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Can Those Old Exterior Outlets Handle New Trends in Halloween Decor?

Electrical, Seasonal
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Trending Now – Spooky String Lights, Inflating Ghouls, and Glowing Halloween Trees

As the spooky season closes in, it’s time to figure out a great decorating scheme to share in the neighborhood Halloween festivities. A few spiderwebs, hanging bats, and a scarecrow on the front porch used to cut it. But these days, such modest efforts are dwarfed and outshined (quite literally) by the current trends in frightful home decoration, which are even on par with the most festive and extravagant front-yard Christmas light shows.

But in order to create a fun and frightening Halloween spectacle, one will need power – and lots of it. The outdoor outlets had better be up to the task, between hanging lights, vibrant LED-wrapped trees, and luminous inflatable monsters. Here’s a guide to making sure every outlet is safe, capable, and ready to supply the seasonal magic.

How To Tell When an Outlet Needs Replacing


Modern homes are built to meet the standards of strict electrical codes in order to minimize or eliminate the risk of fire or electric shock. However, the power outlets in some older homes may have not been updated to meet the latest requirements. Even relatively new outlets can become compromised through frequent use or other factors. 

For instance, the metal contacts inside the outlet can be worn down by the plug prongs, leaving a tiny gap between the metal surfaces. The current has to jump across this gap, which is known as arcing. Arcing produces heat, which can damage the outlet and even start a fire. On the less serious side, an old outlet may simply fail to function as a result of normal wear and tear, corrosion, or short-circuiting.

Outlets that do not provide consistent power or only loosely hold a plug should be replaced. If there is evidence of water damage, charring, or melting on or around an outlet, or if it emits smoke or any unusual sounds (such as crackling), the outlet should not be used or touched and needs to be replaced immediately. 

Outlet Types – GFCI vs. AFCI

There are two kinds of outlets found in every home, and which kind is installed in a given circumstance is dictated by the outlet’s location and purpose. AFCI (arc-fault circuit interrupter) outlets are designed to prevent fire hazards by cutting power to the outlet (tripping the breaker) in the event that arcing is detected. This type of outlet is most commonly found indoors, in bedrooms, living rooms, and studies. 

GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets are the ones with the little buttons which read ‘test’ and ‘reset.’ They’re designed to prevent electric shock incidents. They do this by cutting power the instant an uncommon level of ground current is detected. GFCI-protected outlets are required outdoors, in kitchens and bathrooms, and anywhere else water and moisture may be present. Many older homes, however, still have unprotected outlets in their garages and exterior walls.

Is Hiring a Professional Really Necessary?

It’s every homeowner’s responsibility to make sure their outlets are safe, up-to-date, and working properly. But even seemingly basic electrical work is complicated and quite dangerous, and should not be attempted without prior experience and the right safety precautions. 

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Not only can a professional electrician assess a home’s overall electrical system and make sure it meets the latest standards and codes, but they can also recommend the best technology and safely perform any necessary repairs or installations. Leaving electrical work in the hands of a pro also means the family can get to the real monster task – crafting the neighborhood’s finest, most spooktacular tapestry of terror.

About JDV Electric

Locally owned JDV Electric has been providing outstanding electrical services in Lansdowne, PA, for more than 15 years. As a family-owned and operated company, they back all their work with a rock-solid satisfaction guarantee, and they’ve got the awards and service ratings to prove it. They offer transparent upfront pricing, financing plans, and a comprehensive membership program.

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