Can I Paint My Electrical Box In My Yard? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Hello! I’m an artist. I love looking at ways to add a splash of creativity to my home, and that means that nothing is safe from my love of posters and paints. This includes stuff outside my home, as long as I’m allowed it. If I had a house, I’d paint everything in cool patterns. That includes the stuff outside the home, like electrical boxes. Is it safe, though?

Generally speaking, your electrical reader on the exterior of your home can be painted as long as it does not impede its function as a meter reader. Utility boxes are not allowed to be painted, as they are municipal property.

It’s important to remember that this can potentially impact your ability to get electricity. Before you pick up that paintbrush, read up on your rights.

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Before You Begin: Check With Building Codes, HOAs, And Your Electricity Provider

Most parts of the country are A-OK with letting you paint your electrical box. Every town and city is different, and some electricity providers are also starting to clamp down on certain painting designs. Before you decide to paint your box, make sure that your electricity provider is aware of it and that the color you choose doesn’t interfere with building codes.

Oh, and if you are in an HOA, you may want to make sure that chic zebra stripe pattern will be okay with them. You can get fined for an electricity box that’s the wrong color!

Is It Legal To Paint Utility Boxes Found In Your Yard?

Utility boxes and the meters that help electrical companies determine the fees you should pay are not the same thing. If it’s the large green (or grey, in some areas) box that is on the corner of your street or similar, it could be a municipal utility box.

These boxes are not your property, even if they are on your property. They are controlled (jointly) by both the utility company and the government. You can’t really do anything to these—including painting them a nicer color. (I know, it sucks, right?)

What Happens If You Paint A Utility Box?

While it may look nicer if you paint it, the truth is that you will probably be charged with vandalism. This is a misdemeanor in most areas that carries hefty fines. You also may be required to pay for damages, and in many cases, you may have to have a word with an angry HOA board.

Is There Any Way To Get Permission To Paint Your Utility Box?

In most parts of the country, the answer is a firm no. However, some cities, such as San Francisco will allow it. To get permission, you have to write your local municipal office with a request to paint an artistic mural. Then, you are going to have to wait to get approval.

It’s important to remember that your cities do not have an obligation to allow you to paint community property. This is true, even if you’re an artist. So, if they say no, it’s best to just take the loss and consider other landscaping projects.

Is It Okay And Safe To Paint Your Outdoor Electric Meter?

Yes, it is normally okay as long as your electrical box remains accessible, your company approves it, and any meter readings are not impeded by the paint. However, you still need to know what to use and how. We have the scoop below:

  • If you want to paint the electric box itself, you need to use painter’s tape to shield the meter reader from paint. You still need to be able to read the meter. If you block that, it could be reason to cut off your electricity. The actual electricity box can be painted with either acrylic paint or spray paint.
  • On a similar note, you need to make sure that your gas reader is still readable. In other words, you can paint the exterior, but you cannot paint over the glass (or see-through plastic). Your gas box, much like electricity boxes, will be found on the outside of your home.
  • If you want to paint the network interface, use acrylic paint. You can always double-check your paint guidelines with your service provider.
  • You also can paint cable boxes and wires that are attached to your electricity or gas meters. Most of the time, these tend to do best with vinyl paint.
  • Remember, the meter socket needs to be taped and not painted. Block the meter with painter’s tape while you’re working.

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Related Questions

What happens if you paint over the glass portion of a meter reader?

If you haven’t guessed from our article, you really shouldn’t do this. If you paint over the glass bowl of the meter reader, the meter becomes unreadable. This, in turn, means that you are violating a major part of the terms of your electricity company’s agreement. They have to be able to read the meter.In most cases, this will result in them fining you and demanding that you fix the reader. Along with a hefty fine, you also will have to deal with your electricity being cut off. They may not even turn your electricity back on after it’s been fixed.

Can I paint a transformer box on my yard?

No, transformer boxes are technically considered a type of utility box. This means that trying to paint over a transformer box will be considered an act of vandalism. It’s not your box to paint and doing so will typically be “rewarded” with a fine. Besides, it may not even be safe to try to spray paint that box.

Can I cover utility boxes in my yard?

You can cover them as long as you make sure that they are still accessible to workers who may need to enter them. The best way to make sure that this works is to find out which coverings are allowed in your area. Your local HOA or municipal board can help. Most of the time, having it near bushes or plants is the most reliable workaround.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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