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Tips For Protecting Your Outdoor Electric Outlets

Having Outdoor electric covers may seem like a no brainer but how many times do you inspect the condition of those covers? If just one cover is damaged or missing, it can leave your home exposed to the elements, which in turn could be a fire hazard. Not only should you have covers for those outlets but the outside outlets need to be GFCI protected outlets.

Remember, electricity travels through the use of a conductor (Water makes a great conductor by the way). Imagine this… you’re watering your plants and you get water all over the outside of your home. Then that water drips into an outlet that has a broken cover. That water could cause a fire and its even possible that the electricity could travel through the water your spraying (If the water is an unbroken stream) and electrocute you as you are spraying the plants.

When your outside outlet’s wiring is exposed it can compromise the function of the GFCI outlet. When the outlet is exposed to the elements, it can cause the breaker to malfunction, leaving the outlet live and exposed to rain, snow, water etc. depending on the elements and the time exposed, the outlet can catch fire.

  • rain
  • snow
  • pesticides
  • power washing liquid
  • sprinklers
  • Hose water

Images: www.hubbell.com

undefinedBubble Cover are Mandatory

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires Bubble Covers for all new construction and replacement outdoor outlets or in all wet locations. There are outdoor covers that are not Bubble covers, so make sure you are following NEC guidelines by using only Bubble Covers. There are a couple types of weatherproof outlet covers. One is only weatherproof when it is not in use. These are a flat cover made in plastic or metal. The Bubble covers protect even when the outlet is in use. So you can see, in the image, the electrical cord is full protected while plugged in.

NEC Articles 406:

Article 406.8(A)

All 15 and 20 amp 120 and 240 volt non-locking receptacles in wet or damp locations must be listed as weather resistant type receptacles.

Article 406(8) (A)

Receptacles installed outdoors must have weatherproof covers that are acceptable for damp location. These are gasket covers that seal the unit from moisture and retard rain and snow.

Article 406 (8) (B) (1)

undefined Outdoor receptacles located in wet locations that are unprotected from rainfall, must have a cover that is weatherproof to protect the receptacle when a cord is plugged into it and when not in use.


We learned what type of elements can cause issues with your outdoor GFCI outlets. We also learned that there are two major types of outdoor electrical covers; the standard flat cover and the bubble cover. The flat cover is no longer to code and according to the NEC, outdoor electrical covers must now be a bubble cover with a gasket that offers protection from the elements while in use. These should be placed anywhere outdoors or in damp locations. Thanks for reading and we hope this helps you keep your outdoor outlets safe from the rain.

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