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What are Weather-Resistant Outlets: Real Estate Quick Tip #114

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Electrical codes change all of the time. When homebuyers, sellers, or home owners are hiring an electrician or buying/selling a house, it can be a good idea to have a general idea of some of the code requirements. In my opinion, the more knowledgable one is, the more aware of dangers and costs one will be.

Rust on an 8-year-old outlet under a patio -- doesn't even get hit by rain.

Rust on an 8-year-old outlet under a patio — doesn’t even get hit by rain.

Background on Terms:

GFCI Outlet:

Picture of a Weather Resistant GFCI

Weather Resistant GFCI

Ground-fault circuit interrupter. These are those outlets with the “reset” buttons common found in kitchens, bathrooms, and even on hairdryers themselves. The purpose of these is to help save lives by cutting power in the event of a ground fault. Having these in your house is a great idea. Personally, I think they should be installed on every circuit, but they are generally only required outsides, in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, laundry areas, and a few other areas.
Ready to replace outlet

Weather-Resistant Outlet:

Simply, they’re more resistant to failure and rust compared to regular outlets.

Some features might include:

  • Stainless steel strap and screws
  • Conformal coated PC board to protect critical components from moisture
  • Cold impact resistant face and buttons
  • UV stabilized plastics
One test of many after install.

One test of many after install.

The Code:

I believe this code changed in 2008, but I will reference the 2014 National Electric Code (NEC):

Caulk the covers. Even if they are not exposed to rain, pressuring washing could soak your outlets if they're not caulked.

Caulk the covers. Even if they are not exposed to rain, pressuring washing could soak your outlets if they’re not caulked.

406.9 (A) & (B) state that all replaced receptacles (outlets) in wet or damp areas (essentially all outside) shall be listed as “weather-resistant” even if they are under a weatherproof cover.

Bottom Line

If you replace outlets or have outlets replaced by a professional, make sure they are:

  • Weather resistant
  • In an appropriate cover (caulked, please!)
  • Tamper resistant
  • And are GFCI protected (by breaker or upstream GFCI outlet)

Most exterior outlets have few if none of these protections.

Caulk.

Caulk.

Buying

Important Note:

I am not an electrician. I am a real estate agent and qualified to advise on real estate. I’m only providing this information based on commonly available knowledge to help provide more base knowledge when speaking with/hiring an electrician.

Post written by Realtor at “Meet Kevin“, the amazing real estate agent and brokerage serving Ventura County, including Camarillo, Ventura, Oxnard, & beyond. Writing for home buyers, sellers, investors, and anyone with an interest in real estate. Kevin thanks you for reading.