We are fortunate to have a temperate climate, even if sometimes it does not seem that way. The climate allows us to spend more time at home outdoors.
If you are thinking about upgrading your outdoor living space with electrical equipment like lights, heating, a speaker system, or even a hot tub, it is important to be aware of the associated electrical safety risks. To help you create the perfect outdoor oasis, as award-winning Nanaimo Electricians we want the community to be safe so here are five great tips around outdoor electrical installations and operation.
Will you have sufficient spare capacity?
Your electrical panel has a finite amount of space. Before you go out and buy all those outdoor lights, hot tubs, and other outdoor electrical equipment, you need to know what spare capacity your panel has. Your first step might be to upgrade your panel. We offer a free load check before carrying out any work.
You want to revamp my outdoor living space. What do you need to be aware of when it comes to using electrical products outdoors?
The key is checking for Canadian certification. Always, before purchasing any electrical products make sure they are certified for use in Canada. All electrical products should have a mark of approval from a Canadian certification agency such as CSA or ULC. This certification should be located both on the outside of the packaging and stamped somewhere on the product, if you are buying online it should be in the description.
As much as this seems common sense to us. You also need to ensure the product is suitable for outdoor use. Electrical products with a green label should be used outside. Red labels indicate the product is for indoor use only. You do not want to risk you and your family’s life by using indoor electrical products outdoors, even if you think they are never going to get wet.
How can you maintain my outdoor lights to make sure they’re safe?
When hanging lights, avoid stapling or nailing cords as this can puncture the cord. Instead, use plastic clips made specifically for this purpose. You do not want to allow moisture to get into the cord.
It is not advisable to leave your lights up year-round if they’re exposed to the elements, as they will deteriorate faster, which can lead to unsafe conditions. Replace any cords that have frayed or broken and replace any burned-out lights. Never run cords under rugs where people will walk over them( we see this more often than we like), or through doorways or windows where they may become pinched (pinched wires can cause a fire).
Are extension cords OK to use to power outdoor lighting and equipment?
Indoor and outdoor extension cords are rated differently, so choose the right cord for the right location. Also, make sure cords can handle the amperage indicated on your electrical devices, and avoid multi-outlet adaptor connections which can overload your outlet.
Is a permit required to install a hot tub if a licensed electrician is performing the work?
Yes, this is regulated work so a permit is required even if an electrician is performing the work. Nanaimo Electricians are required to obtain permits prior to starting regulated work. As a homeowner, you should ask to see a copy of the permit before you allow work to start. If work is done without the required permits, Technical Safety BC may take compliance & enforcement action against the contractor.
Final tip, if you are unsure about any of the above consult an Electrician, you and your family’s safety should always come first.