If you’re a homeowner who’s got plenty of space to relax in their front and back yards, then you’ve undoubtedly also needed electricity outside with you at some point too.
Maybe it’s only been to power a radio and a misting fan on lazy patio days – or, maybe it’s been for something slightly more involved, like powering the skill saw and the MIG welder you needed to build the patio in the first place. Suffice it to say though, if you haven’t needed electricity outside already, there’s an unmistakable likelihood that sooner or later you will.
The problem. however, is if you’re feeding your that need for power by rerouting your indoor electricity, outdoors. If you’re daisy-chaining thinly-shielded indoor extension cords off of seriously overloaded interior sockets – while dangling them out of windows and squishing them under doors, no less – what you’re doing is twice as dangerous as it sounds … and make no mistake, it sounds dangerous enough.
The risks from both fire and electrical hazards are simply too high to be ignored; and a proper solution is, literally, just as simple as flipping a switch.
Premium Power Points
If you haven’t already considered it, then maybe now’s the perfect time to think about arranging to have a waterproof plug point installed on your patio, or anywhere else outside your home where one might be needed.
Let’s be honest: everyone knows the places and the reasons for having permanent plugs outdoors. They’re needed to power electric mowers and trimmers, for fountain and spa connections, for barbeques, for lighting up driveways and holiday decorations, and so much more.
The emphasis, however, has to be on getting that desperately needed electricity where it needs to be, safely; and hiring an appropriately licensed electrician who can do it for you, correctly. For electricians, this means selecting and installing properly rated weatherproof power points that are durable, fade and UV resistant, and designed specifically for use as permanent, outdoor fixtures.
Ideally, homeowners and electricians need to be of the same mind – as well as on the same page – when it comes to selecting the best materials. As a homeowner, there’s nothing wrong with wanting outlets with rubberized buttons and switches, as well as a moderate choice of colours… after all, a premium power point doesn’t have to be an eyesore just because it’s effective. Ultimately though, there are still 3 main power point concerns for both parties:
The whole purpose of an outdoor-rated power point is to resist water, dust and a limitless host of other natural ( … and unnatural) surprises. That’s why electricians and homeowners need to be confident that the plug’s IP rating for intrusion and moisture is sufficient for the type of service they’ll be performing. IP53 is suitable for mounting on any patio, garden or even poolside where the water’s sure to be present. IP54 rated outlets offer an even higher level of assurance as they’re protected from water spray from all directions – making them perfect for full-time pool pump duty.
This is more of a concern for electricians than homeowners. They know that power points are rated at either 10amp or 15amp, and depending on the circuit that’ll be used to connect to a home’s existing wiring, the power point will need to match the correct amperage. A 15amp circuit would inherently use a 15amp breaker and have heavier gauge wiring, which is why a homeowner would want to inform an electrician in advance if they have any unusual or heavy power-drawing items that could be expected to be plugged in outdoors.
Inlets or Outlets
There are times when having a weatherproof inlet is going to be just as beneficial as having an outlet. This would be the case where the fridge, pump or battery charger from a camper or caravan may be plugged into household power. Although draping an errant power cable through a kitchen or garage window may have made sense at one point, having an outdoor power inlet with a weatherproof flap and insulated pins eliminates all the problems of both exposure and accidental electrical contact.
The most important thing to remember when considering outdoor weatherproof power points continues to be safety. For homeowners, avoiding the impulse to take on a risk-prone job alone, or to improvise the kind of hasty quick-fix that can have serious, long-term consequences is paramount.
It means contacting a licensed electrician who’ll not only be qualified to assess the suitability of your existing wiring, but can install the precise number and types of power points you want, in the exact locations you want them.
And naturally, you can also count on them to source any other weather-protected materials they may need to improve, upgrade, or broaden your outdoor power requirements even further. Regardless of whether it’s multi-ganged backboxes to mount multiple outlets together, or waterproof switchgear to isolate your outdoor power completely from your indoor power, they can be counted on to get the equipment that’ll integrate together to make the safest solution possible.
At the end of the day, having reliable power outside your home isn’t an exercise in concocting convenient paths: it’s one of finding safe solutions. Having a waterproof plug point installed is the proper approach to what is genuinely a not-so-difficult problem. And after it’s done, not only will you be impressed with the cleaner appearance, but you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with the safety too. Stretching out on the patio with that misting fan will feel better than it’s ever felt before.