Spring is a time of renewal and revival, but it can also be a dangerous season for homeowners in Boston. As the snow melts away and the days get longer, many people take advantage of the warm weather to do some outdoor spring cleaning and maintenance around their homes.
However, this often involves working with electrical systems that could cause serious harm if not handled properly. To help keep you safe while completing these tasks, here are ten electrical safety tips from our expert electricians at Home Mechanics in the greater Boston area. We hope these tips will help ensure your springtime activities remain stress-free and accident-free so you can enjoy all that comes with the warmer months ahead.
Digging a new garden or building a new fence
Call before you dig to ensure you don’t sever or hit any buried electrical wires in your neighborhood. Not only is this extremely dangerous to you, it may also affect the power to your own home or your neighborhoods.
Inspect cords and appliances
Inspect your electrical cords and appliances for damage or wear and tear before using them outside. Appliances or tools left out in the cold, or in freezing conditions could suffer from cracking in the sheathing or corroding if left in damp locations. Also check for frayed cords, cracked or broken plugs, and other signs of damage. If you see any issues, replace the item before using it.
Use only outdoor-rated extension cords and appliances when working outdoors
Outdoor-rated equipment is designed to withstand exposure to the elements, which reduces the risk of electrical shock or fire. A good tip is to mark your outdoor rated cords appropriately so everyone in your household knows they are safe to use outdoors and in less than ideal conditions.
Keep electrical appliances and cords away from pools, ponds, and other sources of water
Water and electricity don't mix, so it's important to keep electrical equipment away from any sources of water. Additionally, keep any unprotected cords away from standing pools of water in your yard.
Avoid using power tools or electrical appliances on wet or damp surfaces
Moisture can increase the risk of electrical shock, so it's important to keep your equipment and surfaces dry. If you have a consistent buildup of wet or damp areas, move your work area or appliances away until you resolve the problem.
Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets
GFCI outlets are designed to protect against electrical shock by shutting off the power if they sense a change in electrical current. All outdoor outlets should be GFCI certified and installed by a professional electrician.
3-prong tools or appliances are best
Speaking of power tools and GFCI outlets, always use 3-prong appliances to ensure you are protected in the event of a surge.
Dont use metal ladders
Never use electrical appliances or tools when standing on a metal ladder or any other conductive surface. Metal is an excellent conductor of electricity, so using electrical equipment while standing on a metal surface can increase the risk of electrical shock. Find a wooden or fibreglass ladder.
Make sure all outdoor electrical outlets have weatherproof covers
Weatherproof covers help protect the outlets from exposure to the elements, which reduces the risk of electrical shock or fire.
Don’t run electrical cords underground
Only underground approved conductors should be used underground and should be installed by a licensed electrical contractor. Ask Home Mechanics for more information on how to add power to existing structures like your garage or patio.
Do not attempt to repair electrical appliances or wiring unless you are a trained professional
Electrical work should only be performed by licensed professionals who have the necessary training and equipment to do the job safely.
Call on Professionals You Can Trust
As you tackle spring cleaning, it's crucial to keep electrical safety top of mind. Regular maintenance and inspection of your home's wiring can prevent potential hazards and save you from dealing with bigger problems later on.
Don't let electrical issues give you a headache. Contact Home Mechanics to stop them before they get serious. Our experts will assess your situation and provide the best solutions tailored to your circumstances, so you can rest easy.