Timeguard’s I.P. solutions for safe outdoor power
Demand for outdoor power sockets is increasing both in the workplace and at home as we adopt more of an outdoor lifestyle. Adrian Lay, technical director or Timeguard, the company behind the successful Weathersafe and Powerseal ranges explains how his company is meeting that demand
You can offer much more than a switch on a wall these days. So do make sure you understand the options and can offer your customers a comprehensive choice. Single or Twin gang switched sockets? Built-in RCD protection with Electrically latching and Mechanically latching switched RCD sockets for safety? Built-in time switches? Fused spur connection units? RCD fused spur connection units? The applications are endless and need a wide range of outdoor power units to meet them which Timeguard’s Weathersafe and Powerseal ranges can fulfil.
You are increasingly likely to find yourself faced with catering for multiple uses of outdoor power and our WP401 Multi-Connector box is designed and priced for home use that will accept four appliance plugs and even allow space for transformers and timers for the fairy lights! For good measure, a 4-gang trailing socket is included inside the box.
Professional levels of toughness and durability
Your customers will want to make sure that any device installed outdoors is physically up to the job – it is going to get roughly treated, knocked by passing machines, bumped by mowers and the like. Tough moulded housings give good long-term protection. Additionally, they will need to be sure that the seals are durable and will give years of good service and Timeguard have patented their own unique neoprene seal design.
Safety & security
Safety is always the bottom line with any electrical installation, especially when electricians are installing an outlet where pretty much anyone can get to it. Socket outlet covers that can be padlocked help but just as important can be automatic mains isolation. Many of the Weathersafe sockets feature a unique lever that switches off the mains before the socket cover can be opened – a simple idea but one that few installers will ignore when specifying sockets for use in public places or where there are likely to be young infants playing.
Electricity doesn’t come cheap and external power outlets are potentially available to anyone to use or tamper with. You could do well to stick to models like ours that offer a locking boss to take a simple padlock.
Design for easy installation and safe use
Look for lots of knock outs, and replaceable ones are an advantage in case you or the customer (who is always right) change your mind about the location. The Weathersafe range feature this as standard. A drain knock out is an essential extra for an outside installation.
Lid covers should have a positive latching to keep children safe and at bay, and maintain the required I.P protection for years to come. For switches, it is important to select a switch that offers solid rockers. Not only are they quick and easy to use and tell if the switch is On or Off, but can save the worry of switches possibly letting in water through older warn translucent covers.
Know your IP ratings
IP stands for Ingress Protection, then the first number indicates the protection against solid objects, the second number shows the level of protection against liquids and, in our damp and wintry climate, it is probably this number that matters most when choosing outdoor sockets and controls. (Just for the record: an IP66 device will be totally protected against dust ingress and water ingress).
Moving on to the second number, protection against liquid ingress, an IP55 device will protect against water jets projected from a nozzle in any direction. IP54 is protected against splashing water. IP66 protection means the device is rated for heavy seas and powerful jets of water. So IP54 might be fine for a wall switch or bell push, but you’d probably not want anything less than IP55 for a socket outlet. Areas where pressure hoses are likely to be used would call for full IP66 rating, but for a socket to be used for a lawn mower or other garden appliances which may just get splashed by rain or the hose, then a more basic IP55 model will suffice.
It is also important when choosing a product to consider the type of use that the customer will put it to. Some are designed to have a good IP rating when the lid is closed but the IP rating is lower or lost when the lid is open and with an appliance plugged into the socket. This is suitable for occasional use such as a lawn mower where the socket will not be sprayed with water when in use. This type of product tends to have an IP rating of up to IP55. However if the socket is to be in continuous use or to be used when the socket might be sprayed with water, for example by a lawn sprinkler then a product where the IP rating is maintained when appliances are plugged in should be installed. This type of product may have an IP66 rating.