What To Know About Getting An Outdoor Outlet And Using It Safely

If you have an older home, there may not be electrical outlets outdoors. If you do have them, they may be old and potentially unsafe. When you don't have handy outlets outside, you need to string extension cords from the inside to power such things as an electric grill, electric weed trimmer, landscape lights, and holiday decorations. An electrician can update your old outlets or install new ones so you always have a safe power source available outdoors. Here are a few things to know about getting a new outdoor outlet and how to use it safely.

Outlets Should Be Grounded And GFCI Protected

Outdoor outlets are more dangerous to use since they are exposed to the outdoor elements. For that reason, you should only use outlets that are grounded and that have GFCI protection. If your home is older, your electrical outlets may not have these safety features, and that increases your risk of electrical shock. GFCI outlets have an automatic power interrupter built into them. They are required by modern electrical codes in wet rooms and outdoors where there is a higher risk of water contact and electrical shock. In addition, outdoor outlets should have covers to keep rain out and further protect them from water exposure.

Consider Multiple Outlets To Avoid Extension Cords

If you use a corded weed trimmer or electric corded mower, it's more convenient and safer to have outlets on each side of the house rather than using long extension cords. Plus, it is safer to directly plug in an electric grill and power tools than it is to connect them to extension cords. If you use electricity outdoors frequently, then be sure you have ample outlets so you can prevent overloading and hazards associated with extension cords.

Use Outdoor Outlets Safely

Use precautions when working with an outdoor outlet. Make sure you're dry before plugging things into the socket or handling equipment that is plugged in. For example, don't use an electric grill as soon as you climb out of a swimming pool and still damp. Don't use the outlet when there is a chance of rain. Be aware of the risk associated with dampness and even humidity on electrical sparking. Also, make sure your lawn sprinklers don't hit the outlet constantly, even when it's covered and take care not to spray it with a hose when watering your plants. If you don't use your outlet often, you might forget it's there when you're working and playing in the yard. If you encounter sparks or charring of the outlet, be sure to call an electrician to check it before using it again.

Having outdoor outlets increases your enjoyment of outdoor living on your deck or patio. They are also handy if you rely on electric lawn equipment and use power tools often. If you have an outlet now, an electrician will make sure it's safe for you to use. If you don't have one, think about getting one installed by a qualified professional like RDS Electric. You'll wonder how you ever got along without it.