Outdoor Lighting Tips to Keep You Safe This Summer
By: Kevin Copeland
As summer winds down, many of us will spend time outdoors hosting backyard barbecues, pool parties, and casual evening get-togethers. Installing outdoor lighting can help set the mood and make your gathering one to remember.
Follow these simple tips to ensure your lighting setup is done with safety in mind.
1. Inspect lights and power cords before use.
Look for any warning signs of wear and tear such as cracked bulbs, fraying cords, bare wires or loose connections.
2. Ensure all equipment is rated for outdoor use.
Most products rated for outdoor use are weather-resistant to some degree; those that aren’t can become hazardous if they come into contact with water.
3. Avoid placing lights near flammable materials.
Keep electrical devices that generate heat away from any objects that can ignite and burn quickly, such as pine needles, wood chips and dried grass.
4. Use GFCI outlets for all exterior lights.
Every outlet installed outside should be ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) rated. These can protect you from a serious injury or electrocution by automatically shutting off power if a plugged-in item comes in contact with water.
5. Turn off lighting when it’s no longer needed.
Keep outdoor lights from dangerously overheating; switch them off when you go inside or leave your home.
Exercise caution when decorating near overhead power lines. Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines and never approach or touch overhead power lines or any person or object in contact with the lines. Coming into contact with electrical wires can cause serious injury or even death — keep all objects away from overhead power lines.