Whether you’re doing backyard chores or entertaining on your patio, warm weather means more outdoor electrical connections. You should keep a few basic safety tips in mind during warmer weather to avoid electrical shock.
Have Outdoor GFCI’s Installed
When you’re outdoors, water and electricity can easily mix. The risk of electrical shock from frayed power cords or damaged equipment is much greater on wet or damp ground. Have GFCI’s installed in place of outdoor receptacles. Swimming pool lighting and hot tubs should also have GFCI’s protected circuits; If you already have GFCI’s installed, test them monthly to ensure they are in good working order.
Use Tools and Appliances Safely
Edger’s, mowers and weed trimmers feature heavily insulated cords and sturdy molded-on plugs. Electrical devices that are not designed for outdoor use (stereos, table lamps, kitchen appliances) can be easily damaged by moisture or sudden summer showers, turning them into serious shock hazards. Always inspect appliances for frayed cords, broken plugs or cracked housing and don’t use the equipment until you repair or replace it. Be careful not to overload your outdoor receptacles as this can cause overheating and fire. Never use electrical devices in the rain, on wet surfaces or while standing in water.
Use Outdoor Extension Cords
When using an extension cord, remember to always use one marked for outdoors use with a three-prong grounding plug that’s rated for the power needs of your tools. Also, use one long extension cord instead of linking several shorter ones together. Make sure to keep the cord out of your path or work area to protect it from damage and always keep it away from water.
Disconnect Outdoor Devices
Turn off outdoor electrical devices when you’re through using them and unplug them at the receptacle. Never leave a “live” device unattended, even if you’re only going in the house for a minute.