There are times when using an electrical cord outside is a necessity. If you run a pool filter, use cleaning devices or power tools, you’ll need an electrical cord. Be sure to follow these safety tips when using electrical devices outside.
1. Proper Outlet Covers
Start by having the correct covering installed to protect your outside receptacles from the elements. Many older homes only have a hinged cover that covers the outlet itself. The National Electrical Code now mandates bubble or flip-up covers that protect both the receptacle and the cord when it’s plugged in. These covers keep out the elements and protect you from nasty shocks as well.
2. Use the Proper Cord
There’s a difference between electrical cords you use inside your house and cords you use outside. Don’t use inside electrical cords for outside applications. One difference is that cords used inside generally have only two prongs while those for outside use have a three pronged grounded plug. Outside cords are also constructed differently and have a heavier coating around the wires.
3. Overloading Cords
The rule about not overloading indoor extension cords applies to outside cords as well. Plugging too many devices or tools into one receptacle can cause it to overload and could give you an unwelcome shock. Another safe practice is to avoid stringing cords together. It’s safer to buy the length of cord you need.
4. Wet Cords are a No-no
Just because a cord is rated for outdoor use doesn’t mean you can ignore basic rules of electricity. Do not use wet cords; more importantly, don’t leave cords out in the rain or snow. Outdoor cords should be stored inside when not in use.
5. Check Cords Often
Since outdoor cords are generally used for more heavy duty jobs, check them often for breaks in the wire coating or around the plugs. Replace any cords that show signs of wear.
6. Tried and True
When buying any electrical product, check to see if it’s been tested by an independent laboratory and given a passing rating. Underwriter’s Laboratory is a respected and reliable testing laboratory and they test a wide variety of products. Look for their seal of approval.
Whatever your outdoor electrical needs, JM Mullen can help you select the proper equipment and can check the receptacles outside your home to be sure they can accommodate your power needs and that the proper covers are installed. Call today for an inspection.