Electrics for Ponds and Water Features – you need a Part P qualified electrician
Ponds and water features in the garden are the horticultural equivalent of the TV in the living room. Many gardens use them as their visual focal point. Water provides sound, colour and movement (just like the tv) plus ponds attract a wealth of wildlife.
Water features can be built with creativity and enthusiasm to bring tranquility and harmony to your outdoor living area. To get the maximum value from your pond or water feature, you need to be able to enjoy it in the evening as well as during the day therefore water is always a prime candidate for lighting, whether it is moving or still.
With ponds, you may wish to have a water feature, a fountain, cascade or rill. With their constant motion water features are great candidates for lighting up at night with surround lighting, or even underwater lighting.
Underwater up lighting of a waterfall or fountain is a common and effective technique. Glistening water and the shimmering light projected by underwater lighting through moving water can be fascinating.
Cross lighting of marginal planting or a pond side feature from underwater can produce a contrasting, subtle effect, but careful positioning is needed to avoid the error of a well-lit liner! And remember that good underwater lighting is fundamentally dependent on the clarity of the water, and therefore of the quality of filtration.
Lighting still ponds allows you to soak up their serenity in the stillness of summer dusk.
Humans (you, your family and friends), pets, fish and wildlife all have to be considered when it comes to pond safety. And ensuring the safety of one can often help to preserve the other…
Be safe in your garden
Everyone knows that electricity and water can make a potentially lethal combination at the best of times so do not ignore the obvious need for safety with the installation of electrical pumps, lights or filters around the pond. It is crucial that when adding these features that all electrical safety needs are taken into account from the beginning of the planning stage to full installation. Such installations need to be carried out by a Part P qualified electrician to ensure they are installed correctly and also to take into account your homes current electrical capacity with full certification for installations.
There have been new regulations over the last few years, notably Part P of the Building Regulations and the Outdoor Weatherproof Safety standards (IP56). For many pond keepers confusion has grown over what you can safely and legally do for yourself. With some surprisingly stiff penalties for non-compliance and the possibility of major complications when you want to sell your house, it is clearly worth making sure you stay on the right side of the law, not to mention safeguarding your own health and well being.
In other words, when installing lights and anything electrical in or near a pond or water feature, be sure to contact an approved Part P electrician, to help you plan and install your garden and pond electrical needs. We can even install a convenient radio remote controlled solution for switching various devices on/off, or reducing/increasing pump flow rates by speed control.
Thinking about safety…
You may feel that your water garden needs a few additional features which could require electricity, lighting and additional construction. There are a few safety concerns that you should be aware of when you are working around a pond that has already been constructed and when using electricity.
- We recommend the use of a 12 volt lighting system. This is inherently safe, even if the cable or light fitting is compromised. Putting a 240 volt mains electricity into water is only for those who enjoy living extremely dangerously and definitely not recommended.
- Most manufacturers build in cut-outs on their equipment, and pond owners should incorporate some form of RCD circuit breaker into their equipment. Many modern houses now have RCD systems as standard but also check with your approved electrician for the suitability of your existing home circuit.
- When adding an electrical outlet that you are going to use in the water garden you should keep your outlet within four feet of the water garden.
- Weatherproof connectors, switches, sockets and padlocked outdoor connection boxes should be used. In the end, for complete safety, outdoor electricity is a job for the expert qualified Part P electrician.
- You should never use extension cords for any of the features that you want to add to the water garden as extension cords used over long periods of time can cause fires.
- All outdoor wiring needs to be done to high standards. All cables from house to pond should be armoured, buried and protected, with tiles covered with black and yellow waspy warning tape.
- If you are going to move lights, fix your filtrating system or change the current on your water fall features, you first should unplug anything that is plugged in to electricity to prevent shock or injury.
- When installing lights in or around the water garden, be sure to choose a low voltage light that will save you money on the electric bill plus they are safer in case of any accidents happening when you have electricity and water combined.
- Any lights or light sockets that you buy for the water garden should be water proof.
- A water proof light will not let any water in around the bulb or the outlet in the case of rain or when the water is splashed from the pond.
- Every time that you change a light bulb in or around the water garden it will be a good time to consider reviewing the sockets that you have installed in the water garden to check for any rust or corrosion in the sockets.
So before your reach out for the shopping basket, whether that is online or in your local DIY store, contact S. Trott Electrical Services so you can talk through your installation ideas with an approved Part P electrician, obtain a free quotation and if your decide to go ahead with the full installation feeling confident that your water feature and electrical installation are in very safe hands.