Homeowner Safety Tips: Living With Power Lines on or Near Your Property
While it is totally up to you whether you buy a house with high-frequency power lines nearby, there aren't many homeowners who would choose to live without electricity. The wires and cables that heat and cool homes and keep residents "connected" may not be aesthetically beautiful, but they are necessary.
Basically, because the utilities that make life easier must be brought to your house either underground or overhead, utility companies are granted easements to your property for maintenance and repair needs. Know where your easements are and the rules governing them.
A power loss is aggravating even if it lasts only a few moments and extended outages can be a source of great discomfort. But, for the most part, a power outage is handled relatively quickly and is not life-threatening. When the lights go out because of severe weather, the power company will do its best to restore service as soon as possible.
In addition, there are positive steps that can minimize the risk of problems.
Trees and Overhanging Limbs
Tree branches and vines grow up, around, over, under and through overhead lines. They are troublesome for power lines, and can damage your roof as well. While most neighborhoods and municipalities have ordinances governing tree height and encroachment, it's part of being "neighborly" to assure that your trees are trimmed regularly.
If utilities run underground, roots can cause damage to electrical and telephone cables as well as to gas and water lines, and homeowners are commonly held responsible for line breaks.
High Winds, Rain, Snow and Ice, Lightening
There's not much anyone can do about the weather, other than prepare for the possibility that the lights will go out, and heat and air conditioning systems will fail. It's always wise to have flashlights and candles on hand, along with adequate water and a supply of snacks or canned food that requires no cooking.
During severe storms, the power poles, as well as the lines, can suffer damage or be destroyed. Underground lines might also be affected by flooding, and storm repairs that require underground digging can damage cables. On top of standard overhead line safety precautions, further actions should be taken to avoid being near power lines during bad weather. Again, take no chances with cut, downed or flooded lines or electrical fires.
Rodents, Birds and Insects
Squirrels may be cute as they run up poles and along the electric lines, but they can also pose some problems. Critters also like to take up residence in an attic or between the walls, increasing the risk of electrical outages. All nesting animals, including possums and squirrels, mice and rats, bees, wasps and even birds, constitute a threat.
The best way to protect your home is to keep the critters away from those power lines and out of the home. In addition to sealing around the points where wiring enters your home, check out an innovative line guard line guard. It constitutes that proverbial "ounce of prevention" and provides peace of mind for homeowners.
- John Sims