With warm weather come increased outdoor activities around the home. Some of it’s work – repairing the ravages of winter and keeping the landscape beautiful – and some of it’s play: swimming, cookouts, picnics, and the kids enjoying the outdoors.
Many of these activities involve electrical power, and sometimes that could mean danger. Now is a good time to evaluate your home and property for electrical dangers that may only be present in summer months.
Extension cords and power tools
There are several reasons to use an extension cord in your yard. Your lawn mower or hedge trimmer might be electric, or you might be doing outdoor repairs or improvements that call for electric saws, drills or other power tools. Whatever the need, keep safety in mind as you use them. Keep the extension cord away from the pool and garden hose, and don’t use electric tools in wet or damp areas. Use only extension cords that are rated for outdoor use, and always inspect them for damage. Keep an eye on the cord when mowing or trimming to avoid cutting it through.
Have an electrician inspect the electrical connections and equipment on your pool or hot tub, spa lighting and other outdoor lighting and wiring. This should be part of your ritual for getting the pool ready for summer. You should also inspect your pool visually on a regular basis during the summer, and call an electrician if you notice worn, cracked or burnt wiring or loose connections.
If you have any landscaping work that needs to be done this summer, be completely aware of the location of both above-ground and underground power lines. Look up before you raise your ladder: you don’t want it to come within ten feet of a power line. It’s recommended that you use wooden or fiberglass ladders when working outside because they don’t conduct electricity like metal ladders do.
If you have to dig anywhere – for example, if you’re building a new deck or planting trees or bushes – and are uncertain of the existence or location of underground utilities, call 811 and a crew will come inspect your dig site for hazards.
Warn your children about the dangers of power lines and teach them to avoid transformers and utility poles. Do not let them climb trees that are near power lines.
Summer isn’t all blue skies and warm sunshine. It’s also hurricane season for the Atlantic seaboard. Trees and utility poles can be brought down by strong winds and pose an electrocution risk to anyone nearby. Always treat a downed power line as live and hazardous. If you are driving and encounter a power line across the road, remain in your car and call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to drive over, around or under downed power lines.
Another summer weather risk is lightning. Pay attention to the weather forecast before any outside activities, and if there is a risk of a thunderstorm, stay out of the water and away from tall trees. Never carry a metal ladder outside if there is a chance of lightning. Your tree trimming can wait another day or two!
Do you have questions about identifying electrical hazards in your home or on your property? Located in Elmer, NJ, Eric M. Krise Electrical Contractor does business throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware and will be happy to help. Contact us today: 856-769-3932.