Home>Our domestic electrician explains: the dangers of underground outlets

Our domestic electrician explains: the dangers of underground outlets

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As a domestic electrician, we get asked a lot about what is an isn’t dangerous – we figure it’s people sniffing around to determine whether something they can do something themselves… 

Our answer? Simply – no. At anyplace and anytime, we flat-out advise you to never do your own electrical work – the risk is not worth it.

Not to mention, it’s illegal!

That’s why, when it comes to the safety aspects of electrics that people are commonly unfamiliar with – we want to clue you in, so you know not to make assumptions like “I can do it myself”. 

It’s important to the team at Briggs that you understand both the convenience of underground outlets – as well as the potential dangers if they are installed incorrectly!

As a domestic electrician in Melbourne, we are passionate about ensuring that Melbourne is kept safe – especially around electrical features like underground outlets.

Our domestic electrician explains: what do underground outlets do?

Like the name suggests, underground outlets are just that – electrical outlets that are run underground and supply power to outdoor electrical appliances.

Instead of having to deal with lengths of exposed cabling or poorly-hidden tubing running throughout the outdoor areas of your property, underground outlets keep everything looking seamless and clean.

There are several techniques for doing so:

  • Laying cables directly into the ground – the simplest and most straightforward method
  • Running wires through rigid metal conduits – picture vines growing on a fence, but with electrical cabling
  • Installing cables with PVC or metal tubing – this provides protection for your cabling

Each method comes with its own challenges, as well as different minimum depths.

No matter which one you opt for however, the resulting underground outlets allow you to use electricity outdoors without the associated tripping hazard, or having to worry about exposed cables bringing down the appearance of your garden.

Why get underground outlets installed in your home or business?

As domestic electricians, we get a lot of questions about underground outlets.

In fact, they make up a surprisingly large amount of the jobs we get called out to!

It’s no surprise that underground outlets are so common – they can be extremely helpful to both domestic properties and commercial properties.

In domestic properties, an underground outlet can help to maximise you your entertaining experiences.

Your domestic electrician can optimise safety in your backyard by getting rid of tripping hazards with an underground outlet.

And in the office, an underground outlet can be used to make it easier to provide outdoor lighting – from workplace to the car park, for example – keeping your customers and your employees safe.

Why install underground outlets in your home?

Have you ever wanted a well-lilt garden? Or perhaps an outdoor spa? Maybe you simply want an electric socket in the backyard for power tools like hedge trimmers.

Each of these needs an outdoor source of electricity – hence, underground outlets!

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There are actually a long list of electrical systems that operate outside:

  • Outdoor lighting
  • Barbecue/entertainment equipment
  • Outdoor heating
  • Outdoor bar
  • Security systems

At the moment, you may be relying on extension cords, or above-ground cables, protected by rubber sheaths.

While this will get the job done, it isn’t ideal!

Underground outlets are plain safer – no tripping hazards or water damage here. Not to mention, they’re also much more convenient.

The case for underground outlets in commercial properties

Underground outlets can also be extremely helpful for commercial properties (as long as they are installed by a licensed, qualified commercial electrician, of course).

Any outdoor work that requires electricity will benefit from underground outlets. Instead of having to set up long extension cords or use heavy portable generators, your workers will be able to get straight to work.

It isn’t just work, however – some examples of how underground outlets can help your business include:

  • Outdoor and car park lighting
  • Security systems and burglar alarms
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Electrically operating access gates

Ask a domestic electrician: are there any dangers with underground outlet installation?

Just because an outlet is stored underground doesn’t mean it’s invulnerable to outdoor weather conditions.

In our experience, a layer of soil won’t always be enough to protect underground outlets from the elements!

Different methods of underground outlet each have a unique minimum depth – this protects your underground outlets.

Water and electricity don’t mix

It’s no secret that water and electricity don’t mix, so you want to make sure you’re taking all the appropriate precautions such as protective sheaths and waterproof tubing.

The proximity of water features like pools, ponds and fountains also need to be taken into consideration.

If you place the outlet too close, it can cause serious danger – especially if water from your water feature seeps through the soil and reaches your wiring.

You can never be too careful when working with water and electricity in the same space.

To avoid these issues, your domestic electrician will carefully plan around these when drafting up a proposal for your underground wiring that incorporates:

  • Proximity of underground outlet to pools and water features
  • Existing electrical setup’s ability to handle the extra load from additional outlet
  • The appropriate cables for installation underground
  • Solar power needs
  • Waterproofing switches and fittings

A domestic electrician ensures everything’s up to code

Safety isn’t the only reason to call a professional (though it’s certainly a compelling one) – there are also very specific standards, codes and regulations that all electrical work must meet.

The list of requirements is long – you could spend a lifetime learning them.

It isn’t just electrical codes, either – since the job involves digging, there’s a whole host of other regulations and permits you’ll need to adhere to.

Work that doesn’t match the code might be fined. Worse, should anything go wrong, very few insurance providers will cover it.

If you want to ensure that your underground outlets are 100% up-to-scratch, you need a commercial or domestic electrician on your side.

In order to be licensed as an electrician, candidates need to successfully complete an ESV (EnergySafe Victoria) assessment that covers, among other things, their understanding of electrical and building codes.

Hire a licensed commercial electrician to install your underground outlet

The professional team at Briggs Electrical has a 15 years experience servicing Melbourne’s electrical needs.

We’re Melbourne’s favourite domestic electricians – and a large part of that is our wide range of services.

We don’t only do garden-variety electrical work – our team are also licensed to perform big, specialised electrical jobs including underground outlet laying.

And make no mistake, it is a specialised job – in addition to laying the cables, your electrician in Melbourne will also have to:

  • Dig up sections of your garden
  • Ensure that the cables are safe from damage
  • Properly waterproof and insulate your cables

You need a specialist electrician for this type of job – luckily, Briggs Electrical is more than capable!

Whether you are looking for a commercial, domestic or emergency electrician – our team of electricians in Melbourne can help you!

You can call us on 1300 300 222 24/7, every day of the year. 

Or if you would simply like to lodge a job, you can do so on our website and our friendly team will be in contact soon.