Are you overlooking outdoor electrical safety in your rush to check holiday lighting projects off your list? Unlike the controlled indoor environment of your home, outdoor outlets and wiring undergo a lot of stress, from power hungry lawn equipment to weather extremes that indoor outlets do not. Despite these major differences in use and abuse, many homeowners treat them as one and the same, leading to unnecessary safety dangers. With the holiday season rapidly approaching and outdoor outlets and wiring being integral to holiday lighting and décor, we’ve got the safety tips you need to keep your home and family safe.
Outdoor Lighting & Outlet Safety Basics:
- Use the Right Outlet
Weather resistant (WR) receptacles offer protection from humidity, rain, ice, and snow when properly installed in approved weather protective covers. Required by National Electrical Code for outdoor outlets, operating only WR GFCI receptacles outdoors protects your family against shock in the moisture-prone outdoor environment. Enhanced with corrosion resistant components, they offer safety and longevity indoor receptacles are no match for.
- Update Outlets that Aren’t Up to Par
If your home is older, or its previous inhabitants didn’t install outdoor GFCI outlets, remedy the situation ASAP for safety.
- Don’t Use Indoor Extension Cords Outdoors
Like WR receptacles, they are no match for the outdoor environment, and in many cases, are not rated to meet the capacity of lawn tools, power tools, and gluttonous holiday lighting and outdoor décor needs.
- Watch for Potential Problems
Clear tangles from wires and extension cords, check for nicks and cuts, and be careful running wires around trees and walkways, avoiding areas where wires could become damaged.
- Avoid Wet Areas
Not just obvious ones like pools and ponds, but areas in your yard that are prone to flooding.
- Don’t Overload Outlets or Extension Cords
Adding an additional outlet or picking up a higher-capacity cord costs far less in money and heartache than a post-fire homeowner’s insurance deductible.
- Keep Outlets Clear
Use/install outlet covers, and keep outlet areas clean of grass clippings, spider webs and debris.
- Stay Aware of Components
Remain aware of outlets in your yard, particularly when weed eating and mowing.
- Avoid Outdoor Electrical Use During Storms
Just as you exit the pool in the event of a storm, so should you stop outdoor activities requiring electric devices in the event of a storm.
- Avoid Wasting Energy
Running outdoor lighting and holiday lights day and night can quickly raise your energy bill, wasting the earth’s precious resources. Luckily, you can keep the earth safe and green while keeping more lighting dollars in your pocket with LED lighting technology. LED bulbs put nearly all energy burned to use for light, using 75-85% less energy than old incandescents, and lasting 10 times longer, reducing replacement bulb annoyances.
- Take Advantage of Tech
Outdoor smart outlets allow for the easy programming and operation of holiday and outdoor lighting, with options ranging from remote control smart lighting, to smart device driven, and even voice operable programming via home automation devices including Alexa and Siri. Set on a timer, or modify on-demand for the safe, convenient, and energy-efficient operation of porch, landscape, and hard-to-reach holiday lighting. Like WR receptacles, outdoor-rated models are weather and impact-resistant, and safe to leave outdoors.
Avoid potentially hair raising mishaps this holiday season. Make sure your outdoor outlets and wiring are up to the task. Contact Mr. Electric today.
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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.