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Tennessee’s coldest months run from December to March, with January being the coldest most years. During these months, having your outdoor outlets winterized can help prevent damage to your home.

If you’re looking for generator installation services, having an outdoor space for your generator is crucial. But how can you ensure your outlets are available for use as you install a generator?

Whether you’re using a generator installation company or need to winterize your outlets, we’re here to help. Read on to learn more about winterization and how to keep your outlets safe.

Why Winterize?

To start, why bother? Outlets aren’t “specialty” equipment and shouldn’t need care that changes over the seasons.

Outlets are crucial parts of your home regardless of whether they’re indoors or outdoors. Damaged outlets can also present safety issues or fire threats.

Winterizing is the act of preparing something for winter. Winterized tires, for example, handle freezing temperatures and snow better than other tires. For outlets, the process mostly involves keeping them safe from the elements.

Avoid Damage

The first reason to winterize is to avoid damage. Outdoor outlets are always vulnerable to the elements no matter what the season. However, they’re normally easier to keep safe, as their main threat is water.

With freezing temperatures, condensation can form on the metal parts of outlets. If it’s been snowing or sleeting, the outlet can freeze over. When the ice melts, it fills the outlet with water, often ruining it.

Avoid Failure

If an outlet is damaged, you can often spot this with your naked eye. The outlet will crack during freezing in some situations, or the outlet may come loose. However, not all damage is visible.

You may find that the outlet no longer functions when you try to use it. In this case, the extreme weather may have caused the outlet to fail.

Safety Precautions

Outlets seem simple, but they’re complex feats of engineering. When outlets are damaged or fail, they’re more likely to pose a threat to safety. Studies show that about 5,300 property fires a year are caused by failing outlets, resulting in an average of 40 deaths.

Outlets most often cause fires when overloaded by too much electricity. Faulty wiring or ungrounded outlets are also common causes.

Winter weather can cause the wiring in your outlet to fail, leading to a fire risk. Protecting your outlets through winterization can protect your home as a whole.

Tips for Winter-Proofing Your Outdoor Outlets

Now that we better understand winterization, how can you winter-proof your outdoor outlets? Here are the best ways to practice winterization.

Outlet Covers

The best way to protect your outlets is with outlet covers. As the name suggests, these are covers that protect your outlets from the outdoors.

Outlet covers are not strictly for winterization. Most outdoor outlets have covers on them to keep rain, water, and dirt away. They’re also effective at keeping out small wildlife, but rarely can they defend against ants or termites.

Outlet covers come in many forms. Some are waterproof and focus only on keeping water out. Others fit into the plug but don’t cover the whole outlet.

For winterizing, you should find weatherproof outlets. These have watertight seals around the plate and are resistant to freezing. These outlet covers are ideal for winterization.

However, you may find that your outlet is in use, which makes outlet covers more difficult. There are special outdoor outlet covers for this, called “while-in-use covers.”

While in use, covers use a plastic lid that folds over the cords. They help to keep out rain or snow while the outlet is serving its purpose. If you intend to use your outlet through the winter for generator purposes, we recommend these covers.

Keep Snow Away

While outlet covers will help to keep snow away, they don’t always have a flawless performance. You shouldn’t let snow and ice pile up around your outlet.

Take the time to clear snow and ice away during harsh weather. For extra protection, you can take precautions to keep snow from gathering around the outlet. Doing so will help your outlet covers perform well.

Avoid Storing Liquids Near Outlets

Another great way to keep hazards away from your outlets is not to store liquids near them. If you’re storing jugs of water outside, these are the most dangerous.

As water freezes, the ice can expand and break the container. Once the container builds enough pressure, the liquid can burst over your outlet. From there, it can freeze and damage the outlet.

Check Outlets Before Use

Regardless of your winterization efforts, you should always check your outlets before use. Water can seep in and freeze where you can’t see it, causing damage when you attempt to plug something in. Doing so can also damage your other equipment.

Checking your outlets is best done visually. Shine a flashlight into the outlet to see if there’s any buildup of ice or snow. 

However, you should never try to retrieve anything from an outlet without professional help. Outlets can pose a life-threatening danger if handled incorrectly.

Finding Generator Installation Services

One of the best ways to ensure your outlets are properly protected is by finding reputable generator installation services. Many Goodlettsville generator installation companies will service your outlets for you.

Trusting a professional electrician makes sure that your outlets will stay safe. You can also trust them to inspect your outlets beforehand to make sure there’s no damage. That way, you know if an outlet needs repair before you work toward winterization.

If winterization is as simple as adding a cover, this is often something you can do alone. We still recommend letting a professional handle any task you aren’t fully comfortable with.

Mastering Your Outdoor Outlets

At Lanham Mechanical Contractors, we’re a family-owned and operated HVAC company that’s been serving Nashville for more than three decades. Our focus is on providing top-quality services to our customers with our focus on customer service.

To learn more about how we can help you with winterization, contact us at LMC. We’re happy to offer 24/7 emergency services, free estimates, and more benefits to you.

(615) 880-8879