Electricity has brought untold labor savings, but with it comes potential dangers. Just because an electrical system "works" doesn't necessarily mean that it is safe. There may be a number of wiring risks that could jeopardize your farm. According to one insurance industry study, more than 70% of farm fire losses originate with or involve the electrical system.
The following are some hazards to be aware of:
- A corroded ground wire may no longer do its job.
- Rats can feast on cable insulation in a hay mow, easily sparking a fire.
- Metallic boxes, plates, sockets and conduits located in a damp barn can quickly corrode and carry a risk of shock.
- Copper overhead wire installed too tightly can pull off insulators as it constricts in sub-zero weather.
- Inside barns, aluminum wire tends to corrode much faster than copper wire and thus is not permitted by electric code.
- Wires not properly supported or protected can be subject to mechanical damage.
- Combustible dust in a hay mow can cause a fire if an exposed lamp is broken.
Compliance with electrical codes is critical to the safety of your farm's electrical system. For your safety and that of others, all electrical work should be installed and maintained by a qualified electrician who meets state and local requirements. While it isn't necessary for you to know every detail of the codes, it's essential that your electrician does.