A DIY Outdoor Electrical Inspection Checklist

As a homeowner, it is extremely important to pay attention to the exterior of your home just as much, if not even more than the interior. Your home’s exterior needs to be capable of handling exposure to the elements, and anything that is permanently installed or left outside could experience significant wear and tear in a short amount of time. This includes outdoor electrical equipment. With outdoor electrical installations becoming more and more common, more and more things could go wrong, creating a potential danger for your home or anyone around it.

While much of your outdoor electrical system will be hidden from view for protection from the elements, there are several things that you can easily and safely check on. This is key, as a flaw in any of these major areas could lead to a potentially serious problem during sever weather or even the next time it rains.

Outdoor Outlet Covers

Outdoor outlets are growing increasingly common, and the number of reasons we might use one is expanding rapidly. In the past, an outdoor outlet might have only been used for something like an electric hedge grooming tool or a line trimmer. Today, outdoor outlets are used for everything from outdoor bars in kitchens to televisions and A/V equipment to decorative lighting used to enjoy spaces at all hours of the day. Any outdoor outlet carries a risk of exposure to water or moisture, and water or moisture could create a dangerous short circuit. For this reason, any outdoor outlet needs to be covered.

However, covers don’t last forever, and modern covers actually provide additional security and protection in all types of weather. Older covers are nothing more than a simple door on a spring that is protected by a rubber or plastic gasket that forms a seal against water. Over time, this seal wears out from the elements, and the cover provides little to no protection. Instead, we strongly recommend replacing any worn-out covers with a modern bubble cover. Bubble covers offer a gasket-free seal against water while also giving you the ability to leave something plugged in during inclement weather. Because bubble covers give you the ability to completely cover an outlet while leaving a standard plug in place and have a safe way of running the cord out of the cover itself, you will always be protected should the rain decide to fall.

Outdoor Wire Conduit

Wire conduit is the name for pipelines that electrical wires are fed through in order to protect them from Mother Nature. Wires are typically shielded by either PVC plastic or silicone, and neither of these substances is particularly good at standing up to abuse from sunlight, changing temperatures, and frequent moisture. Thus, conduit is typically a pipe made from a more weatherproof material that provides a safe route for you to run electrical wiring to where it is needed.

However, conduit itself isn’t invulnerable to damage from the elements, or even an accident as a result of high winds or severe weather. Check any visible conduit for signs of damage or wear, including cracks in conduit line, water dripping from a conduit pipe, and excessive rust, corrosion, or other signs of damage. These could indicate an issue that could be dangerous for your electrical system.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor light fixtures are some of the most popular installations in modern homes. Whether you’re looking to increase security with a motion-activated sensor light or you simply want to be able to enjoy your patio at all hours of the day, there is an outdoor light fixture for just about anything. While these types of lights are build to withstand the rigors of outdoor use, they can wear out and experience problems. Simple problems like burned-out bulbs can make a light useless, while visible damage may be an indication that something more serious is wrong. Take the time to check all of your outdoor lights and give them a good cleaning. You’ll be surprised just how much brighter and more effective your lights can be.

Electric Meters

Electric meters are some of the most often-overlooked components of an electrical system, primarily because many homeowners simply don’t think about them all that often. Because your electric meter is generally maintained by your electric company, you don’t typically have to worry about fixing damage yourself. However, should something go wrong with your meter, you could lose electricity until the issue is fixed. The last thing you want is to lose power for several days until someone can come to you and fix your issue due to damage you could have easily spotted ahead of time.

We recommend taking a quick look at your electric meter every few months or so just to see if you can see any glaringly obvious signs of damage, including discoloration due to heat, signs of burning, or any audible humming or buzzing noises. Should you notice any of these things, notify your electrical provider immediately so they can send someone out to check it as soon as possible.

Keep your outdoor electrical equipment in good condition! Dial (404) 471-3847 now and let the team at Lightning Bug Electric fix your issue, no matter how large or how small it might be.