Using electricity outdoors – safety tips
Posted on 25th July 2023
We can’t ignore electrical safety risks, even on holiday. At least it doesn’t rain much in Santorini.
However, there are some very important things to think about when you’re using electricity outdoors, wherever you are.
It’s great to enjoy your garden during the warmer weather. You might consider adding a water feature, lighting, or outdoor sockets for mowers and other tools. Whatever you’re planning you’ll want it to look good and, above all, to be safe.
For over a decade you’ve had to notify your local building control office about home electrical work, including your
garden. You must tell them about new circuits, replacement consumer units and additions or alterations to circuits. This could include swimming pools and outdoor lighting.
Electrical switches, sockets and accessories should have a suitable Ingress Protected (IP) rating. This will help to prevent shocks if they come in to contact with other objects or water. The first number is from zero to six and the second from zero to nine. They refer to the size of object that could enter the safety enclosure and the level of protection against liquids. The highest ratings apply to electrics immersed in water such as lights and fountains for ponds, for example.
Outdoor sockets should also have integrated residual current device (RCD) protection.
Ideally, the electricity supply to your garden should be on an independent circuit with a separate RCD. This means that, if faults occur, tripping doesn’t affect the rest of your house.
To avoid damage from rodents and cutting with sharp tools, power and lighting cables should be armoured, buried, or both. You’ll also need to be careful about the type of cable used outdoors because sunlight can damage the insulation.
Looking after your outdoor electrics
Maintaining your outdoor electrics is important, so when planning your installation give some thought to access for inspection and testing.
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