Electricity in your Greenhouse

As the days get shorter and colder, you might think about bringing an electrical power supply to your tunnel or glasshouse. Electricity can power lights, heaters, soil warming cables, propagators and climate controllers, letting you grow a wider range of plants over a longer season.  But it’s not just a matter of running an extension cable out from your house; domestic cables and fittings are neither shockproof nor waterproof enough for safety in greenhouses.  Electricity and water are a lethal combination.  If you only need working lights you could use wireless battery or solar-powered lights with high-efficiency LED bulbs.  If you already have a low-voltage garden lighting circuit nearby you could take a short spur off it, provided it can handle the extra load. 

If you need mains power, you must get a registered electrical contractor to do the specialised wiring work. At the least, the supply from the house should be through Steel Wire Armoured (SWA) cable buried at least 50-60 centimetres underground with warning tape above it.  It should pass through a Residual Current Device (RCD), which monitors the flow of current out from the distribution board and back and trips instantly if they are not the same (i.e. current shorting elsewhere). All sockets, plugs and fittings should be of heavy-duty industrial type with a much higher Index of Protection (IP) rating than domestic ones.  They are not cheap, but neither is human life!