How to Dry Out an Outdoor Outlet Safely and Quickly?

Outdoor electrical outlets are quite beneficial since they allow us to easily plug in electrical devices in backyards. However, if you install an outdoor outlet, it may get affected by water.

Especially, rainwater or snow can get into an outdoor electrical outlet; damage the wiring and even cause a short circuit.

If you’ve discovered an outdoor outlet that has been wet and needs to be dried out- read this article to learn how to dry out an outdoor outlet safely so that you can use it again!

Note: Try the following fix only if your outlet doesn’t look too wet. If it is excessively moist or has already been damaged due to a short circuit, replacing the entire outlet would be ideal.

How Can You Dry Out Your Wet Outdoor Electrical Outlet?

As soon as you have ensured that your outdoor electrical outlet isn’t too wet, grab a battery-powered hair dryer and follow these steps to allow the hair dryer to absorb excess moisture:

  1. First, turn off all power at your circuit breaker. 
  2. Then remove any cords plugged into that outlet. You can also unplug any other outlets on that circuit just in case some liquid made its way through your switch. 
  3. Get your battery-powered hair dryer ready. Ensure it is in a high-heat setting specifically for drying out water before plugging it in.
  4. Start and hold the hair dryer about 6 inches away from each prong of your electrical outlet
  5. Keep it there until you see steam coming from each prong—this will ensure that no moisture is left behind when you finish up. 
  6. Now, continue this process for a while and let everything cool down completely before turning back on your power and plugging anything back in again! 

Once everything has cooled down and feels dry, try plugging something like a lamp into that outlet to test it out. It might still feel warm, but if it works without incident, then great! Your job is done!

Now let’s have a quick look at some important aspects of drying out a wet outdoor electrical outlet.

How Long Does It Take for an Outlet to Dry? 

Actually, the time depends on how big and how wet your outlet is. If you’re using a hair dryer, this should take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. To speed things up, you can use a dehumidifier to draw out more moisture while you wait.

But after using a hair dryer, you should leave the outlet, as it is for another 24 hours (overnight) to make it completely dry. Because, if you try to power up your outlet before it’s completely dry, you could start a fire or shock yourself.

Yes, you’re drying out electric wires that still might carry a charge, so the most important thing is to have patience, wait at least 24 hours.

Is There Any Way to Prevent Water from Entering Outdoor Outlets?

Luckily, you can implement specific actions to safeguard you and your family members from the risks associated with wet outdoor outlets. Explore how you can prevent entering water into your outdoor outlet:

Always Install the Appropriate Outlets:

You may have asked yourself, can a wet electrical outlet cause a fire? Yes, a wet electrical outlet can cause a short circuit and fire. So, installing the right kind of outlet can save you from any unwanted problems.

Currently, the National Electrical Code requires that you install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets.

GFCI outlets are special because they shut down immediately when they identify a grounding or short circuit issue. Some GFCI outlets may cut off power in as short as taking only 25 milliseconds. They can also prohibit electrical fires from igniting.

However, these outlets need to be properly installed with sufficient grounding, you must ensure appropriate mounting brackets on the exterior as well. Well, if you haven’t been trained properly to conduct this setup, it’s advisable to hire an electrician.

Ensure a Bubble Cover for Your Outdoor Outlet

Installing GFCI outdoor outlets is essential, but your duty for safety precautions does not finish there. The US National Electrical Code (NEC) also requires all new outdoor outlets must have bubble-type coverings that keep the outlet waterproof even when it is raining.

Even a GFCI outdoor outlet can get damp without a cover, so make sure you cover your outdoor electrical outlet with a bubble type cover.

Indeed, when it comes to weather and electricity, you shouldn’t ever presume everything here is safe. So, examine your exterior outlets to ensure you get the necessary protection. Only implementing the necessary safety measures might let you stay relaxed once the rain begins to pour.

Conclusion

As a homeowner, you should always check your outdoor electrical outlet after a rain or snowfall, because a wet outlet can cause an unwanted electrical disaster. Throughout this discussion, I’ve tried to explain how you can dry out your wet outdoor outlet and how you can prevent water from getting inside. 

Hopefully, this information will be helpful to you in safely using your outdoor outlet and enjoying your outdoor activities.

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