From porch lights to weed wackers to jacuzzi hookups and more, outdoor electrical projects can seem simple on the surface, but are far more complicated than they first appear. While you may want to try and save a few dollars by completing outdoor electrical projects yourself, you might just be doing more damage in the long run. Here’s what you need to know about outdoor electrical safety and why hiring a licensed electrician just might save your life.
Basics of outdoor electrical safety
There are a few basic principles you can follow to maintain electrical safety outdoors.
First of all, keep power lines in mind when considering electrical work outside. This includes both above-ground lines – which you should keep all ladders and tools at least 10 feet from at all times – and below-ground lines – which you should have professionally marked before any kind of digging is done (you can call 811 to access this free service in the United States).
Second, it’s important to store power tools, lighting, and other electrical tools and appliances neatly indoors, either in a sturdy shed or garage. Keeping these properly organized can help prevent unnecessary wear that can lead to damage and the risk of electrical shock. If you notice any damage to cords or connections, replace the light, appliance, or tool immediately. This is especially true of extension cords; these are not meant for long-term use and should be replaced regularly.
Finally, be sure to keep children and pets away from electrical sources and tools. You should also keep the area around your electrical meter clear at all times for easy access.
Can I do outdoor electrical projects myself?
While it’s possible to do some outdoor electrical projects for yourself, such as setting up a storage space for tools and equipment or hanging lights, it’s safest to call in a licensed electrician for most higher-level endeavors.
Outdoor electrical projects present unique hazards that indoor projects do not. For one, the weather can make working outside dangerous very quickly; wet conditions like high humidity, rain, and snow can make electrical shocks more likely, while windy and dry conditions can send sparks flying longer distances and increase the risk of fire. For another, as mentioned, there are power lines all over yards and properties that carry much higher voltages than indoor circuits do, making them extremely dangerous to work around. If one is damaged and falls, it can create a large hazard area, especially if you have a swimming pool.
Licensed electricians understand the regulations and standard procedures associated with working on outdoor electrical equipment, and have the tools necessary to do so safely. They can coordinate with your local electric company to control the flow of power to the area for major repairs and expansive projects, to lower the risk of injury or environmental damage.
Outdoor electrical safety can help prevent the risk of accidents and injuries for you and your loved ones. While it may be possible to carry out some minor outdoor electrical projects yourself, it’s always safer to call in a licensed electrician for more complex undertakings. By following the basic principles of outdoor electrical safety, you can ensure a safer outdoor environment for you and your family. Remember, when it comes to electrical safety, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Got an electrical project you’d like to take on, but not sure who to call for help? Rhino Electric has you covered. With their experienced, licensed electricians, your home and safety are always in good hands. You can contact them today for quotes and more information about the services they offer, from installation to maintenance and more.