Avoid These Electrical Hazards in Your Landscape

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Most people know to go in during a lightening storm and to keep foreign objects out of electrical outlets, but there are many outdoor electrical safety things that aren't as well known or are commonly overlooked. Here is how to keep both yourself and your family safe from these outdoor electrical hazards this summer.

Check your Outlets

Outdoor electrical outlets need to be properly grounded and they should have weatherproof covers. The last thing you want is an electrical shock because water has made its way into the outlet.

Each outlet should also have a ground fault circuit interrupter, which automatically turns off the electrical current to the outlet if there is a short circuit or other problem. This can minimize the chances of electrical fires, especially with outlets that are in use when they aren't monitored, such as those that power pool pumps. An electrician can make sure they are properly installed on your outlets.

Use Cords Safely

Extension cords are responsible for around 3,300 house fires and 4,000 injuries annually, so corded items are one of the main electrical concerns in your landscape. First and foremost, make sure any extension cords in use are rated for outdoor usage.

Before plugging in corded items, like edgers or garden lights, make sure there is no damage to the item's plug or outlet. If the item is designed to stay plugged in without monitoring, such as a light feature, use an outlet that as a weatherproof cover that still provides protection even when the outlet is in use.

Monitor Water Features

Water features, whether it's a small fountain or a large pool, require an annual inspection. Pools and hot tubs should be inspected by an electrician or pool technician annually in spring to make sure there are no lurking electrical dangers. You can inspect smaller features on your own by looking for electrical cord and plug damage, and by making sure everything is running smoothly.

When plugging in pumps and other electrical items near the water, make sure the outlets and junction boxes are at a safe distance. Generally, a 5-foot distance from the water is sufficient, but check with local codes to be sure.

Above and Below

Finally, don't forget these two basic rules when working in your yard this summer:

  • Look up before you cut. Make sure tools and branches won't hit any electrical lines while you are trimming or cutting down trees.

  • Call before you dig. Call 811, the national number for underground electrical safety, before digging holes, whether you are planting a tree or installing a pond. They will send someone out to mark your underground utility lines, which can save you from a deadly shock or dangerous gas leak.

For assistance, talk to an electrician like D & D Electric Enterprises, Inc.

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21 May 2015

adding electric lights to your yard

How well is the outside of your home lighted? Do you have several areas around your home that become pitch black after the sun has fallen for the day? If you live in an area that does not get very much sunlight during the day, you probably have the same amount of success as I have had trying to use solar powered lights to light those dark areas. I finally broke down and contacted an electrician to help me run some power to the dark areas and install some much needed lights. He was able to give me a few suggestions that would not only brighten up my dark yard, but also look very nice from the street.