Spring is right around the corner and it’s time to start preparing your outdoor spaces for the warmer months ahead. While you are putting together your outdoor clean-up “to do” list, don’t forget to add an important item: the outdoor outlet check! By using the following steps as a guide to inspect your outdoor outlets, you can help ensure they are shielded from the elements and providing the PROPER protection to you and your family.
#1 – Proper Outlet Type
Inspect the current outlet to ensure it meets local building and electrical codes. The outlet should be an outdoor rated GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). GFCIs are designed to help protect people from potential hazards of electrical shock by detecting any leaks in current and shutting off power. The outlet should also be rated for outdoor use. An easy way to tell is by looking on the face of the outlet for the letters “WR”, which stands for weather-resistant. If your outlet is not a weather-resistant GFCI, it should be changed to ensure the best possible protection is being provided. The only exception would be an indoor GFCI outlet feeding through protection to a standard weather-resistant outlet outside the home.
#2 – Properly Functioning
Next, inspect the outlet to see if it looks worn or corroded. If it does, it is time to install a new one. If the GFCI outlet looks ok, test it to make sure it is working properly. The easiest way to do this is to plug something like a lamp or a radio into the outlet and press the “TEST” button. The radio or lamp should turn off. Press the “RESET” button and the lamp or radio should turn on. If all checks out ok, just ensure that the outlet is not loose and the screws are tightened down.
#3 – Properly Covered
The final step is to make sure that each outlet has a weather resistant cover to protect it from the elements. These covers are designed to allow a plug to be inserted while continuing to protect the outlet. This makes them perfect for use with lawn equipment, pools, hot tubs, holiday and landscape lighting, fountains and many other outdoor electrical needs you may have. Leviton offers a full line of weather resistant covers including our NEW Extra Duty While In-Use Covers that are ruggedly constructed from durable, UV resistant thermoplastic to protect outdoor outlets from rain, snow and temperature extremes.
So whether you are plugging in holiday lighting in the winter or lawn equipment in the summer, you will be confident in knowing your outdoor outlets are functioning and protected to help keep you and your family safer year round.