Outdoor Outlet Covers: Why the Bubble Cover is Mandatory
The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires for new construction and replacement outdoor outlet covers to be of the bubble cover type in all wet locations (being weatherproof while outlet is in use). If you aren’t a licensed electrician, some of you may be scratching your heads. What is he talking about? Why should I be so concerned about the NEC and their code for in-use bubble covers for wet locations? Let me show you, as well as tell you what I mean.
Look at the picture above. I recently got a phone call the other day from a customer who said he lost power in his kitchen and dining room area. He went to plug something into one of the indoor outlets in the kitchen, and BAM! Out went the lights. So I went over to this man’s house, did a little troubleshooting, and found the culprit; AN OUTDOOR OUTLET, the one pictured above. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this GFCI outlet after taking it out of the wall. The GFCI obviously caught fire from the water getting into the wiring, and blew out the entire circuit that controlled the kitchen and dining areas, as well as an area with a few exterior lighting. Even though this customer did have a “weatherproof” outlet cover on this now-damaged outlet, he definitely had the wrong type. These are the kind of outdoor outlet covers this man had all over the exterior of his home (wet locations):
There are two different types of weatherproof outdoor outlet covers. The cover that this customer was using is in fact weatherproof, but NOT WHEN THE OUTLET IS IN USE. You can see in the picture that this outlet cover is an open flap, which isn’t protecting the outlet from water. This is a major problem because when the outlet is in use with this type of outdoor outlet cover, water can still get in. And then you have the mess that you see in the first photo of a burnt outlet and the story above with a blown fuse or circuit breaker.
The Infamous Bubble Cover
Enter, the bubble cover. This is where the solution lies! These weatherproof outdoor outlet covers work when the outlet is not in use, AND WHEN THE OUTLET IS IN USE! The bubble cover comes down right over the outlet as you can see pictured below, even when a cord is plugged in. This ensures no water damage, no outlets catching on fire, and last but not least, no blown fuses or circuit breakers.
Don’t wait until an electrical hazard occurs in your home. If you still have the old outdoor outlet covers with the flaps, I suggest replacing them with the bubble covers for preventative measures, even in “damp” locations where the outlet is partial to some moisture (like under your roof-covered porch). A licensed electrician at KB Electric LLC can replace them for you at an affordable price, with precision and care. Trust me, I would know.