Improving Your Yard?

Posted: March 7, 2022 at 9:30 am

The lengthening of daylight makes us feel as if Spring is right around the corner – and it is! Many of us begin planning improvements to our outdoor space.

Being aware of power line locations near your home is vitally important for your family’s safety. Even drop-down lines — the lines that bring power to a home — have voltages running through them and can be dangerous. Always look up and around for power lines, recognizing too that electricity can jump or transfer even without direct contact, before starting any outdoor project. Also know what’s below before starting any digging job.

Elmhurst and Safe Electricity offer these tips to keep in mind while working in your yard:

  • Assume all power lines are always energized and keep at least 10 feet between a power line and you or any item you are holding.
  • Perform a hazard assessment of the work area, noting all power line locations.
  • Call the underground utility locator service (dial 8-1-1) to mark underground utilities before any digging. The service is free.
  • Utility locators do not mark private lines. These are typically installed by the homeowner or a contractor and include irrigation or septic system lines, lines that service outbuildings, lines between the meter and your home, and lines to outdoor items like grills or hot tubs.

Private lines need to be marked by an independent locating service.

Do not install tree houses, playsets, pools or decks, and any associated structures within 25 feet of a power line. Consider the height and reach of play equipment and all deck and pool structures in relation to power lines.

Educate your children about power line safety and how electricity can jump. Teach them to never touch a power line or get too close to one — either directly or with a toy or object. This is especially important if they climb trees, fly kites, or use remote-control devices such as drones.

Use extreme caution when moving ladders and operating long-handled tools around trees and power lines. Also look up and around for power lines when you are elevated, whether it be on a ladder, a boom lift, scaffolding, or your roof.

When planting and trimming trees, keep in mind that specialized tree trimming experts are the only persons legally allowed to trim within 10 feet of power lines.