Safe Electricity urges all do-it-yourselfers to take precautions, especially when working around electrical equipment and overhead power lines. Make sure outdoor outlets are equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter GFCI. Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets don’t have them. It’s also a good idea to have GFCIs professionally installed in wet areas of the home, such as the kitchen, bath and laundry. Safety tips to keep in mind include:
- Look up and around you. Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long metal tools like ladders, pool skimmers and pruning poles, or when installing rooftop antennas and satellite dishes or doing roof repair work.
- Be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house. Keep equipment and yourself at least 10 feet from lines. Never trim trees near power lines – leave that to the professionals. Never use water or blower extensions to clean gutters near electric lines. Contact a professional maintenance contractor.
- If your projects include digging, like building a deck or planting a tree, call your local underground utility locator before you begin. Never assume the location or depth of underground utility lines. This service is free, prevents the inconvenience of having utilities interrupted, and can help you avoid serious injury.
- Electricity + water = danger. If it’s raining or the ground is wet, don’t use electric power or yard tools. Never use electrical appliances or touch circuit breakers or fuses when you’re wet or standing in water. Keep electric equipment at least 10 feet from wet areas.
Make certain home electrical systems and wiring are adequate to support increased electric demands of new electric appliances, home additions or remodeling projects. Also, energy use is greatest in the hot summer months when air conditioning use peaks. An older home may be inadequately wired for today’s electrical consumption, putting your family at risk for fire and electrical shock. Replace worn and outdated circuitry and add enough outlets for appliances and electronics. Safe Electricity strongly recommends do-it-yourselfers to leave this project to the professionals.