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How to keep outdoor living areas safe

FALLBROOK – Outdoor living spaces are a wildly popular trend. A 2021 survey conducted on behalf of the International Casual Furnishings Association and American Home Furnishings Alliance found that 90% of individuals surveyed felt outdoor living spaces are more valuable than ever. That popularity was evident during the pandemic, during which 23% of respondents indicated they bought new furniture while 18% acknowledged building a deck.

The excitement of seeing a new or renovated outdoor living area can make it easy to overlook safety. But outdoor living areas, particularly those that include entertaining areas with televisions, lighting and other electronics, can pose significant safety hazards if homeowners don't take some necessary precautions.

- Use an appropriate extension cord. String lights above outdoor living spaces like decks and patios can create a warm, relaxing nighttime vibe. Those lights need to be plugged in, which increases the risk for electrical accidents. When utilizing an extension cord outdoors, never use a cord designated for indoor use. Outdoor extension cords are better insulated than cords made for indoor use. That insulation provides better protection against the elements, including sunlight, changes in temperature and moisture. When using an extension cord outdoors, make sure the cord is secured and not left lying on a deck or patio where it can easily become a tripping hazard.

- Consider fencing. Fencing can make an outdoor living space more private and safer. Local laws may mandate that pools be enclosed with fencing, but even living spaces without pools can be made safer with the installation of a fence. Fire pits are wildly popular, as more than 35% of homeowners who responded to the ICFA survey acknowledged their intention to purchase new fire pits in 2021. Adding fencing around areas with fire pits establishes boundaries, which is a must for homeowners with small children. Fencing also makes it harder for local wildlife to gain access to a property, which can decrease residents' risk for tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.

- Purchase an outdoor television. Outdoor televisions can be expensive, but the cost of such devices will depend on what homeowners are looking for. Homeowners who plan to spend ample time outdoors watching games, movies and their favorite shows may feel a high-end outdoor television, which can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, is well worth the investment. But those working with smaller budgets can find a quality 4K outdoor TV for around $2,000. That's still a steep price tag, but the electronics experts at P.C. Richard & Son note that outdoor TVs are designed with safety features that indoor televisions don't have. For example, outdoor TVs can self-regulate temperature and moisture levels, greatly reducing the risk of electrical issues.

Outdoor living spaces are wildly popular. Homeowners are urged to prioritize safety when designing and enjoying outdoor entertaining areas at their homes.

 

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