You have a tremendous opportunity to save money today by inspecting and weatherproofing your exterior electrical outlets. Over time the weatherproofing on the outlets begins to fail. They also start to not look to attractive. If you open up the covers, you will most likely see something that could be rather dangerous. We will cover these two aspects (weatherproofing and how to save on your monthly electric bill).
Weatherproofing Electrical Outlets
There are many types of electrical outlet covers that have been used throughout the years. Primarily (from the 50’s) you would have seen a metal type of cover. They were made out of aluminum or and steel with a painted surface in many cases. As we got into the 1980’s you would have seen plastic covers, with foam to seal the cover to the wall. We have had both types in our house. Here are two pictures below with a link for simplicity sake to Amazon.
I like the Bell covers and it is what we used in our project. They are sturdy, Price is decent and the foam seals were perfect for the job (protecting the new outlets and keeping bugs out!).
Weatherproofing and Electrical Outlets
There are two types of electrical outlets that you will find in your home. The traditional two outlet types that are inside of your house and then the GFCI type.
GFCI outlets (short for ground fault circuit interrupter) have reset buttons on them, as well as a light that indicates whether the outlet is working. We have these and are found in bathrooms and kitchens. Please make sure to get the proper cover for your electrical outlets as the covers above won’t work with GFCI outlets. You would need something like the items below.
Now that we have the basics out of the way – we have what is needed in our house and how to SAVE Money. We only have one outlet that has a GFCI outlet. The other outlets are the standard type and require the waterproof seal on them. However, I would be lying to say that the seals have been good over time. All of the outlets have dirt, water intrusion and were starting to short out. I had two outlets that look like they had either sever RUST on them and one that looked like it caught on fire at some point! Not something you want to play around with. You need to take care of these situations quickly.
By the way: replacing a cover is a simple job you can easily do yourself. You don’t need a degree or higher education to do this. You have it – it is not hard and you don’t need to spend money for a electrician.
DIY Steps to replace an Weatherproof Electrical Cover
How to Weatherproof Exterior outlets
Total Time: 10 minutes
Remove the Old Electrical Outlet Cover
Grab your trusty screw driver and start to loosen the electrical cover. IF the screw is highly worn and or rusty you might need to spray lightly WD40 to loosen the screw. IF you need to spray with WD40, take caution and turn off power to the outlet.
Clean the Outlet As Much as possible
If your seal has failed (most likely it has) make sure to clean it out as much as possible. You can use a blower or a vacuum to remove the debris from the outlet. I have found (which is covered in a future post) that you may need to replace the outlet.
Install The Weatherproof Cover
As you install the cover you should see that the seal is secured all the way around the opening. You could / may need against siding to add a small bead of caulking. however use it sparingly and only enough to cover any gaps.
YOU CAN Save Money By Replacing Weatherproof Electrical outlet Covers
You may say to me, so where is the savings? I just spent $40 dollars replacing my covers. There are a couple of factors to consider. When you have contaminants inside of the cover as I showed you above, the material can be connected to your outlet connections. This in turn can draw power. Also with any type of corrosion if you have something plugged into an outlet that is corroded it takes more energy to get to your device you are powering. I saw on my electric usage that I monitor a drop in total average voltage that I used. I did not think it would be possible or real, but as I investigated over time the amount of default energy usage actually went down. In times such as these, every little bit helps. Plus you are protecting and sealing your property.
We hope this tip helps you and many other like it located on our site. We replaced many covers around our property (5) and sealed them up for flawless service in the future.
Until next time!