Although it sounds like an unusual idea at first, people often decide to paint their electrical boxes. Painting an electrical box can give you a great look for your backyard. However, before opting for this, there are some things you need to look for, and this is probably the reason why most people tend to avoid the electrical box at all costs. In this article, we’ll explain if is it possible to paint an electric box that is placed in your yard. So, let’s start!
Can I Paint My Electrical Box In My Yard? Yes, the outside of the electrical box can be painted if it is placed on the homeowners’ property. However, it’s not allowed to paint anything that is placed inside the box. That’s because electrical components inside the box, such as fuses, circuit breaker switches, or housing, are dangerous.
The electrical box in your yard can be painted, but this is not recommended. Still, it’s important to check all your local laws and regulations before starting this project. The regulations can vary from city to city and from municipality to municipality. We’ll go through this topic in more detail below, so keep reading.
Contact Your Electricity Provider First
Checking with the authorities, such as the Homeowners Association and your electricity provider, is a must when making these types of decisions. Not only should you get the color of the paint approved, but also the desired design of the electrical reader. The HOA, and some electrical provider companies, tend not to take the design you choose lightly, and it could even lead to fines if your design doesn’t conform to the rules and regulations. Contact all the organizations listed above, and you’ll have no issues whatsoever.
Can You Paint Utility Box That Is Placed On Your Property?
Utility boxes should never be mistaken for electrical meters. Not only is their purpose different, but different companies also own them. First of all, the electrical meter is a device used to measure how much electrical power your household uses.
This device is partially on your property, whereas a utility box is owned by the municipality, the electrical provider, or both at the same time. Utility boxes can easily be recognized due to their typical green or grey color and their placement at the end of the street or on the street corner.
Can You Paint A Utility Box That Is Placed In Front Of Your House?
Painting a utility box that is placed in front of your house is a serious offense, which falls under the category of vandalism. Yes, you heard that right! You could pay a fine for vandalism by simply painting something that is in front of your house. Do not take this lightly since it could lead to serious legal issues.
Is It Possible To Get Permission To Paint A Utility Box?
You can get permission, but it still doesn’t mean that the local authorities will allow it since a utility box is city property, just like a park bench or the local basketball court.
However, cities such as San Francisco tend to allow this type of home décor, but you’ll have to contact the local authorities and ask for permission to paint a mural. Keep in mind that, as we’ve mentioned, the authorities are not obliged to allow you to do this, and if they do, it’s simply a sign of goodwill.
Related article: What Size Breaker Does A 4500 Watt Water Heater Need?
5 Rules to Follow When Painting An Electrical Box
If you are certain about painting your utility box or an electrical meter, there are some things you need to do first and also some things you should watch out for. You can find all the “rules” you should follow below:
1) Check What You Can Paint
This is the first and probably the most important rule: check what you can paint. Utility boxes can be made out of different materials, and your power provider might not allow you to paint certain types of utility boxes since they are used as storage and protective facilities for:
a) Gas Meter:
A gas meter helps you determine how much gas you use. It might also contain the aforementioned see-through plastic or glass cover, which should be taped with painter’s tape before you start the project.
b) Energy Meter Box:
In most cases, the energy meter box shouldn’t be painted since it contains a glass meter socket and helps electricity providers determine how much electricity your household uses.
c) Networking Device:
If you decide to paint your networking device, which serves as a connection to your telephone network, you should opt for acrylic paint to get the best results since these types of boxes are mostly made out of vinyl.
d) Cable Boxes and Wires
Another job for acrylic paint! Probably one of the most standard boxes, also made out of vinyl. It is used for storing and protecting your cables and wiring.
2) Check With The Local Building Codes
In the above section, we’ve mentioned some of the boxes you are GENERALLY allowed to paint. Still, it is best to contact your local authorities and check the building codes with their help. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and in some cities, sorry could potentially mean a fine or misdemeanor charge since it could be considered vandalism.
Be especially vary if you live in rental units or shared houses which are run by a board. Also, double-check all the rules and regulations with your electricity provider before you decide to go out and choose the brush and paint. Paying a fine is bad but having to scrape off the paint is even worse.
