As your family prepares to spend more time outside during the summer months, you’re likely moving patio furniture and pulling out the old grill. However, your preparation shouldn’t stop there. Taking care of outdoor electrical safety is a must to keep you and your family safe throughout the long summer season.

Get Greenery Trimmed Back

First and foremost, it’s time to assess the trees and other greenery around your property. You want to see if any branches or vines are close to coming into contact with your overhead power lines. If so, you’ll want to have a professional trim back those trees and shrubs. The last thing you want to deal with is a downed power line on your property that you could’ve easily prevented.

Ensure Outside Outlets Are Safe

The outlets present on the exterior of your home should all be GFCI outlets. Known formally as a ground-found circuit interrupter, this type of outlet works to stop the flow of electricity whenever water is present. This is a necessity for outside outlets where rainwater is a normal problem. Additionally, all of your outside outlets should be properly installed in an exterior-rated, weather-tight box. This will keep the unwanted rainwater away from your outlet and its wiring.

Use Outdoor Rated Extension Cords and Power Strips

Whenever you need to plug in an item that doesn’t have a cord long enough to reach your outlet, or you need to plug in multiple items, grabbing an extension cord or power strip can seem like second nature. However, it’s imperative to remember that not all extension cords and power strips are created equal. While all of them can be used indoors, not all can be used outdoors. Rather, you need an outdoor-rated extension cord or power strip, as they’re designed to keep you safe from rainwater and other moisture issues that could lead to electrical shock.

Designate a Wet Area

Water and electricity simply are a recipe for disaster. You always want to do everything possible to keep your electrical-powered items away from wet surfaces and people. This means not leaving any televisions, electric grills, or other electric-powered items near the pool. Additionally, you should make it a habit that only those that are fully dry can touch electrical items outside.

Add More Outdoor Outlets When Needed

As your life expands and you plan to do more activities outdoors, it’s likely that you’re going to need more power. Most homes are constructed with only a few outdoor plugs. If you find yourself using power strips to help supply power to more items, it may be time to call an electrician to add more outlets. Not only will this help to keep you from overloading your existing circuits, but your electrician can likely install outlets in locations that are closer to where power is needed so your family doesn’t have to trip over an extension cord.

Have the Right Fire Extinguisher

Just as you likely have a fire extinguisher inside of your home, it can be helpful to have one in a safe location outside or near a highly trafficked door to the outside. You may think that you don’t need one because you have a hose, but that’s simply not the case. You never want to use your garden hose on an electrical fire.

Rather, you need to use a fire extinguisher that is rated to handle electrical fires. These are indicated with a C rating. You can typically find fire extinguishers with an ABC rating, meaning they work for ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical fires. Make sure that all of your family members know where the fire extinguisher is so they can grab it if necessary.

Always Opt for Fiberglass Over Metal Ladders

The warmth of summertime rings in the need for home maintenance to get underway. Whether it’s cleaning out your gutters or building a tree house, you should always make sure you’re using a ladder that is made out of fiberglass. Homeowners shouldn’t opt for using metal ladders as they can conduct electricity if they come into contact with overhead wires. Since it’s easy to miss an overhead wire while you’re trying to move a ladder, it pays to opt for fiberglass so it doesn’t conduct any electricity if it happens to come into contact with a power line.

Inspect Electrical Cords Monthly

Whenever you’re using an extension cord outside, make sure that it’s placed in an area where it won’t be regularly stepped on. It’s a good rule of thumb to inspect your extension cords and the cords on all of your other outside electrical appliances each month. You want to ensure that there’s no fraying, exposed wires, or other damage to the cord. If you find damage, be sure to remove the appliance or extension cord from live power and replace it. Remember that any cords left outside are exposed to rain. Water and electricity simply don’t mix.

Enlighten Your Children

With no school in the summertime, it’s likely that your children will be spending more time at home. While this can be great for family bonding, it also means that your kids will be doing a lot more outside exploring than usual. You want to take the time to talk with your children about the dangers of electricity. From avoiding power lines, power poles, and substations to never getting into the pool with an electronic device, there are many instances to go over.

Consider Have More Lights Installed

As your family spends more time outdoors in the summer, it’s likely that it won’t just be during the day. Whether it’s late-night smores or a movie screen, having activities outside after dark can be fun for the whole family. However, when there isn’t a whole lot of lighting, it can be easy to trip over items, potentially injuring yourself or your stuff. Do yourself a favor and have an electrician add some outdoor ambient lighting. This can provide just enough light to walk around with ease without being blinded by the brightness. Your whole family will thank you.

Call Before Digging

The nice summer weather creates the perfect time of year to undergo some outdoor projects. From building a new deck to installing a she-shed, there may be many home improvement projects on your agenda this year. One thing you want to keep in mind is that you never want to dig into the ground until you call 811 to see if there are any power lines below. Digging willy-nilly without a care for what’s underneath can lead you into some big and dangerous trouble in some cases.

Do Activities Away From Power Lines

It can be very easy to get caught up in the summertime fun that you don’t even realize you’re playing near power. Activities like flying a kite or climbing a tree can put you and your family closer to electrical lines. Ensure you make a no play and no fly zone near any part of your home where electrical lines exist to keep everyone safe.

Helpful Electrician Service

John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical offers helpful electrician services for the entire Omaha, NE community. Our team can also help with all of your heating, cooling, plumbing, drain, UV air sanitation, duct cleaning, and commercial needs. Simply contact our office today to get put on the schedule or to schedule electrical inspection.

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