Published: 13 Jul 2018
When having external electrics installed it pays to have them done right the first time. External electrics can include anything from outside security lights, weatherproof sockets, up lights in decking or bollard lights, Pond pumps, water features, electrics to a shed or outhouse and much more!
Most people think that external power is just the same as internal wiring and can be done easily, or feel simply running an extension lead will be safe. Actually external wiring needs to be more protected than internal cables, must be waterproof and installed safely up to current standards, to stop the risk of electric shock and nuisance tripping of your electrical system.
Over the years we have experienced many DIY external electrical systems, most of which are incorrectly installed, either being dangerous, causing tripping of the power in the property or just not working correctly.
All cables outside must be mechanically protected this is because the elements outside can cause cables and fittings to deteriorate over time, this is common with weather conditions going from hot to cold, wet to dry and animals thinking that an electrical cable could look like their next meal.
Generally when running cables outside they will be buried under ground (where possible) and the cable itself would be armoured or enclosed in a conduit, or both! All fittings for outside use are usually called IP65 rated fittings which means they are water and dust proof and will not be damaged by rain or particles getting in, this is for all outside sockets and junction boxes. Lights don’t technically have to be rated as high as they don’t usually have water ingress coming from every angle, we like to use a high IP rated light fittings anyway for peace of mind.
Other uses for outside power could be to power things like hot tubs, car chargers or summer houses to name a few. When considering installing power outside please make sure you use a qualified and experienced electrician as once they have been installed incorrectly it can be more difficult and costly to resolve. It is also crucial that all external electrical circuits are protected by a 30 mA RCD unit for proper protection.
If you are thinking about installing external power make sure you call a professional.