The importance of summer electrical safety
Being able to make the most of the garden before autumn sets in, is always a treat. But although the days may still be long and the weather fine enough for late summer barbecues and informal get-togethers, don’t let your outdoor electrical safety slip – here’s what to consider.
Making the most of late summer evenings
Cool evenings after a sizzling hot day are a welcome relief and there’s no better way to enjoy them than with friends and family.
Staying safe just means making a few observations – like checking any lights used outside are specifically designed for the outdoors. Indoor fairy lights to brighten patios and seating areas might be cheap and cheerful but they won’t be adequately sealed, which not only means they can get wet and stop working, but they could end up corroded and pose a risk of electric shock.
If you’re planning on having music to add to the ambience, then double check that any sockets and plugs on stereos are fit for outdoor use. If they aren’t, then the safest option is to position your indoor speaker so that you can still enjoy some tunes whilst your sound system remains safely indoors.
But it’s not just risk of electrical shock you need to think about, trailing cables can be a trip hazard – especially if there are children running around or if you’re carrying trays of food and drinks, so ensure wires are safely tucked away.
Preparing for winter
It’s tempting to simply hunker down and forget about everything to do with the outdoors when winter approaches but it’s worth taking a few precautions and making sure that exterior electrics are fit for purpose – think about:
- Checking outdoor sockets – if you’ve got them, make sure socket covers are intact and fit properly.
- Cables – if you have any cables connecting power to outbuildings or a caravan, then it’s worth considering putting cable covers over them to protect them from wear and tear or curious animals.
- Weather conditions – before you trim the grass for the last time, make sure it’s dry – it’s all too easy to forget that water and electrics don’t mix when you’re focused on mowing the lawn.
- Fit an RCD – RCD stands for ‘residual current device’, they detect live currents and quickly break the circuit if you accidently come into contact with an exposed wire.
- Water features – if you’re switching off water features over winter (and even if you’re not) it’s a good idea to check pumps and connections. Check for breaks and loose fittings – these can all pose an electrical safety risk.
Storing your electrical equipment
Making sure power tools are properly stored and maintained will not only prolong the life of your electrical equipment, but ensures they are safe to use and ready to go in spring. With that in mind, clean all tools and blades on lawn mowers and chainsaws.
Electrical tools also need to be stored somewhere dry, preferably avoiding extreme cold temperatures as motors and metal parts can fracture and break as they heat up in use.
Keep warm and safe in winter
Of course, it’s not just outdoor electrical equipment you need to check. Increased use of lighting, heating and hot water during winter puts extra strain on electrics and plumbing so it’s a good idea to check indoor equipment too, such as fuse boxes, wires, sockets and plugs. For more tips and advice on what to look out for, read about our winter safety checks If you’re in any doubt and want to speak to a registered and qualified electrician, call us on 07976 685746.