How To Safely Wire Outdoor Appliances … When doing work outdoors from putting lighting in your summer house, to a pump in your pond, first things first: you must comply with building regulations. Secondly you have to ensure that you have correctly installed a residual current device (RCD) and that it works. You can purchase plug in RCDs or you can replace your current socket with one that has an RCD built in.
If you use electrical appliances in your garden regularly it makes sense to install an outdoor socket, rather than trail leads out of windows all the time. Fitting one is easy, just add a spur onto an existing internal circuit and connect a weather-proof socket.
If you don’t want to lay endless reams of cable in your house, find an internal socket on an outside wall, and position the outdoor socket on the other side of the wall to it. If you don’t have one, then run cable along the wall from an existing socket and drill a hole through to where you want to site your outdoor socket.
Again, ensure you comply with building regulations and use a continuity checker to confirm that the internal socket you are connecting your outdoor socket to isn’t in fact a spur itself and that it isn’t feeding another socket.
Image Source – lightupuk.co.uk
Before starting work, turn off the electricity at the source. It will mean you have to use a cordless drill, however it is better to do this than work live.
For the outdoor socket purchase a weather-proof box with a built in, highly sensitive RCD. This is essential when working outdoors – any sort of dew on the ground, or rain falling can be potentially life threatening.
Once the outdoor socket is fitted (if it’s metal, make sure it is earthed) test the RCD every time you want to use it by plugging in an appliance and pressing the test button. If the RCD shuts off the power to the appliance it is working, simply reset the RCD and use the socket as normal. If the RCD doesn’t break the circuit call out an electrician leeds.
Bear in mind if you are planning any serious electrical work to be done in your garden, Part P of the building regulations stipulates that you must let Building Control Authorities know or have a Part P qualified electrician do the work for you.
Any electrical equipment that you are using outdoors must be designated as safe to use outdoors. Never use indoor extension leads outside as the insulating materials used are different to the materials used in outdoor extension leads.
Outdoor extension leads are expected to work in tougher environments: changing humidity levels, temperature and extended exposure to sunlight; the casing has been designed with that in mind. Also remember that cables have different ratings depending on what they are being used for – a table lamp is going to draw a lot less power than a leaf blower, so use the correct extension lead with a suitable rating.
Finally, if you are unsure about anything, there are suitable alternatives that don’t require you to use mains electricity outdoors – garden lights come in low voltage options as do some appliances. Always stay safe outdoors.