Andy Douglas, MD at Timeguard, takes a look at some of the options professional electricians can offer to help customers make the most of their garden space.
If there was ever a spring to be locked down at home, it was this year’s.
The magnificent weather has made those who are lucky enough to have outdoor space more grateful for it than ever. Gardens have been tended, outbuildings repaired and re-painted. Now it’s time for those finishing touches that call for a professional electrician.
As you’ll be working outside the main home, there should be no problems with maintaining the social distancing rules currently in place, so winning this sort of work should be relatively easy.
What can you offer?
Summer months should mean warmer al fresco evenings and the right lighting can add a lot of extra magic after dark. Check out the latest LEDs – the harsh traditional flood lights have been replaced by sleek slimline LEDs and ultra-compact designs which double as automatic security and manually-controlled courtesy lighting. Unusual and advanced designs like the Timeguard ‘Evo’ range with the automatic PIR switch hidden within the main casing give you more options.
Remember that some people want to sit indoors and look out onto the garden, so think about offering them RF remote control of their outdoor lighting. A particularly neat option for them is the Timeguard RF control fob. Homeowners can use more than one of these battery powered devices per compatible PIR, as handheld devices or discretely fitted behind a standard light switch plate.
Landscaped steps and decking are increasingly popular and you can add super-slimline, compact surface mounted IP65 LED step lights for decoration and safety. Look for double-insulated luminaires that do not require an earth and surface mount back plates so there’s no need to channel out the wall or step. You should be able to find a choice of shapes – square, oblong or round – in your wholesaler catalogue. If not, ask them to order in for you.
Electric barbeques and garden tools all need regular mains power, and purpose-installed outlets are always going to be preferable to leads trailing through doors and windows – we’ve all seen it!
If a customer already has outdoor sockets, it’s worth giving them a health check. You’ll probably find shocking examples of loose casings and missing lids with the socket exposed to the elements and – more importantly – that any IP protection may be long gone. They probably look a bit shabby too.
There’s plenty of choice when looking for replacement sockets but, if one of the main reasons you’re replacing is that the old ones look so bad anyway, then go the extra mile for your customer and choose a replacement that looks stunning and can be relied on to stay that way.
The polycarbonate windows in the Weathersafe Vision from Timeguard will keep their looks and stay clear for years, so users can see the on/off status of the supply at a glance. Look for good neoprene seals that will keep the IP protection intact and think about adding extra functionality to outdoor power outlets with models that include timers, RCD protection and even Wi-Fi control from your mobile or tablet.
No compromise on RCDs
A quick reminder to readers that there are still some dated designs of RCD sockets being sold off from old stock. You should look for compliance with BS 7288:2016: Specification for residual current devices with or without overcurrent protection for socket-outlets for household and similar uses.
This latest standard was published in November 2016, revising, and updating BS 7288:1990. Compliant devices will have a dual-flag indication system to show whether the power is live RED – ON, or Green – OFF when the RCD is tripped, so there’s no room for confusion.
Have a great summer. It’ s not been an easy year all round, and we all deserve some quality garden time, don’t we?
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