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4 Electrical Problems To Look Out for During the Winter (And How To Handle Them)


Neighborhood with power outage

Winter is a tricky time for home safety, especially with odd or unpredictable weather conditions. And sometimes, the weather causes problems that are simply unavoidable.

Avoidable or not, some electrical problems are more common during the wintertime that the team at HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Drains want to bring to your attention and help you prepare for.

Power Outages

Winter storms often cause power outages thanks to the heavy accumulation of snow or ice on power lines and equipment. Your home is more susceptible to a power outage if your electrical systems aren’t updated or properly maintained.

In severe weather cases, when an outage is unavoidable, you want to make sure you have a backup power source for your home, such as a whole-home generator that can provide enough power to keep lights and other essential functions running.

Tripped Breakers

We use a lot of power during the winter — furnaces and water heaters are vital to maintaining comfort, we’re hunkered down inside for longer periods with our countless electronics for entertainment, and we use extra appliances, like space heaters.

If areas of the home are overloaded with power use, you could trip a circuit breaker. An easy enough fix is to flip it back on, but in doing so, you’ll want to:

  • Reduce the use of electricity in whichever area you tripped.
  • Contact a professional electrician to ensure your home’s electrical panel is up to date and wired appropriately.

Old Equipment

Old equipment is an all-too-common cause for safety and electrical problems during the winter. We pull out our space heaters and electric blankets from 1990 and use them like we always do. However, these old appliances aren’t designed with necessary safety features, nor do they work well with even older electrical equipment.

Old equipment and old outlets and switches are electrical hazards and common culprits for problems during the winter — or any time of the year. Before each winter:

  • Ensure your space heater and blankets are purchased within the last five years.
  • Check your outlets and switches for damage.
  • Have a professional electrician confirm your home’s wiring is safe and up to date.

Electric Space Heaters

Electric space heaters use a LOT of power to operate and can be a common culprit for breaker trips. Therefore, try to use them in areas and at times when you’re not running a lot of other appliances or electronics.

Space heaters always present a safety hazard when they’re in use. You should always operate space heaters responsibly and according to manufacturer instructions.

Safety tips for electric space heaters:

  • Buy a model with thermostat control, which saves energy too
  • Buy a model with a tip-over safety switch
  • Avoid using an extension cord
  • Set them on the floor only and place them 3 feet away from objects and surfaces

Preparing for Winter Electrical Problems

The best way to prepare for winter electrical problems is with a whole-house electrical safety inspection from a professional. Regular home maintenance is easy when you join a professional maintenance plan like our HELP Club. You receive a whole-house electrical safety inspection and enjoy many other benefits and incentives that save you money and keep your home safe and comfortable.

Book electrical maintenance with HELP’s licensed, insured, background-checked electricians today!

Posted in: Electrical, Health & Safety Issues

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