If you want to extend electrical power outdoors, you must do it safely. Otherwise, you risk electrical shock or damage to your household or visitors. The following are some practical tips to help you get it right.
Limit Extension Cord Use
Many people use extension cords to extend power outside the house. You can use an extension cord for temporary power needs but not for permanent or long-term needs. For example, you can use an extension cord to light up the garden for an overnight party.
Get a more permanent solution if you want power regularly outside your house. Prolonged use of an extension cord increases the risk of an accident. The cord can deteriorate, overheat, and cause electrical shock or fire.
Use Outdoor-rated Equipment
Electrical manufacturers rate their materials and equipment for use in different circumstances. Equipment for outdoor use must be able to withstand all manner of weather elements, including moisture and extreme temperatures. Ensure everything, from cables to outlets, is suitable for outdoor use.
Use GFCI Outlet
A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) cuts off power in the event of a ground fault. A ground fault arises if a malfunction causes power flow into an undesirable location, such as an appliance body. Such power leakages can cause electrical shock if you don't use a GFCI outlet. The prevalence of moisture outdoors increases the risk of power leakage, so a GFCI is mandatory.
Watch Where You Drill and Dig
You will have to do some digging and drilling to extend power outside the house. Watch where you drill or dig so that you don't damage existing infrastructure. For example, you should contact your utility company for information on utility lines in your home so that you don't damage them.
Protect the Cables
Protect all outdoor cables from weather elements, animals, and people. Adequate protection means:
Note that plastic bags or pieces of clothing might not provide adequate protection for your wiring.
Observe Relevant Electrical Codes
Electrical codes determine how to install electrical wiring and which equipment or materials to use. Research the relevant codes for outdoor wiring and follow them to the letter. You expose yourself to electrical danger and legal problems if you don't observe the codes.
Outdoor power extension is not an ideal DIY project. The risk of damage and injury is not worth it. Contact an electrical contractor for more information.