According to the NFPA, local fire departments and electricians responded to 44,880 home fires involving an electrical malfunction or failure each year between 2012 and 2016. Let’s not forget electrocution.
Many people focus too much on safety tips for their homes that they neglect to consider the outside. If not managed properly, your landscape could pose unique risks.
Here are eight ways to improve the safety of your backyard and front yard, according to Myrtle Beach electrician.
Electrician Tips For Your Outdoor Electrical System
1. Regularly inspect your outdoor power equipment.
You will likely use some electrical equipment when caring for your property: chainsaws and generators, mowers, weed-whackers, generators, etc.
Although your lawn mower does not have a cord, certain tools such as hedge trimmers and edgers do. To prevent sparks from flying, make sure to inspect the wiring, plugs and cords before plugging them in. This kind of wear may occur naturally as a result of age, rodent or pest damage and moisture. Before you use your equipment, make sure you check its condition.
2. Increase the storage capacity of your electrical equipment.
If you store power equipment in a shed, instead of a garage that is more vulnerable to Mother Nature’s intrusion, look for more than just damage to the cords.
Pay attention to moisture. You should inspect your entire structure for water damage such as warped floors, dripping ceilings or accumulation of moisture. You can hire an emergency electrician if you need help. This could make your tools unusable or increase the possibility of getting electrocuted and fire when you attempt to start them again.
Heat can cause heat strokes. Always check the safety precautions for storage on any landscape equipment. Florida’s heat index is extremely high. Some power equipment may be better suited for storage in a temperature-controlled environment to avoid overheating risks.
When storing, unplug any devices. Make sure that any unplugged battery chargers are removed and properly stored. The same goes for any item that you won’t use immediately.
3. Never leave your power equipment unattended.
Chainsaws with sharp blades should be kept out of reach from children. However, it is important to remember to take into consideration equipment that can cause electrical problems if they are overheated or used excessively.
If left unattended, the portable generator that your teens have plugged in to their backs could start a fire. If the fan is not designed for outdoor use, it could cause electrical problems if left outdoors. If the problem is not apparent, turn off power and unplug.
4. Make sure you have GFCI outlets at your location.
Are you familiar with the differences between a GFCI outlet and a grounded outlet? The two black and red “Reset” buttons at the outlet’s center can be used to distinguish a GFCI receptacle from a regular, unprotected one. These buttons can be used to reset the power supply to the outlet if the circuit is broken.
Outlet examples – 8 Outdoor Electrical Safety Tips
This safety feature is ideal for high-risk environments with moisture. The National Electric Code mandates GFCIs in bathrooms and kitchens. Check that every outdoor outlet has a GFCI set up. Some older homes might not.
5. Inspect your outdoor outlets.
Take a walk around your property to examine your outlets.
Check for both functional and visible damage. To ensure that no plugs fall out of loose outlets, replace any missing or broken face plates. An electrician may be needed to replace any outlets that have fallen-out-prongs or visible wires.
Test your outdoor outlets. Even if there are no obvious issues, when was your last time you tested outdoor outlets? You can test your outlets using a voltage tester, or you can hire an electrician to inspect them. Here’s how to troubleshoot faulty outlets if you discover that outdoor outlets are not functioning.
6. Learn how to use extension cords outdoors correctly
Extension cords should not be used as a permanent solution. If you have items that are permanently plugged into extension cords using them outside, this could pose a safety risk to the electrician.
Even if the rating is “for outdoor use”, be cautious. Cords that are specifically rated for outdoor use should only be used while the task is being performed or when you are within reach of it. For example, if you have string lights attached to an extension cord set, don’t plug them in while sitting on your lanai.
You should inspect your outdoor extension cords regularly. This is just as important for your electrical equipment cords. Make sure to inspect your extension cords for damage and avoid contact with water.
You can find more information about extension cords here.
7. Regular property cleanings are recommended.
When there is something to fuel the fires, electric fires can grow. Maintaining your property is an excellent way to prevent the spread of electric fires.
Keep outlets clean and tidy. Make sure you clean out outdoor outlets, power cords and lighting. This will help to reduce the risk.
When trimming, be careful. Watch out for overhead power lines when you are doing routine bush or tree pruning from a ladder.
8. Before you start outdoor renovations or construction, think about your options.
We get that you have big dreams for your backyard or front yard, but it is important to be careful when breaking ground or making large-scale changes to your property.
Although planting a tree, or installing hardscaping or outdoor landscaping may seem easy, it is important to remember to “Call Before you Dig.” This means that the utilities company will call 811 to mark underground lines so you avoid any damage or bursting of pipes. It is important to remember that backup generators can be installed underground with fuel tanks.
The same applies to adding to your garage or installing a patio. To ensure that you meet all safety requirements, consult an electrician before proceeding.
Additional Electrical Safety Improvements
We hope these tips will inspire you to make improvements to your outdoor landscape.
Are you ready to get rid of extension cords and put in new outlets outdoors? Perhaps you’re ready to install landscape lighting.
Call MB Electrician Pros for all your indoor and outdoor electrical needs.
MB Electrician Pros
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577