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What type of lighting & plugs would be safest for my barn?

There are many options in regards to types of fixtures and outlets. One good method is to have everything fully weather-tight and self-contained, such as metal "jelly-jar" light fixtures in the hayloft and stalls to contain a breaking bulb (rearing horses and wayward tool handles), and weatherproof switches and plugs. This may seem like overkill, but a barn or arena is basically an outdoor environment. Hoses get tossed around while watering or washing, hands are wet coming in from riding, etc.

 Fluorescent lighting is very even and pleasant, but falling tubes pose a threat. Clear covers are obtainable from the local warehouse store, but a better solution is to have all fixtures equipped with integral covers, which also usually means the fixture is weathertight and will start quickly in cold weather. Just make sure you bring these points up with your electrician, and they will be able to find the fixture you are looking for (usually from an actual electrical supply house). Everything must be grounded, for the safety of not only yourself but of any visitors who may not be as careful as you. Outlets equipped with ground fault circuit protection, or GFCIs, would also be wise. They disconnect themselves from the power source the instant a connection between the ground and "hot" wire is detected. For that matter, having all circuits protected in this way is a good idea. Better safe than sorry.


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