Dos and Dont’s of Outdoor Electrical Installation

When it comes to installing any electrical equipment in the garden, hiring a qualified electrical contractor can literally save your life! However, knowing a few things about a safe electrical installation will help you understand better the scope of your redesign project and plan accordingly. Keeping in mind these basic rules will ensure that your outdoor room becomes a secure place:

Do

  • Hire a qualified contractor for all your outdoor electrical installations.
  • Make sure that the contractor has protected all exterior electrical circuits by a ground fault interrupter. This device will cut off power immediately when it detects a leakage of current to earth.
  • Turn off electrical equipment before doing any maintenance, even if it’s a simple bulb replacement.

Don’t

  • Install electrical equipment outside unless you are qualified to do so.
  • Use any electrical devices such as switches, sockets, and transformers in the garden if they are designed only for interior uses.
  • Substitute proper weatherproof enclosures with plastic bags or temporary wrappings.

The Security of a Well-Lit Landscape

It takes just one dark secluded window, a dark unlit backyard, or a burnt-out porch light to make your home an easy invitation for an intruder. Lighting is one of the simplest types of deterrents to take your home from a target to a secure dwelling in no time.

A brightly-lit home is one of the easiest and most cost effective forms of home security.  Home safety is top on the list for homeowners and they look for ways to not only protect their home, but also in today’s economy, to find inexpensive ways to secure the outside perimeter with proper lighting. Outdoor lighting is not only a safety factor, but it is also a good investment, for it increases the value of your home.

First Steps

First, take an assessment of your home.  Walk the property at night to evaluate the most vulnerable areas that may need lighting.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are all doors to the home well lit?
  • Are windows blocked by bushes or trees and hard to see at night?
  • Is the walkway to the front door well lit?
  • Does the garage door have motion sensor lighting?
  • How dark and secluded is the backyard?
  • Are the sides of the house also secluded and dark?

From these questions, make a list in order of safety importance.  Your budget may not warrant all improvements at the same time, so start with the most critical.

Lighting both front and back porches is one of the first economical steps.  There are several options.  Lighting can be beautiful and elegant and still be cost effective.  Wall sconces on each side of the front door adds flavor to the entry way. Wire and set them to a timer to brightly light your porch at night.  In addition, mount a motion sensor flood light to aim directly at the door itself.

Adorn the walkway to the front door with solar lights spaced 5 to 10 feet apart.  This is a cost effective way to light your pathway.  Most solar lights will last 6 to 8 hours.  The other advantage to solar lighting is if there is any kind of electrical outage, the solar lights are not affected.

The backyard would most likely be the next step for improving the security of your home. Set the back porch light on a timer and install a motion sensor flood light and aim it directly at the back door.  If your back door files out to a large deck or patio, string decorative lanterns strategically to cover dark spots, and also give the backyard a nice, decorative touch.

The third step encompasses lighting the darkness of the windows around the home.  Soft lighting filtered from the porch light, for instance, on to a nearby window is fine, but if you have windows covered by scrubs or trees, consider the effect of a soft flood light.

These are minor tips to help you step back and take a look at the safety of your home by simply using lighting as a protection device. For more ideas on lighting safety and lighting design for your home, contact a professional who will assist you through your needs and work within your budget.