3) Check Box Enclosure
This could be a great backup option since it doesn’t require painting the box itself. You could simply buy an enclosure, paint it and place it over the box. Of course, you still need to check with your local authorities and electricity provider which materials you can use for the enclosure. Furthermore, you still have to be able to access the box after installing your enclosure. Nevertheless, this is a great option if you want to make your job a bit easier.
4) Choose the Paint
By saying “choose the paint”, we aren’t just talking about the color or the pattern, that is left solely for you to decide. Since the box is situated outside, the paint should also be able to endure all kinds of weather conditions without getting washed off. Keep this in mind when choosing the type of paint you will use.
A great all-around choice is any variety of Stove paint since this type of paint is very durable even when in constant touch with electricity or heat. But to be sure, check the box’s material before doing the paint job since different types of paint are applied to different materials.
5) Cover the Meters and Electrical Connections
If you want your paint job to look exquisite, you should wipe the box and get rid of all the dirt which could create cracks or lumps in the paint. Use a dry rag and avoid any flammable liquids. Now comes the part we’ve already mentioned a few times throughout the article, use painter’s tape and some plastic to cover the areas you want to protect from the paint. These include the meter and the connections.
If you want to learn more, be sure to watch this video then.
Is It Safe To Paint An Outdoor Electric Meter?
Everything depends on whether you follow the rules and regulations, inform your electricity provider who deals with the electrical meter, and protect your electrical meter during the paint job so that the meter still works perfectly fine even after you’ve done it. You can find all the steps and recommendations below:
- If you don’t see the meter, how will you be able to read how much electricity you use? For this reason, painter’s tape is a must since it will protect the meter from any type of paint (acrylic or spray) you decide to use. If you decide not to use painter’s tape, you could damage your meter reader and make it impossible to read important data, which could lead to your power being cut off.
- If, on the other hand, you decide to paint your gas box, which can also be found in front of your house, you should stick to the same methods. Do not paint over the meter or the glass/plastic see-through area! Once again, we’ll highlight the need for painter’s tape as a great way to shield your meter from unwanted paint.
- Painting the network interface can be a bit trickier, but once you’ve spoken to the authorities on the matter, in this case, your electricity provider, you should be good to go. We recommend acrylic paint when painting this area.
- Not only can you paint the box, but you can also paint all the wiring and the cable boxes to make the meters best fit your style of home decor. Although you can paint these using practically any type of paint, we will recommend vinyl if you want to get the best results.
- Once again, we’d like to remind you not to paint over the meter itself since it could lead to the inability to read how much electricity you use. For this reason, definitely use painter’s tape to protect the meter.
For those who want to learn more, be sure to read Can I Share My Electricity With My Neighbor?
Other Methods to Hide A Electrical Box in Your Yard
Other than an all-out paint job, there are some other methods you could use to disguise the utility boxes and make them more eye-pleasing. We’ve listed some of the most popular methods below:
- Flowers and flowerpots
- Garden beds
FAQ: People Also Ask
Can painting over the glass portion result in a fine?
Painting over the glass or plastic portion of a meter reader could result in a fine or even your house being cut off from the power supply since this makes the meter unreadable for the electricity provider.
Fixing your mistake and somehow making the meter visible doesn’t ensure that the provider will connect you to the power supply again since you haven’t been true to the contract you signed, which states that the glass portion of the meter shouldn’t be painted.
Can the transformer box be painted in your yard?
No, for several reasons. First of all, it isn’t 100% safe to do this. Second, a transformer box isn’t technically your property but the property of the power provider. For this reason, painting a transformer box could result in a hefty fine and, in the worst of cases, injuries.
Is it possible to cover the utility box in your yard?
Definitely! You just have to make sure that the materials you’re using to cover the utility box are approved by the local authorities, your electricity provider, and the Homeowners Association. Furthermore, ensure that the utility box is still easily accessible since it must be checked out from time to time.
Painting your electrical boxes or gas meter, or anything of the sort will give your household an artistic edge and could also improve the longevity of the painted accessories. Still, you need to make sure that you are following the building codes and that everything you are doing is approved by the local authorities, your electricity provider, and the HOA. Also, check which types of paint should be used on which materials. I hope that this article has helped you.