That might mean adding a practical feature, like a patio heater, so you can use your garden year-round, or something much more exciting, like a hot tub All these things need power, and garden electrics must be fitted by a qualified professional, or you run the risk of damaging your property, or worse, a causing serious injury.
In this blog, we cover a range of options for powering your outdoor electrics from sockets to hardwiring, and look at how to choose the right electrician for the job.
Fitting an outdoor socket is the safest way to power electrical appliances in your garden. There are a whole host of garden essentials that require power, including:
Though it might be tempting to daisy chain several extension leads together to reach your garden, dangerous overloading can lead to an electrical fire. It’s far safer to ask an electrician to install sockets outside, and much more convenient for you to use without the hindrance of long trailing wires, particularly while trying to mow the lawn.
Outdoor sockets are designed to be weather proof, but they should still be fitted in a sheltered spot, where possible, to protect them from the full force of the rain. Your electrician will choose sockets that have a high IP rating (known as ingress protection). IP68 is recommended for outdoor use, which means it offers the maximum protection from both water and dust – both things that could find their way into your electrics.
Rather than being plugged in, some electrical devices must be hardwired by taking an electrical feed from an existing circuit, using what’s known as a fused spur. This is typically how you would run power to a security light, CCTV camera, or hot tub.
If you are powering a hot tub, then it must be placed at least two metres away from the power outlet. Water and electricity do not mix, and to protect you from severe electric shock there are additional regulations around garden electrics and swimming pools.
We recommend keeping all electrical devices away from water and avoiding getting your appliances unnecessarily wet – never wash electrical equipment while it’s plugged in, and don’t use your garden tools in the rain. Even where they’re fitted with the right safety protection, there is still a small risk, which is simply not worth taking.
If you have an outbuilding that needs power – a summerhouse, for example – then your electrician will connect it to the mains power supply in your house. This is particularly useful if the space doubles up as a teenage den or home office because besides the basic lighting and heating, you are also likely to need a lot of sockets.
Before you contact an electrician, think about how you plan to use the space, and the sorts of electrics you’ll need to power. Consider including:
The electrical supply you require will determine the size of the cable that runs from your mains supply to the outbuilding. This cable is known as a steel wired armoured cable and is designed to be buried underground in a trench, however, if it’s more convenient, your electrician may choose to run it along a wall instead.
All garden electrics must be protected with a residual current device (RCD). This is a type of circuit breaker, which quickly trips if it recognises an earth leakage. So, if you accidentally cut through a wire outside – for example, a lawnmower wire – then the RCD will recognise the problem and turn off the power. This safety device is used to protect you from a severe electric shock and is part of the UK wiring regulations.
Running power to your garden usually involves adding to an existing circuit or installing a new one – this is considered ‘notifiable work’ under Part P of the building regulations. The work must be undertaken by an electrician qualified to high industry standards and signed-off by the local authority. An electrician registered with a competent person’s scheme, such as Stroma or the NICEIC, can self-certify their own work.
Never attempt to install electrics in your outdoor space – even an enthusiastic DIY-er with experience could easily come unstuck. The result of something going wrong could have catastrophic consequences, and lead to a serious, or even fatal, injury. Remember, that when it comes to selling your house, you will need the paperwork that certifies the electrical work is safe, and this can only be issued by a qualified, registered electrician.
Our electricians have over 30 years of experience in outdoor electrics. Qualified to the highest standards, we can advise you on the safest and most cost-effective solution, whether you need power supply to your summerhouse or you’re installing a hot tub.
We cover Sheffield and the surrounding areas, and as a local business our reputation is everything. We are also members of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, and we are committed to making sure that residents are given the very best that our city has to offer.
If you are considering how to power your garden electrics, we can help. Contact us for a no-obligation chat or to arrange a visit from one of our team. We can look at your outdoor space, assess what’s possible, and provide a free, itemised quote for the work. We offer a quality job at a fair price, and we promise to be completely transparent in all our dealings with you – rest assured that your are in safe hands with Emcal Systems.