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Outdoor Electrical Safety

Summer vacation in Houston means that everyone will have more time to spend outside. Kid’s pool parties, neighborhood barbecues and extended visits on the patio are all part of the seasonal fun. Spending more time outside also means households will inevitably be using electricity; especially with today’s “plugged in” society. Because we live in a humid climate, we deal with wet yards and patio areas on a regular basis. This factor makes electrical safety even more important during an extended vacation. Whether you have a pool, a patio or simply an inviting lawn, Universal Home Experts has some tips to keep your summer vacation a safe and happy one.

Pool Safety

Make sure that all outdoor electrical receptacles are covered, especially if a pool or water fixture is involved in an activity.

All outdoor receptacles must be installed with a ground fault interrupter (GFI) to ensure there are no shock injuries or electrocutions. There are GFI receptacles that require no installation and can be simply plugged in.

How Does a GFCI Work?

All electrical equipment used for swimming pools and hot tubs must be grounded.

Keep electrical cords and devices at least 10 feet away from all water fixtures. This includes smart phones, tablets and laptops.

Consider designating a charging station for all devices inside the home – away from pools and other water features.

According to the National Electrical Code (NEC), electrical wires and junction boxes should be at least five feet away from water. This is especially important with plastic kiddie pools and water toys.

When you are around water, try using only battery-operated devices outside.

Stay away from electrical devices when you are wet (either from water activities or sweat).

Never swim during an electrical storm.

Always have an electrician inspect your pool before swimming season.

Create a detailed emergency plan and have it posted near the pool, hot tub or water feature. The plan should outline safety procedures for electric shock.

What to Do in an Electrical Emergency

Yard Safety

Electric grills are a bit safer than traditional charcoal designs, but they should never be used in wet conditions. They should also only be connected to receptacles that are protected with a GFCI.

Make sure everyone in the household knows to keep away from power lines. Never touch them with any part of the body, sticks, toys or any object.

Never climb or play around a utility pole – and never throw shoes or other objects onto a power line.

Additionally, never climb trees or other structures that are close to power lines.

Be mindful of toys and remotes that are airborne. Fly kites and drones in a park or field, far away from power lines.

Stay indoors during an electrical storm. Around 100 people die and another 500 people are severely injured from lightning strikes.

Electrical yard equipment should always be stored indoors. Power tools with electrical cords should never be used when the yard is wet.

Check the electrical cords of your yard equipment before using them. If they are frayed or compromised in any way – they should be thrown away.

Use extension cords properly. If you must use them outside, make sure that they are marked “for outdoor use” and not placed in a heavily trafficked area to prevent tripping.

Never plug two extension cords together – and always unplug them when not in use.

Before a party or special event in the yard, make sure that rain or inclement weather did not create a hole or uneven area in the lawn.

This summer, make electrical safety a priority in all your outdoor activities. Make sure to contact the professionals at Universal Home Experts when you need help with electrical inspections or safety installations. Call (713) 364-0226 to schedule an appointment today!