Many properties use outdoor lighting to improve exterior aesthetics and provide illumination for nighttime. Some homeowners even invest in specialized outdoor lighting designs that use light sources of varying sizes, shapes, colors, and brightness to create the desired visual effect. Apart from this, adding decorative light fixtures also adds to the curb appeal of a property. Altogether, these light sources brighten up the lawn, walkways, and doorway to boost the exterior’s functionality, comfort, and visual quality.
Given their crucial role in boosting comfort, aesthetics, and security in the household, ensuring outdoor lighting safety should be considered an essential part of the home’s general upkeep. However, outdoor light fixtures, bulbs, and other electrical devices are more exposed to various elements, making them more susceptible to damage. Also, their protection and maintenance are sometimes overlooked because they’re not as frequently accessed compared to indoor lights.
It’s always best to observe safety for electrical installations inside and outside the property for everyone’s benefit. If you’d like some tips on how to follow safe outdoor lighting in your household, here are some suggestions you can consider:
Hire Professional Outdoor Lighting Services
If you’d like to install new outdoor lighting for your home, consider getting expert services from lighting companies such as Washington Outdoor Lighting In Seattle. These companies provide creative, high-quality lighting designs for residential properties. Moreover, they comply with safety standards imposed by regulatory boards when installing outdoor lighting systems, further guaranteeing quality and professional-grade installation that’s worth the investment.
Take Precaution When Installing Outdoor Lighting
Installing a lighting system requires a specific background and knowledge level to ensure safety and efficiency. Hence, you need to be sure of your installation plan if you want to put up outdoor lighting on your own. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from professionals if you have questions.
To take precautions, you can consider the following safety tips for installing outdoor lighting:
- Turn off the main power before starting any installation work.
- Switch off the circuit breaker.
- Use a socket tester to confirm the safety of the circuits before and after installation.
- Follow installation guidelines from the building and wiring code specific to your location.
- Notify other household occupants of any ongoing installation projects.
Aside from these suggestions, you also need to take extra care if you have young children and pets at home. Keep them away from your work area and ensure all tools and materials are out of reach.
Use GFCI Protective Devices
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are specialized electrical outlets that boost the safety of various devices. This type of receptacle prevents shocks or electrocutions in extreme cases.
In many locations, GFCI receptacles are required by building and wiring codes to be installed in various parts of the house, including the bathroom, kitchen, garage, and other living spaces. These receptacles are ideal for outdoor electrical setups such as deck lighting designs since they can disrupt the electrical flow.
In essence, they can prevent fires, overheating, and other electric-related accidents.
Use Lighting Devices Safe For Outdoor Use
Lighting devices such as fixtures, bulbs, and extensions intended for outdoor use are specially designed with more durable materials that can withstand exposure to the elements and drastic weather changes. Given this, it’s crucial to only use outdoor-safe items for your lighting design.
Here are some examples of electrical devices and accessories you may need when putting up outdoor lighting and how to determine the right ones to purchase:
When purchasing light fixtures such as sconces, wall lights, and pathway lights, look for notes on the label that specifies if they’re safe for outdoor use. Some also determine if the item is ‘damp-rated’ or ‘wet-rated.’ These terms may be used interchangeably and imply that a light fixture can be safely placed near high-moisture locations such as the pool area or the lawn.
Using wet-rated and outdoor-safe bulbs is an excellent way to prevent damage and electrical accidents in the household. These rated bulbs are made with materials suitable for temperature changes and moist exposure, making them ideal for outdoor use.
There are also outdoor-rated extension cords you can safely use for your outdoor light sources. Outdoor-type extension cords have protective insulation that can withstand moisture, sun damage, and temperature fluctuations.
Fairy lights create a unique ambiance if used outdoors, though it’s essential to take precautions when hanging them on your lawn or patio. First, you’ll need to ensure that they’re intended for outdoor use or select an ‘indoor-outdoor’ type for better flexibility.
Temporary lighting strings and ornaments can also cause safety hazards if not appropriately attached. Any damage to the wire poses a risk of electrocution and can trigger a fire. To prevent this, it’s essential to take extra care of the wiring and avoid using anything that can damage its surface or cause it to break.
One of the best ways to attach fairy lights to a wall or post is to use plastic cable ties. They can secure the wiring and support its weight without damaging any parts. They’re also easy to use and remove when needed.
Follow The Recommended Wattage For Each Fixture
Light fixtures commonly have labels that indicate the maximum wattage level recommended for use. Following this wattage instruction will help prevent the wiring from overheating and damaging the fixture. Aside from this, using a bulb with too much wattage can melt the light socket and, in extreme cases, trigger arc faults that can lead to fires.
Observe Fire Safety
Light bulbs, when in use, produce a significant amount of heat. This heat is strong enough to spark a fire when put in contact with flammable materials such as paper or cloth. Thus, it’s essential to place any combustible material, such as dried leaves or flowers or décor made of light plastic materials, away from your outdoor light sources.
Turning off lights when not in use is also an effective fire safety technique. Switching them off when you leave the area or when there’s sufficient lighting will prevent the bulbs from overheating. You can also save on power consumption through this simple practice.
Aside from overheating, faulty wiring is also a leading cause of house fires. Here are some signs of faulty wiring:
- An unusual or burning odor coming from switches or receptacles
- Discoloration in electrical devices such as cords and outlets
- Flickering lights
- Recurrent issues in fuses and circuit breakers
Any signs of problems in electrical wiring need to be addressed immediately to avoid fire hazards. In these instances, you may require the help of a licensed electrician to remedy the problem as soon as possible.
Use Weather-Resistant Outlets
Apart from using GFCI outlets, the National Electrical Code in the US also requires homes with outdoor lighting to use weather-resistant outlets for added safety. This type of outlet comes with a cover that prevents water, snow, and debris from coming in contact with the receptacles and the wiring inside them.
Essentially, the protective covering prevents fire and electrical hazards, which boosts the safety of your outdoor lighting system.
Inspect Devices Before Use
If you’re planning to use lighting devices such as bulbs, extensions, and fixtures that have been stored for some time, it’s essential to scrutinize them first before use. This way, you’ll be able to identify any damage, corrosion, or burn marks that would signify they’re not safe.
When in doubt, it’s best to dispose of items that haven’t been used for prolonged periods to avoid fire hazards.
Prevent Circuit Overload
Overloaded circuits are one of the most common causes of house fires. When the power consumption of appliances exceeds a circuit’s capacity, it’ll cause overheating, damage the wires, and start a fire.
Here are some signs of an overloaded circuit:
- Circuit breaker malfunction
- Flickering lights
- Unusual buzzing sounds from switches and outlets
- Elevated heat coming from receptacles and switches
- Burn marks
- Mild shock coming from appliances
To prevent circuit overload, it’s best to distribute appliance usage evenly and have more than one available for outdoor use. This way, you’ll be able to use your lighting design when needed without worrying about the level of power consumption.
A well-designed outdoor lighting display is a valuable addition to the property. It can instantly elevate curb appeal, boost comfort levels when spending time outdoors, and enhance safety and security for the household as well. However, safety should always be prioritized when it comes to home design, which also applies to outdoor lighting.
Any device that requires an electric supply should be carefully installed and utilized to prevent fire and safety hazards. Electrical systems may cause harm to the property and its occupants, which is why safety should always be observed and maintained. So, it’s wise to equip yourself with knowledge relevant to electrical safety at home.
Lastly, it’s vital to seek help from professionals who can help you improve electrical safety in your outdoor living space. This way, you’ll be able to protect yourself, your family, and your property while having quality outdoor lighting in place.