The “811” for Your DIY Projects
Projects! It seems that most of us have been dealing with stay-at-home orders by working on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects around our homes. Some are tackling indoor projects like painting, organizing and hanging pictures while others are getting outdoors to get their yards ready for the summer season. While self-isolating, I have found that my family and I look for any opportunity to get outside.
As we work on these outdoor projects, it’s always important to do a little research on the project you have in mind. I find myself looking up videos on how to do something before I try it. Lately, we have been doing a lot of planting of trees, shrubs and flowers in our yard. Others might be pressure washing, installing fences and sprinkler systems, and putting up new mailboxes.
As I thought about all these outdoor projects, I remembered a couple of things to consider – particularly when it involves digging:
- Are you planting trees? If so, have you looked around your yard to make sure that palm tree will not encounter a service line or the roof of your home? It’s important to keep in mind that the tree you plant today can grow into such a big, beautiful tree that it can be too close to your home, or worse – encroach power lines, and that can cause unforeseen outages and damage during the storm season.
- Are you planting flowers or shrubs to hide that green transformer box at the edge of your yard? If so, keep these restrictions in mind when planting near the transformer boxes: You must leave a 3-ft. clearance around the sides and back of the transformer box and a 10-ft. clearance in the front of the box. This allows electric crews to access this equipment if needed. Think, if we have a hurricane with outages, these are the places our crews go to restore your power. You don’t want to delay that process because our crews have to find the box and remove the overgrown azalea you planted two years ago. So, make sure you don’t plant anything too close.
If you are doing any type of digging, you must call 811 before your shovel ever touches the ground. 811 is a free service that alerts utilities to mark your underground lines for you to ensure you’re working safely. This process will also help to avoid damaging any underground utilities. Just know when you call it’s going to be three full working days before you can start your project. This allows time for the utility companies in your area to come out and flag off each utility that is in your yard.
Utilities will mark the lines with spray paint or flags. Did you know that each flag is a certain color to identify what utility it is? For example, red flags are for electric power, blue are for water, yellow are for gas, and orange are for telephone/cable. More information on 811 can be found here.
Following these guidelines help keep you safe while allowing Santee Cooper and other utilities to provide you the most reliable service. Also, don’t forget to check with your HOA/POA to make sure your DIY projects are within the rules and regulations of your community.
I hope that you and your DIY projects turn out just as you imagined, and that every time you enjoy that yard or organized home, you take a moment to appreciate your DIY accomplishment.