Summer is here and it’s time to get outdoors! But along with backyard barbeques, gardening and pool parties come hidden electrical dangers for your home and your family. Find out what outdoor electrical hazards may be lurking in your backyard and how you can stay safe while enjoying the summer weather.
Pools and Hot Tubs
While most people think of drowning when it comes to pool risks, many don’t consider electrocution to be a potential safety hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been 60 deaths and nearly 50 serious shocks reported over the past 13 years involving electrical hazards in and around swimming pools.
To keep your pool area safe, make sure than any electrical appliances or equipment, such as radios, are kept at a safe distance from the pool and plugged into a GFCI outlet.
If you have an older pool, be sure to have it inspected by a licensed electrician for faulty underwater lighting or worn electrical wiring, and make sure all lights, receptacles, and switches are upgraded with GFCI’s.
Outdoor outlets can be super convenient, but failing to exercise proper caution can lead to trouble! If you’re enjoying a backyard barbeque or campfire, be sure to keep all fuel cans far away from your outlets. Even a small electrical spark can ignite a fuel source and cause a house or backyard fire.
It’s no secret that water and electricity don’t mix. So if you have outlets outdoors, make sure they are GFCI outlets with weather-proof coverings to protect them from moisture, rain, or floods. Remember to keep your outlets properly maintained and have them repaired immediately if the receptacles seem worn or if the outer plastic casing is cracked or broken. A qualified electrician can help you install proper GFCI outlets or repair damaged outlets.
Extension cords are great to use during the summer, and can be especially convenient for homes without outdoor outlets, however, they can also present hidden electrical dangers.
If you’re using an extension cord, be sure it is labeled specifically for outdoor use. A use only an extension cord labeled for amperage equal to or greater than that of the appliance it is used for. Also, remember that extension cords are not long-term solutions – always be sure to unplug them when you’re finished, or you may risk an electrical fire.
Landscaping and DIY Projects
Whether you’re landscaping or taking on a DIY project like building a deck, be sure to call 811 and have your utility lines marked to indicate where it’s unsafe to dig. Remember that DIY electrical work, such as installing outdoor lighting, is always best done by a professional electrician. DIY electrical work is hazardous enough on its own, but it’s even more risky when combined with the potential hazards of rain or moisture coming in contact with electrical equipment.
So whether you’re remodeling the backyard, grilling burgers or just relaxing by the pool, be sure to keep safety first this summer! Don’t forget to schedule an appointment with a trusted electrician, like Mister Sparky® of Dallas Fort Worth, for all of your electrical repairs, outdoor lighting installation and safety inspections.