Garden Power & Lighting
Electricity versus the elements

Outdoor Power and Lighting

Gardens and garden lighting in particular are now just as important to many homeowners as the interior of their home; However, they present hidden, additional dangers. It’s no coincidence that specific regulations are applied to areas like gardens and bathrooms where a deadly combination of electricity and water mix. For this reason, it’s important to ensure they are correctly installed, ensuring continued safety in all weather conditions.

All outdoor sockets must be RCD protected (see Consumer Units page) and cables run underground must be sufficiently protected to avoid damage from garden tools. Although an alteration to an outdoor circuit, such as a security light, is no longer notifiable (though a minor works certificate should still be issued), any new circuit must be notified to the local authority building control.

Security Lighting

To be one of the most effective components of home defence, many different types of security lights are available to provide increased protection against intruders. Photosensitive, motion activated and timed security lights help prevent home invasions, as most burglars and thieves do not want to be caught in the spotlight. Appropriate fixture, product selection and strategic placement will ensure added safety and optimal security, though the impact on neighbouring properties should be taken into consideration.

Motion detecting lights are among the most popular and most effective types of security lights. These lights are activated when their sensors detect movement, and the sudden illumination of a dark area tends to send any prowlers running.

Outbuildings and Garages

As with all installations safety is paramount, and therefore it is essential to ensure that all regulations are met, including: the provision of protection against electric shock; the correct selection of protective devices; the correct sizing and routing of cables; and the earthing and bonding arrangements.

At 123 Electricians, we will always conduct a site visit in order to ensure that the design meets all the above requirements before any installation commences.

The first consideration is the construction of the outbuilding and its intended purpose: Does it have metal water pipes or metal construction (parts that might become live)? If yes is the answer to either of these questions then we may recommend installing a separate earth system or earth bond those potentially conductive parts back to the house main earth terminal.

Is it intended as a small office or workshop, running a number of power tools? If so, it may be that the supply can be via an existing circuit within the house, an independent (RCBO / RCCB) RCD protected circuit in the existing house Consumer Unit or an additional RCD protected Consumer Unit located in the out building.

Usually the easiest supply is from a spare way in the existing Consumer Unit within the house, but again, there are some elements to take into consideration. It may be that this is best taken before the RCD protection of the main Consumer Unit to prevent nuisance tripping of the house should a fault occur within the house.

If the cable run from the house to the outbuilding is in suitably protected Steel Armoured Wire (SWA) cable then there is no need to safeguard it with an RCD at the house Consumer Unit so long as the armour sheath has earth continuity with the main earth terminal to provide Automatic Disconnection of Supply (the main fuse will blow should the cable be sufficiently damaged).

It might be that there are no spare ways (and you do not wish to replace the house Consumer Unit) in which case we may decide to split the main incoming supply and provide an additional dedicated Consumer Unit within the house which will supply an RCD protected Consumer Unit in the outbuilding.

All of this depends upon your individual requirements and current installation.

Your imagination need not stop there; 123 Electricians want to help you fulfil your dreams, whether that be automated gates to an electric garage door or heating, lighting and filtering an indoor pool, or providing a permanent, safe supply for an outdoor hot tub. Whatever your requirements, 123 Electricians can provide a safe, cost effective solution.