In this blog post, we’ll show you some of the more common electrical problems and how to avoid them.
Winter brings not only colder temperatures, but potential problems with the electrics. Just like humans suffer in the cold, the electrics suffer also. It’s tempting to wait until an electrical component breaks to do a maintenance check.
But, maintaining your electrics throughout the year saves you money on large repairs. There are several common winter electrical problems a Vancouver electrician can help you avoid. Here’s what to look out for.
Circuit Breakers Tripping
As the temperature drops, the electrical panel gets put through its paces. Heating systems and portable heaters are going to be overloaded, making breaker trips a more common occurrence.
How to avoid problems: Increase the electrical power to your home’s circuit. This helps to accommodate the extra appliances in use. Hire an electrician to avoid tripping the circuit breakers when more power is in use.
Winter weather is often extreme seeing high winds, snow storms, downed power lines and below freezing temperatures. This is a huge strain on your electrical grid, often causing power outages for hours or even days. In winter, power outages can be detrimental, leaving you without hot water, heat or lighting.
How to avoid problems: Check your homes energy efficiency and prepare the generator by inspecting its condition. If any faults are found, call in a Vancouver electrician before winter comes around.
Modern homes equipped with old and outdated equipment often see problems in the winter months. New electrics can be incompatible with old systems and may become a fire hazard if left unchecked.
How to avoid problems: Check older appliances and equipment regularly, especially in the winter months when they’ll be used more. Think about replacing heating appliances that are over 5 years old.
Space Heaters Used Incorrectly
Space heaters often get used in the winter months. Some older models are not energy efficient, use large amounts of electricity and have been known to cause house fires.
How to avoid problems: Avoid using extension cords and plug your space heater directly into the wall. Aim to keep the heater away from combustible objects such as furniture or curtains.
Follow this Checklist to Keep Your Electrics Winter Safe
Preparation is better than cure. As winter comes around, follow this checklist to get your electrics ready for the freezing months.
- Check and repair leaks. Water and electricity don’t mix together well. Cold temperatures can also cause pipes to burst. Fix any leaks and weak piping, to minimize the chance of damage.
- Inspect your electrical panel. Make sure all switches are working and labelled correctly. If anything isn’t working correctly, call in a Vancouver electrician to repair.
- Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. The US fire Administration says 30% of house fires happen in the winter. Check you have the correct smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, run the test phase and replace batteries if needed.
- Trim unruly tree limbs. Tree limbs are a frequent cause of downing and interfering with power lines. Keep them trimmed back, especially if you live near busy pedestrian walkways.
- Clear air vents and HVAC systems. Dust, dirt and debris builds up in air vents and HVAC systems. Don’t wait till you need to use them to have a good clear out.
- Repair broken electrical outlets. Electrical outlets are there to protect us from potential danger. They keep wires protected and electricity away from humans. If you find any cracks, get them fixed as soon as possible.
- Install surge protectors. Surge protectors should be used on all electrical outlets that connect to appliances, especially in the winter when the electrical burden increases. Talk with your local Vancouver electrician about using a whole house surge protector, if your electrical usage is high.
- Safety check your space heaters. According to statistics, 15% of home fires are caused by heating appliances, specifically space heaters. Follow best practices using your space heater: keep it on a flat surface, plug it into an outlet or surge protector and never use it if any part is damaged.
- Hire an electrician to inspect your home wiring. The best way to avoid common winter electrical problems is to inspect your home electrics regularly.
- Check outdoor lighting. As the temperature drops, ice is often left on pavements. Ensure your outdoor lighting is working so you can see the path outside your home on cold, dark nights.
Call in a Vancouver Electrician for Electrical Maintenance
Get into a routine of following the winter electrics checklist above. This helps to spot potential hazards before they become a problem. And the more you do it, the increased ability you’ll gain to spot faults.
If your home is older, hire an electrician to check your electrics every year. A trained professional has the tools and knowledge to pinpoint problems the average person may miss.