFCI outlet. Join the pigtails and the circuit ground wire with a wire connector.
Restore Power and Test the Outlets
Turn on the power to the circuit by switching on its breaker. Test both outlets for voltage, using the voltage tester. Also, test the TEST and RESET buttons on the GFCI outlet, as directed by the manufacturer.
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