With the recent advancements in electric lawn equipment, more and more homeowners are adding outdoor outlets for plugging in their eco-friendly weed trimmers, lawn mowers, and other pieces of equipment without batteries. Of course, having a backyard pool means you need to take extra care when adding electrical fixtures like outdoor outlets. When properly installed, an outdoor outlet is safer than running an extension cord indoors because there's no guarantee that the cord or indoor outlet can handle getting wet. Install a few extra sources of power near the pool the safe way by following these guidelines.

Use the Proper Outlet

Even without a pool, only Ground Fault Circuit Interrupting (GFCI) outlets should be installed outdoors due to air humidity and splashing rain. GFCI outlets are sensitive enough to detect the slightest conductivity due to moisture and shut off immediately to prevent arcing that could shock you or start a fire. However, even GFCI outlets must be installed away from the pool for further safety.

Add a Waterproof Electrical Box

In addition to choose a GFCI outlet receptacle, you should pick up a mounting box designed for outdoor use. These metal cases feature waterproof gaskets so they seal tightly to the wall or post to protect the wiring that links the outlet to the rest of the home's wiring. For the best protection, look for a case with a flip-top cover to keep the outlets enclosed when they're not in use.

Give It Plenty of Space

Don't plan to install that outdoor outlet right next to your pool's edge so you can plug in your radio while you splash around. Depending on the layout of your property, the National Electrical Code specifies that 10 feet is the bare minimum of space required between the water and the outlet. Parts of the code recommend 20 feet instead, but this isn't a hard and fast requirement. In the rare case that there's absolutely no room left on the property that isn't your home or the pool, you can squeeze the space down to 5 feet instead. However, your local safety and building codes may specify further distances for greater safety.

Protect the Buried Line

Finally, don't forget about protecting the buried electrical line if you're mounting the outdoor outlet on a post or wall away from the home, like the side of a shed with no electricity connection of its own. These buried lines are easily damaged when you're digging to plant a tree or add a flower bed, so add some subtle markers to remind yourself of the location of buried hazards.

For more information, contact SDS Electric or a similar company.

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