Secure your electrical outlet

How (and why) do you secure an outdoor outlet?

Outdoor electrical outlets provide convenient access to the power you need. Typically around your home, one hopes there is no need to secure your outlet against vandals and thieves.

High abuse areas such as homeless shelters and correctional facilities, you would expect facility managers to take a hard look at how to protect the public from vandalized electrical outlets.

With more and more pressure on companies to provide clean energy, we are beginning to see more forms of electrical powered transportation such as Electric Cars, electric bikes and more.

Apartment buildings are now becoming more aware of non-residents using common area electric outlets such as around swimming pools, laundry rooms or gym facilities. This leakage of resources presents added costs, cutting profits and oftentimes creates a hazard to the legitimate tenants of the facility.

So how do you go about protecting outdoor electrical receptacles?

Start with a GFCI Electrical Outlet

First, start with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, or GFCI, outlet. GFCIs are designed to prevent electrocution, an essential part of safety. 

The National Electrical Code requires the use of ground fault circuit interrupter outlets for safety. 

A GFCI will (hopefully) automatically shut off power to the exposed area of the outlet. The problem is that vandalized electrical outlets are unpredictable and may expose damaged wiring, nullifying the protection from electrocution that a GFCI is designed to provide.

The damage done to a vandalized receptacle oftentimes presents a hazard to anyone who may walk by. In and around laundry room facilities, this can include children who are not paying attention to cracks and breaks in the plastic housing when trying to plug in their phone or video games.

Install a Weatherproof Cover

Proper installation of a weatherproof cover is essential to securing an outdoor outlet. The outlet must have a gasket and cover plate that seals properly to prevent water from leaking to the inside of the box where wiring may be compromised. Many people use a single gang weatherproof outdoor electrical box to protect the receptacle from the elements.

In a perfect world, under perfect conditions, the weather proof cover would be enough. 

Weatherproof covers are just plastic

High traffic areas, such as an apartment complex, busy high rise buildings and the grounds surrounding them are often maintained by gardeners and cleaning crews. Damage from power equipment, such as lawn mowers, and general maintenance can go unnoticed until an accident happens. Then it is too late. 

Homeless shelters, correctional facilities, gas stations and other high abuse areas are susceptible to deliberate sabotage as well as accidental breakage. 

Put a LOCK on it

Nothing keeps an honest man honest like a strong lock. The visual of a sturdy shrouded lock gives pause to everybody who walks by with even the slightest mischievous thought. 

Never Assume It’s Safe

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you have ever had a shock from an electrical outlet, you know it can be unpleasant and, well, shocking! If you are reading this, the conditions were such that you survived unharmed. 

Hospital grounds, typically a place where people go to feel safe, or get well, can give you a false sense of security. An accident with a weed trimmer plus a leaking sprinkler is a recipe for disaster. 

It’s Not Just About Vandalism

While Vandal Stop is the premiere manufacturer of tamper resistant electrical boxes, our customers recognize that our outdoor electrical products are built to last for years. 

Durable, long lasting stainless steel construction has a stately, high class look when installed properly.