An electrician’s job probably seems fairly straightforward at first – but it’s actually greatly varied and nuanced. Being an electrician is much more than just, “fixing electrical stuff”, there may also be the occasional plant that you may have to deal with too. Trees, in particular, can be quite the struggle to deal with as their branches often grow dangerously close to powerlines.
This opens up a question that many electricians should ask themselves; “Should I trim trees on my own?” Honestly, it’s a bit complicated. As an electrician, that answer – like your job itself – isn’t exactly straightforward. It really depends on what kind of electrician you are and if you’ve got the skill needed to handle trimming trees on your own.
Is Trimming Trees for You?
Even if you know how to trim trees, the answer may still be a resounding ‘maybe’. Typically, electric companies are responsible for maintaining tree limbs near powerlines but you can call a certified contractor or arborist for the job too.
This is because they’re trained to prune your trees according to the stipulations set by the American National Standards Institute (the ANSI A300 – Utility Pruning Standards, in particular) and the International Society of Arboriculture. Essentially, this is a guide that all power companies are supposed to follow in order to keep your power lines in safe working order.
Another advantage that power companies and arborists have is that they’ve got the proper tools to keep them safe while up high off the ground and they can better protect themselves from electrical shock. There’s also the matter of knowing how to properly cut trees to preserve them. To make sure that the tree is healthy, you’re supposed to cut at the joints where one limb meets another or at the trunk. If you don’t know how to prune a tree though, you can end up cutting at random points and leaving the tree with damaging stubs.
So, if you’re specifically trained by the standards of the ANSI and the ISA (and have access to proper equipment), then you can most definitely trim branches near power lines. If you’re not, however, then you probably shouldn’t risk it. This latter answer is likely only applicable to DIY electricians, but if you don’t know how to properly prune around power lines, then you should not try this! Call in someone that specializes in this specific type of work.
Cutting tree limbs from around electrical lines can be dangerous work. This may just seem like we’re reiterating what’s been already said, but it’s important to know your level of skill and what it is that you can and cannot do. If you don’t have the experience or expertise to trim trees in this manner, then don’t. After all, keeping yourself safe is an important part of your job too.
If you want to share your opinion about pruning near electrical lines then let us know in the comments section below – we like hearing from you guys!