Choose the Right Tools for Outdoor Projects

Whatever the outdoor project, take the time before you begin to make sure you have the rights tools for the job, and always inspect electric tools for frayed cords, cracks in the insulation and proper connections.

Tools that are used outdoors have a higher risk of wear and tear. Replace any damaged tools. It is never worth the risk of injury. When purchasing new extension cords, power tools or other equipment for projects, remember to only buy products that have been certified by a recognized safety laboratory, such as UL, ETL or CSA.

Not all electric tools are able to reach the work area, so be sure you use the appropriate extension cord. Only use extension cords that are rated for outdoor use when working outside, and remember, extension cords are for temporary use only.

Use heavy-duty, three-prong extension cords for tools with three-prong plugs. Never remove or bend back the third prong on an extension cord so it fits in a two-prong outlet. The third prong is a safety feature designed to reduce the risk of electrocution or shock. If the plug does not fit into the outlet, the outlet needs replaced.

Keep your work area tidy to reduce the risk of tripping, and do not allow your power cords to tangle. When the project is finished, neatly put your tools away in a dry area. Do not leave tools outdoors.

Electricity and water are a dangerous combination. If it is raining or the ground is wet, do not use electric tools. Never use electrical appliances or touch circuit breakers or fuses when you are wet or standing in water. Keep electric equipment at least 10 feet from wet areas.

Take steps such as making sure outdoor outlets are equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters.   If your outdoor outlets don’t have them, use a portable GFCI. It is recommended that GFCIs be tested monthly, or before every use for portable ones, to ensure they are working properly.

Look up and around you before the start of a project. Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long tools like ladders, pool skimmers, and pruning poles. Keep equipment and yourself at least 10 feet from lines at all times.