Thanks to advancements in technology, using electricity outdoors is now safer and easier than ever before. This opens up a whole world of creative outdoor lighting, unique devices like fountains and water features, and so much more. However, using electricity outdoors still isn’t without risk, and it’s important to make sure that you minimize this risk to avoid injury or the possibility of a fire.
If you want to make your outdoor electrical systems safer and more reliable, here are some valuable tips from skilled Ontario electricians that you can follow easily and with minimal investment, but can greatly encourage better electrical safety and functionality.
Never Use Extension Cords as Permanent Solutions
Extension cords enable us to use electricity nearly anywhere, but they are not designed as a permanent solution, and should never be seen as such. In fact, extension cords should always be taken down and put away shortly after being used in order to prevent them from becoming damaged. Over time, exposure to the elements could cause the rubber or plastic shielding around your extension cord to wear out, become brittle, and crack, exposing the current-carrying wires on the inside to the world. Even the slightest touch could cause a short that sparks a fire or results in serious injury.
Instead, having an electrician install a sealed conduit and proper electrical receptacles or outlets where they need to be run is the safest and most dependable option. Not only do these components last far longer in the elements, they’re less prone to accidentally exposing you to shock-inducing current. The safety and dependability is well worth the extra cost for the installation.
And likewise it should also go without saying: never use an extension cord outdoors that isn’t rated for outdoor usage.
Make Sure Lights Are Rated for Outdoor Use
There are millions of different types of light fixtures available on the market these days, and it should come as no surprise that not all lights are made equal. We understand that your outdoor space is becoming as popular of a place to decorate and truly personalize as the rest of your home, but that’s no reason to try to use an indoor-rated light fixture in an outdoor area. Indoor light fixtures simply aren’t sealed or protected against the elements, which means water can easily get into potentially dangerous spots like electrical connections.
When shopping for light fixtures, make sure that any light fixture you select is rated for outdoor use and certified through UL listing or any other reliable agency. This ensures that your light fixture will not only last longer when used in an outdoor space, but also be safer and less prone to failing. This should be true for both lights that will sustain direct rainfall exposure and those which may be under something like a covered patio or awning.
Protect All Outlets
If you want to avoid a potential electrical disaster, you need to make sure any outdoor outlets are protected. Start by making sure the outlets themselves are either a GFCI-equipped receptacle or are on the same circuit as a GFCI. GFCI outlets are designed to shut off if they detect too much current loss between the power supply and the return, thus protecting you in the event of a short. You should periodically test all of these outlets to ensure that your GFCI continues to work, as they can wear out over time and lose their ability to protect you.
Second, you should always cover every outdoor outlet with an approved bubble cover in order to keep rain and other moisture away from it. These covers generally run just a few dollars at your local hardware store and are pretty easy to install. However, they are specifically designed to create a seal that keeps water away from the outlet. Do this for any outdoor outlet, including those which are covered.
Let us service your outdoor electrical needs! Contact All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air and Electrical at (909) 253-0664 to request your appointment.