It’s pretty common knowledge that water and electricity don’t mix. But what if we told you that something often neglected around your house could put you at risk for mixing the two? You’ll want to be sure to take this very simple electrical safety precaution to keep your home and family safe.
Most every home, whether you live in a single-family house or a multiunit apartment complex has outdoor electrical outlets. They’re super handy for those DIY home improvements or for setting up an outdoor TV on a gorgeous summer night. And while these are required to be GFCI outlets, the plate over the outlet plays a much larger role in its function than you might think.
When you walk around an older property, it’s not uncommon for you to see several outdoor electrical outlets with broken covers. Some may even be missing the covers altogether. While most chalk that up to an unfortunate cosmetic issue; a broken outlet cover is a major electrical safety hazard.
What is a GFCI outlet, and how does it work?
(Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)
You won’t just find these outlets outside, you probably have some in your kitchen and bathrooms, too. The difference is these outlets have a couple of buttons on them. You’ve probably noticed them before. They’re typically red and black, though they can be the same color as the outlet and cover. One button says test, while the other says reset.
Have you ever gone to plug in your hair dryer or your electric razor only to find that the outlet doesn’t work? That means it’s been tripped, and in order to get on with your morning, you have to press reset.
Basically, a GFCI outlet is designed to trip the breaker when it’s exposed to the elements (specifically liquid of any kind). This cuts the power to the outlet and prevents fires and/or electrocution.
Why a broken or missing outdoor outlet cover is an electrical safety hazard:
The outlet’s internal wiring is exposed when the cover is damaged or missing. This compromises the function of the GFCI outlet. When the exposed outlet comes in contact with the elements, it may not trip the breaker properly which means the outlet stays live.
When that happens, depending on the voltage and/or the depth of the liquid, the outlet can start to smoke and eventually start a fire.
Things an outdoor outlet could be exposed to:
- power washing detergent
- car fluid
- the list goes on!
It’s important to note that electricity travels through a conductor. Imagine you’re watering your plants and some of the water gets into an exposed outlet. The electricity could travel through the water, through the hose, and into your body effectively electrocuting you.
The same risk is true for someone power washing your home.
We are a firefighter owned and operated power washing company. Please help us help you keep your home and family safe. Repair and replace broken or missing outdoor electrical outlet covers.