Safety Concerns To Consider With That Unsightly Transformer Box In Your Yard

Many homeowners are less than thrilled when a transformer box is located in their yard or on their front lawn. These large metal boxes can indeed be an eyesore. However, more than that, they can be a hazard if not properly addressed. If you have a transformer box on your property, there are certain safety concerns to be aware of since one box can contain 7,200 volts of electricity. Though they look innocent, these boxes carry a deadly amount of voltage so it is vital to protect people and pets from it. It's also important to always keep it accessible to electricity workers.

Transformer boxes in yards are part of the electrical system that delivers power to a neighborhood. These boxes are usually found in areas where electric service is buried underground. As their name suggests, they house a transformer. Transformers take high-voltage electricity from power lines and convert it to a lower voltage that can be safely used in homes in an area. Your transformer box likely supplies not only your house but several of your neighbors' homes, too.

Always allow access to the transformer

While transformer boxes are unsightly and you may want to try to hide them on your property, it's important to remember that they contain high-voltage equipment that is vital. Your local utility company needs immediate access to them in case of a power outage. The quicker they can get to the box, the sooner they can repair the issue. Fences and gates should never be placed near the box. In fact, you should never dig close to a transformer box since underground wires from the transformer can run in various directions. Hitting one while digging can cause electrocution. Before digging any holes in your yard, always call 811, the "call before you dig" hotline.

However, you can grow plants at a safe distance from the box and should aim to maintain a clearance of at least 9-10 feet in front of the box and 3-4 feet of clearance on the sides and back. Trees and shrubs shouldn't be planted near a transformer box. Consider planting low-growing flowers and ground cover plants. This can also be a good opportunity to add colorful ornamental grass to your landscape. You can also opt to place potted plants in the location or use decorative rocks or small statues while maintaining a safe distance. If you have any questions, call your local utility company for their specific guidelines on safe planting distances near transformer boxes in your area.

Never allow children or pets to play near a transformer box

Your children and pets' safety is vital when you have a transformer box in your yard. The biggest concern is that high-voltage electricity is always running through the transformer, and even if the box is closed, tampering with it or making contact with exposed wires can lead to serious injury or death. Anything powered by a transformer box uses energy even when turned off

In a yard, a curious child or pet may think a transformer box looks like a good place to climb so it's important to warn them to stay away. Explain to your kids what is in the boxes and why they need to stay away and train pets to avoid the area. You can also use stickers to denote danger. Of course, supervision is always necessary because a ball can roll near the transformer box or a child or pet can easily get too close in just a moment. Ensure that all children's and pets' play areas are kept a safe distance away. Always maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from the transformer box whenever possible, though the farther away the better.

General precautions should be taken for everyone who goes in your yard. Don't mow too close to the transformer. Look out for leaks or spills from the transformer, as the transformer oil can be flammable. Avoid contacting the transformer with water as well, since water conducts electricity. If you see any damage to the box, contact your electric utility company immediately.