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Tips for Safe Outdoor Lighting and Installations

As much as outdoor lighting can enhance the home, it also needs to be safe. Electricity is dangerous, especially any kind of outdoor installations. Wires may be exposed, or buried underground. Always consult with an electrician and comply with local codes on electrical concerns. This is the first and foremost way to stay safe and avoid accident or even fatality.

Here are some helpful tips for installing outdoor lighting:

  • Turn off electrical current before you even begin. Usually located at the main.
  • Check and comply with all local codes regarding any intensive electrical installations of outdoor lighting.
  • Know the kind of circuit you need. You don’t want to over watt your fixtures.
  • Call before digging. There are strict community electrical codes. Upon that, run the wire to each light section along the trench (underground cable usually has to be dug out and buried at least at 18 inches deep.
  • Use grounded and outdoor-specific designed electrical fixtures. Always check for outdoor-rated designs; this includes extension cords, switches, fixtures and connectors.
  •  Make certain all your outside electrical receptacles are ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected. Prevent an electrical shock; GFCI are required highly sensitive devices which can detect even the smallest of inequalities in the current and cut the electricity to prevent electrocution. This device may save your life.
  • Watch out for flammable materials. Keep lighting materials that generate heat away from any material source for burn.
  • Install weather-resistant receptacles. Don’t run a cord through a window or door from inside your house. Temporary outdoor electrical loads should be plugged into outdoor receptacles and they need to be rated as weather-resistant. Also, install the appropriate covers for these receptacles.
  • Be on top of equipment safety. Make sure tools are made for outdoor use. Keep the area around your metre and any other electrical equipment clear. Extension cords are not designed for long term use; check for damage before using. Always read the tool’s instruction manual if you are new to operating. Ladders should be checked for safety as well.
  • Consider weather conditions. There are safety risks present outdoors that are untypical to indoor electrical utilities. Always be aware of potential hazards.

Outdoor electrical safety is the number one priority when considering any electrical installation. Many people think a temporary setup of outdoor lighting can be done without regard to safety because the lighting isn’t permanent. This is false. Temporary power connections or lighting can become as dangerous. There are special requirements for temporary installations which apply in addition to the regular guidelines.

There are safety risks present outdoors that are untypical to indoor electrical utilities. Always be aware of potential hazards. Outdoor lighting is a beautiful addition to any home, any season, and on holidays. It is a rewarding project all on its own. If you stick to the guidelines, the results will be worth all the precautions!

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