Wall outlets significantly increase the convenience of using electrical devices, as all we need to do to get access to electricity is plug them in. However, this ready availability comes with a risk; the outlets are open to dust and moisture, and outlets closer to the ground are accessible to children and pets. This increases the risk of a device malfunctioning or of a loved one receiving a nasty electric shock. Therefore, electrical outlet covers can be used to mitigate this risk--they cover up the outlets to keep them out of sight and away from poor conditions. Here are some tips for selecting high-quality outlet covers.
For outlets not in use
Wiring is typically laid out during construction, and not all electrical outlets see the same level of use. Some might go unused entirely. The kind of cover that goes on such an outlet needs to protect it from dust and corrosion--as well as insects and other critters that might find it a suitable place to hide. For these, consider getting a weatherproof device cover designed to fully conceal the outlet.
In use but safely
A device in use needs outlet covers for many of the same reasons as unused outlets do, but the user also needs to access them easily. For this purpose, consider a cover with a flip lid: these can be mounted on the wall around a single outlet or pair of outlets and are usually large enough to accommodate a device plug at the same time. There is always an outlet at the bottom for the cable of the device plugged in, so these covers aren’t entirely impermeable. Still, they can protect your devices from water accidents, and a secure lid can keep pets and small children from hurting themselves. This is most useful for outlets that are in use day-round, like those for refrigerators.
Benefits of both
There are also options for outlet covers with flat lids. The lid is raised while the outlet is in use, and it is replaced when there is no need for it. This combines the best of both worlds--open outlets are no longer exposed to dust, moisture, and insects, but it is also easy to access when required. Of course, the one caveat is that there is no protection present when the device is plugged in. Look for durable, weatherproof covers and self-closing lids to ensure effective use.