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Spring Electrical Safety Tips from OHS and Your Sterling Electricians!

Posted on: February 28, 2014

It might be hard to believe, but even with as cold as it’s been, spring is on the way! And while you’re out enjoying the outdoors, the Sterling electricians at Kolb Electric want to bring you some electrical safety tips to make this spring safe and fun!

Keep power cords away from water – you probably already know this, but water and electricity don’t mix. Any time you’re dealing with electricity, make sure you’re working in a completely dry environment. You should also consider testing your GFI outlets.

Beware of power lines – if your spring cleaning involves getting up on a ladder or using a long-handled pool-cleaning tool, make sure you know you’re clear of power lines before you start. Power lines are interesting—if you were to hang from one without your feet touching the ground, you would be safe. However, coming into contact with power lines while you’re standing on the ground is a different story, as the electric current will travel through you on its way to the ground. Note that if the power lines are low enough, this could happen even if you’re just standing under them!

Always call before you dig – underground power lines are just as dangerous as overhead power lines, and since you can’t see them, it’s almost impossible to know where they are! If your spring plans involve digging of any kind, like adding an addition to your home or even planting a tree, make sure you call to confirm that it’s safe to do so!

Keep materials, tools, and all body parts at least 15 ft away from overhead lines – like we said above, power lines can strike you even if you’re standing too close to them. 15 ft is the safest minimum distance, so make sure you’re aware of this, especially if you’re working on the roof.

Never fly kites or model airplanes near power lines – we keep harping on the power line issue because they can be very dangerous if you’re not careful. If you have a kite or model airplane that ends up getting tangled in power lines, don’t try to get it down yourself—call your local utility provider for assistance. As a side note, make sure you never use any metallic materials in your kite—these can conduct electricity back to you.

Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before every use – frayed power cords, broken plugs, and weathered or damaged housings can make your equipment dangerous to use, so don’t use anything until it has been repaired properly. When not in use, keep these tools unplugged and store them in a dry area.

Watch out for power lines hidden behind foliage – before you trim tree limbs and shrubs, make sure there are no power lines hiding behind them. If you are concerned about tree limbs growing on or around overhead power lines on your property, call your local utility provider.

Keep your electrical box clear – you know that large, green, ground-level box you may have in your yard? That box houses the components of an underground electrical system. Keep it clear of vegetation and other permanent structures, as utility workers may need to access the underground lines and equipment during unplanned outages or routine maintenance.

Do not use electric mowers on wet grass – as we said in the beginning, water and electricity are a dangerous combo. Only use an electric mower on dry grass, and if you need to use an extension cord, make sure you use an insulated cord designed for outdoor use and with the correct power rating for your equipment.

Treat all power lines the same – some power lines are high voltage, some are low voltage. For safety, treat all power lines as if they are harmful—because chances are, they will be!

The Sterling electricians at Kolb Electric want to wish everyone a happy and safe spring season. And if you need an electrician in Sterling or anywhere else in the MD/DC/VA area, call Kolb Electric today!

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