Noticing issues before they become a problem can help prevent costly repairs and uncomfortable conditions. Often accompanied by cold and precipitous conditions, there are several common electrical issues that can occur during the winter. Heat pumping out of all the vents, and an electric blanket warming your bed at night, home electrical systems have a heavy load during winter. Here are the most common electrical problems during wintertime and what you can do to solve them.
Problem #1: Not Enough Power
After the temperature drops, your heating system works every day to keep your home warm and your pipes intact. Holiday decorations and portable heaters add more strain to the electrical system. Signs that your electrical circuit is overburdened include flickering lights and regularly tripping the breaker.
Old appliances can draw a lot of power, even if they aren’t on. Most of the year you might not notice this, but choosing energy efficient replacements will make the holidays go smoother and reduce your bills during the rest of the year.If your home needs more power to keep up with usage, consider upgrading your electrical system with a “heavy up.” Heavy up is industry jargon for having an electrician increase the amperage coming into your home through the service panel.
Problem #2: Old Space Heaters & Electric Blankets
If you regularly use an electric space heater in your home, proper use and safety are essential. Many people use a small portable heater to keep a room cozy without spiking the gas bill. However, most space heaters are big electricity consumers!
Extension cords pose a major fire risk when used with space heaters because it is harder to trip the circuit breaker when they overheat. Prevent electrical fires caused by space heaters by following these easy rules:
- Always plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet; never use with an extension
- Always unplug the space heater when it is not in use and when you leave the room.
- Make sure your heater has an automatic shutoff feature for if it falls over.
- Regularly inspect cord for fraying or wear. Replace your heater if you find damage.
- Consider having a new outlet installed if your cord doesn’t reach where you need it.
If in Doubt, Call in the Experts
If you know there is an electrical problem but just aren’t sure what it is, always call an expert.