How Lisa and her family safely use electric power tools outdoors

The switch to Daylight Savings Time has me dreaming of long summer days out in my yard. But before that can happen, we’re going to need to so some yardwork.

My yard is small, but there is still a lot of work to be done. We’re going to have to rake the grass to find any debris that has landed there after a couple of really windy days this winter. We had a few sticks from our trees land in the yard and we’ll cut those into kindling for our fire pit. We’ll see if the edges of the grass need whacking and we’ll probably have to mow, even though it’s a little early. I’ve been keeping a list of chores to be done.

While our lawn mower is powered by gas, some of our other outdoor tools are electric. Our weed whacker is one of those tools. Ordinarily, we’ll plug this into our outdoor outlet and go to town on the weeds.

But looking through Avista’s advice for outdoor power tools, I see that we should have some sort of circuit breaker to cut the power in case of a surge. Inside my home, I have several ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in my outlets—I didn’t know that was their name, but they are the ones with the buttons you push on the newer outlets, and if you overload the circuit, they shut off the electricity. But if you don’t have one for your outdoor outlets, you are in luck. You can buy one a circuit breaker extension, anywhere from $14 to $300, I got mine for about $30 at the hardware store.

As with all of our outdoor power tools, we follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure we are using them safely. It’s been a couple of years since we bought our lawn mower, but I downloaded a copy of its manual online. I did the same for our weed whacker.

Now that we have the safety in place for our yard work, we’re going to get busy so we can enjoy our yard this summer.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday.

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