If you love cooking outside but don’t want to be confined to a hot and stuffy kitchen, an outdoor kitchen is a perfect solution. But while this setup might make cooking and eating more enjoyable, it also comes with electrical considerations.
To help outdoor chefs handle these considerations, we’ve put together some of the most important electrical safety tips for outdoor kitchens. Look below to ensure that your setup is safe and in compliance with electrical codes and that your new outdoor kitchen is ready for whatever weather scenarios might occur.
1. Use GFCI-Protected Outlets
Outlets and switches, particularly those located outside, are all potential sources of electrical shock. To prevent potentially fatal accidents, use only GFCI-protected outlets and inspect them to ensure they’re in proper working order. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters will cut power from the circuit if it senses a dangerous imbalance in current between the hot and neutral wires. This prevents electricity from traveling through your body and leading to cardiac arrest or severe burns.
2. Properly Insulate the Wires
When constructing an outdoor kitchen, the contact points between the exterior and interior must be kept in mind. While these outlets help cook outdoors, they also pose a potential for electrical shock, requiring insulation to protect you from shock and fire hazards.
Insulation protects the wire’s material integrity from heat and water and prevents the current from encountering a conductor. This helps protect the wires from damage and prevents corrosion that can lead to short circuits.
3. Know Your Path
An outdoor kitchen requires tapping electricity from your electrical system. To do so, you’ll need to know the proper path. Setting up a new outdoor kitchen might mean reconnecting your electrical system to the main panel. Whether adding outlets and lights or completely rerouting circuits, checking your home’s electrical plan before beginning is essential.
4. Properly Label Your Electrical System
You want all the wiring in your outdoor kitchen to be clearly labeled. That way, if you ever need to repair or upgrade a component, you can pull out the right wire based on its label. Purchase pre-made labels for wire connectors, which helps wires stay organized and minimizes the risk of tripping over a loose wire.
5. Consider Furnishing Your Outdoor Kitchen With Solar Lighting
To add a touch of elegance to your outdoor kitchen, you can choose to illuminate the surrounding space with solar lights. These light fixtures are compact and can be mounted virtually anywhere, which makes them perfect for outdoor kitchens.
During the day, solar lights absorb energy from the sun, which is then stored in a battery that helps power their LED bulbs at night. Solar lights are simple to install with the assistance of step-by-step instructions. You can also decide to illuminate your outdoor kitchen using natural lighting. This is safer as it does not require electricity.
6. Ensure There Are No Naked Wires
Naked wires are exposed wires that could cause shock if they encounter someone. These bare wires are usually found near outlets, switches, or light fixtures that have removed their protective covering. Ensure all your outdoor kitchen’s electrical components have properly insulated wires or cap the ends of exposed wires to ensure these potential shock points remain safe for you and your family.
7. Do Not Exceed the Load Capacity of Your Circuit Breaker
A circuit breaker is designed to prevent a fire from spreading by removing power once it reaches its threshold. If your circuit breaker trips, you have a problem; your circuit is overloaded, or something is wrong with the circuit.
Don’t overload any outlet or switch to avoid this problem. Ensure your electrical system remains safe and reliable. The amount of energy that passes through the wire changes as the resistance changes. The same current will require more energy in a longer wire or less energy in a shorter one.
It’s essential to think about how many people will be using your outdoor kitchen and ensure that it is equipped with enough electrical capacity. Using smaller lights or appliances is safer to ensure you don’t overload your circuit and cause a fire.
8. Do Not Leave Appliances Unattended
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you unplug all electrical appliances, including your outdoor kitchen appliances, when you leave your home. This helps prevent fires, the leading cause of home injuries and deaths in the United States.
If you have a grill or an oven, use a timer to shut it off if you will be gone for extended periods. Timers are easily installed on most equipment and can shut the equipment off after a specific time. This helps protect your equipment from damage from heat and fires.
When cooking outside, many accessories can malfunction. This can cause a fire, which is incredibly dangerous. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that the appliances and accessories you use outside are in working order. Make sure they’re installed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and that they’re properly maintained.
9. Unplug Appliances That Are Not in Use
Just like in your kitchen, if you don’t use an appliance, it’s safer to unplug it than to leave it on. This way, you can avoid malfunctions that may occur during a power surge or a power outage. It also helps prevent a fire from starting.
10. Do Not Use Extension Cords or Power Strips
Extension cords and power strips aren’t built for outdoor use. They have a higher risk of overheating than regular outlets and switches. If you’re going to use an extension cord or power strip, make sure it is rated for outdoor use and has a ground fault circuit interrupter built-in. Also, ensure it’s only for temporary use and is UL rated.
11. Keep Cables Away From Hot Areas
If you have a grill, oven, or other appliance that generates a lot of heat, don’t allow any electrical cables to pass near it. They can overheat and start a fire. Instead, keep them at least 6 inches away.
12. Deal With Damaged Wires Right Away
If you are handling exposed wires, ensure they’re not frayed or damaged. Damaged wires should be replaced immediately to prevent electrocution and fires.
It’s essential to keep your cables safe from being in contact with heat and moisture. Water can seep into the wires, which can cause a fire. Plus, water can also damage or even destroy the cords. If you need to move a cable from an unsafe area, use a conduit.
13. Regularly Inspect Your Electrical System
It’s always a good idea to hire a professional to inspect your electrical system and ensure that it is up to code, labeled, and working properly. This helps prevent fatal accidents when a system is not maintained or inspected. We at Arc Angel Electric will help install and maintain your electrical system. We are in Cumming, GA and serve residents throughout Greater Atlanta.
Following the advice above, you can ensure your outdoor kitchen is stylish and safe. This means you can enjoy many nights of grilling and eat outside without worrying about any electrical malfunctions or safety concerns. We offer electrical installation, indoor lighting, and inspection services. Contact Arc Angel Electric today for more information.