You use electrical equipment indoors every day without giving it much thought. You warm up food in the microwave, turn on the lights, and rely on your air conditioner to cool your home. Inside, electrical hazards are well protected against as long as your electric wiring is up-to-date. However, using power equipment outside is another story. Thanks to temperature fluctuations, precipitation, and other elements, there are more risks involved. Here are some ways to stay safe when using electrical equipment outdoors.
Make sure the outlet is dry.
Before you plug anything into your outdoor outlet, look at the socket and make sure it does not physically appear wet. Your outdoor sockets should be protected with covers that close automatically and effectively keep water out. But if the covers are defective, water could get in. You never want to plug a cord into a wet socket, as doing so could cause a shock and also ruin your power equipment.
Use outdoor-rated extension cords.
If you need to use an extension cord with your power equipment, make sure it is one that is rated for outdoor use. Indoor extension cords are not designed to be safe if they get wet or cold, so using one could lead to shock and shorts in your equipment. Never use two extension cords in union. If you need more length than your cord allows, buy a longer cord. Always unplug a cord when you are done with it; don't leave it stretched out for days on end.
Unplug immediately if you notice problems.
If you notice any sparking, shorts, or warmth in the power equipment you are using, turn it off and unplug it immediately. Power equipment can become damaged if it is stored out in the elements, and you do not want to use damaged equipment. It's a good idea to look over your equipment before plugging it in, although not all electrical damage is visible.
Stay out of open water.
If there are any puddles or standing water in areas where you plan on working, you need to wait until the area dries up. Standing in water while using power equipment of any sort is not a good idea; you could get shocked since water is a good conductor.
If you follow the safety tips above, you will have a reduced risk of issues when using power washers, trimmers, and other electrical equipment outdoors.
For more information on outdoor power equipment, contact a local resource.