How to Safely Have Outdoor Lighting
It’s that time of the year again. The days are getting longer, but even with the extended sunshine, you’ll still want to stay outside long after the sun sets. It’s tempting to enjoy that nighttime summer breeze, keep on barbecuing into the late evening, or just relax under the stars in your back yard, but you can’t do any of those things without adequate, safe lighting. Let’s take a look at how you can enjoy the simple things in life this summer with safe outdoor lighting.
Choose the Right Bulbs
It all starts with making sure that you’re using the appropriate light bulbs. Make sure that you are using outdoor rated bulbs in your outdoor fixtures. Also, make sure that your bulbs are the appropriate wattage to avoid overheating or even a fire. If you’re looking to save money and spend less time replacing your bulbs, use energy-efficient lighting like LED bulbs in your fixtures.
Choose the Right Extension Cord
In addition to outdoor rated bulbs, you’ll need an extension cord that is built to withstand extreme conditions, wet weather, and wear. Outdoor-rated extension cords are the only option, as indoor extension cords can lead to shock, short circuits, or worse. Also, try to choose thick, heavy-duty cords as they tend to better absorb the abundant wear that comes with being used outdoors.
Only Use GFCI Outlets
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets are standard and legally required in any location that can be subject to water or use while the user is grounded. Without GFCI outlets, you are subject to shock, electrocution, or damage to your equipment or appliances, so they’re an absolute necessity indoors and out.
Location is Critical
Where you put your lighting fixtures and bulbs is just as important as the type. You should keep all light sources away from fountains, swimming pools, or other bodies of water. Also, keep your bulbs away from dried grass, straw, or wood to avoid igniting a fire.
Be Mindful of Turning Off Lights
By switching off lights when not in use or when you’ll be away from the house for extended periods of time, you not only save money, but also prevent dangerous overheating or other costly issues.
Avoid Overloading Your Circuits
Just because it’s the first barbecue of the year doesn’t mean you need to lug out the TV, fans, pressure cooker, and boom-box and plug them all into one circuit. You risk damaging the circuit breaker and turning your fun summer night into a long summer full of repairs.
Protect Your Outlet from the Rain
Unless your outlet is on a protected porch or enclosure, you should install a weatherproof outlet cover to protect it from the wind and rain. This will keep your outlet dry year-round.