Most of the time when you think about electrical hazards, your mind’s eye conjures images of indoor hazards, like frayed wires and defective or overloaded outlets. However, you also should be concerned about electrical safety outside the home. There are four main areas to be concerned about.
Before planting a tree outdoors, make sure it won’t grow into power lines. Avoid a situation where a decade or two down the road, the tree has grown into or above the power lines. This can create a hazard during wind and electrical storms, and result in both power loss and a safety hazard if a falling tree knocks down the power lines. Power, gas and water lines may also be buried. Call 8-1-1 before you start digging.
Electrical outlets located outside have a much greater risk of coming into contact with water or other moisture, which can create the risk of shock or electrocution. Make sure ground fault circuit interrupters are installed. These stop the electrical current when a plugged-in appliance comes into contact with water or otherwise “leaks” electricity. Weatherproofed covers should be installed on all outside outlets.
When using portable generators, don’t operate them in enclosed areas such as a garage or shed. Even an open garage isn’t recommended. Also, make sure generators and other gas-powered tools aren’t used near open windows and doors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur even with gradual exposure to small amounts of the lethal gas.
Only use cords marked for “outside use” outside, and avoid long-term use of extension cords. They’re only intended for temporary use. Also, the amperage rating of an extension cord shouldn’t exceed that of the device or appliance it’s attached to.
For more information on electrical safety outside the home, check out Luminous Electric’s professional electrician services, or give us a call at in the Manatee/Sarasota area.