Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weatherproof socket outlets

I have attached below a few photos of metal-clad electrical outlets that have been mentioned in the original article, Socket outlets and switch installations. A brief explanation is given below for beginners in electrical installation works.

Photo 1 – A weatherproof electrical outlet


In case some readers are confused about the lengthy basics of electrical engineering that are given in this blog, please be reminded that this blog is intended for beginners.

Beginners do not necessarily mean students and young people, but the “beginners” category also include people like managers, architects, quantity surveyors, contractors who have just jumped into the area of building works from other industries, construction managers, etc.

This blog is for them. In fact I never even intended it for youngsters and teenagers. Even some university students may find some of the post and articles here either too advanced or too heavy for them.

I mean no offense, but if you can handle them all then be my guest. If not, then just stick to the lighter ones.

This post is an “extra light” one. When I send a short post just to load in some photos to complement a “heavy post” such as electrical specifications, then it will be a “light” post suitable for everyone.

That’s because photos can be easily understood by almost anyone.

Now let us get back to the electrical socket, shall we?

When we install socket outlets or electrical switches, it is always better to install them indoors.

Water and electricity don’t mix. If we install the power outlet outside, it can be exposed to sun and rain.

The sun is not so bad, but it will quickly deteriorate the casing or the enclosure of the socket outlet unit.

The rain is another matter. Water seepage from outside into an electrical fitting can get in contact with the live parts inside the unit.

This present a serious shock risk to persons or even animals and pets who happen to come nearby.

Life however is not always simple. At times we really do need to install a few electrical outlets outside.

When you have to do this then the power sockets must be of a weatherproof type.

What is “weatherproof”?

Electric voltage inside an electrical fittings, equipment and appliance is very dangerous. It can easily kill people.

Everyone knows that. However, when it is installed at a location where there is a possibility of water seepage into the enclosure, then the equipment become extremely dangerous.

That is why when we say weatherproof, the design, manufacture and installation must comply with a certain criteria and quality standard.

The category of degree of waterproofing is graded by what is called IP rating.

Photo 2 – Weatherproof outlet IP rating


The 13A power socket here is rated as IP 66. The letter IP stands for Ingress Protection. I think that was how it came to be.

The first number after IP is the grade of protection against ingress is dust and solid objects into the enclosure.

The second number shows the class of protection against harmful ingress of water. The number “6” in this case means that the outdoor socket unit has been designed and manufactured to withstand against water jets to the unit from any angle.

This is important because outside of a building, there is always a possibility of the fittings and equipment being exposed to strong cleaning water in the form of a water jets. A strong rain storm also behaves like water jets to these electrical fittings.

Photo 3 – Another type




Photo 4 – The waterproof cover is open


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