Just do it responsibly and with electrical safety in mind

To say that 2020 has been a dumpster fire is an understatement, as well as an insult to actual dumpster fires. Who would’ve predicted back when we were raising our glasses for a toast on New Year’s Eve that this year would have turned out like this?

Heck, even in early March, we really had no idea what was coming. At that time, many of us were thinking about things like our brackets for the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament or perhaps a spring break trip.

And, if you love to entertain and/or consider yourself a grill master, you were probably already imagining what kind of backyard parties you’d be throwing.

Of course, pretty much everything was forced to change. And while some things are slowly returning to normal (or the “new normal,” a phrase we’re frankly getting sick of), your lofty cookout ideas may still be on hold.

Enough is enough. After this crapshoot of a year, we say you deserve to have your party. Sure, you won’t be able to invite the whole neighborhood or have too many friends or family members over (plus-side: no annoying in-laws), but so what? You can still have a great shindig, albeit in a socially distant kind of way. And to keep everybody safe, we’ve got some outdoor electrical tips for you: 

Be wary of powerlines

To make sure your yard is ready for guests (or just you, however that pans out), you’ll probably spend a good amount of time mowing, weeding, and maybe even planting.

But if trimming or pruning is on your list, it’s vital that you’re extra careful, especially when working around powerlines. First of all, you should never be cutting within 10 feet of lines; if the situation calls for it, get in touch with the power company or a professional. Secondly, don’t use a metal ladder. We think the reason here is pretty obvious, but just in case, the metal will increase the chance of electrocution.

Check your outlets

Whether an electric grill, stereo, bug zapper, bubble machine, or anything else, you need to ensure that your outdoor outlets will be able to safely handle all your stuff. It is very important that they are powered by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

If a short circuit or current leak is detected, they will automatically shut the power off. In addition, all outdoor outlets should have waterproof covers that are completely closed when not in use. There are also “weatherproof while in use” covers that will keep an outlet protected when a cord is plugged into it.

Use the right extension cords

Unless you have several outdoor outlets, you’ll probably need to use an extension cord for your party. But before you search for that one you’ve been using since college; do you even know if it’s rated for outdoor use?

This is important for a couple of reasons. Extension cords specifically made to be used outside are thicker, which makes them more durable. They are also designed to be weather-resistant. Indoor extension cords may become a shock or fire hazard when used outside.

Focus on both pretty and practical lighting

If you’re like us, you won’t even think about planning a party until you have spent a countless amount of time on Pinterest getting ideas. The lighting pics, in particular, are magical.

And if you plan to recreate one of them or perhaps do your own thing, terrific. However, you don’t want to forget some of the less-than-Instagrammable stuff around your home, like the porch light and floodlights. Your guests may not appreciate all of the trouble you went to after they stumble through a dimly lit part of your lawn.

Make the pool hazard-free

If you have a pool and plan to make it a central part of your party – a veritable “pool party,” if you will – clearly, safety has to be a major concern. Try to keep any electrical items as far away as possible, and if you can, use battery-powered devices.

It could also be a very good idea to have all electrical components, including the lighting or heating system, inspected to make sure they’re in good condition. The same is true for a hot tub. And of course, if bad weather strikes and there’s thunder and lightning, everybody should get out of the pool and maybe go inside and play Yahtzee or something.

There’s no escaping the disaster that is 2020, but a party could give you a nice respite, at least for a few hours anyway. And to help ensure that all of your electrical stuff is in fine working order, get in touch with Universal Electrical.