As temperatures begin to drop and the weather becomes more unpredictable, it is best to stay ahead of the curve and prepare for the worst. In order to manage your home’s electrical safety follow these four tips to make sure you are prepared and safe during the winter months.
Trim Large Tree Branches
Depending on where the trees of your yard stand, you will have to consider if this is a potential safety hazard. When wet, heavy snow accumulates on large, overhanging tree branches in your yard, which can have some devastating consequences. The potential danger of this situation includes branches breaking and falling into power lines that provide electricity to your home but also can damage your roof. Even small branches can negatively affect your roof or hanging wires. Start to inspect your property for trees that need trimming. Removing overhanging branches can help protect your home from power outages, electrical fires, and structural damage.
Consider Whole-House Surge Protection
Having a Home Surge Protector can save you thousands of dollars in damage from severe storms. Use this time to protect your home and invest in a whole-house surge protector. Heavy precipitation, high winds, or lightning strikes can result in power outages or surges. To protect your appliances and electronics, consider installing a whole-house surge protector. Unlike plug-in surge protectors, whole-house protection installs directly into your breaker box. Because it connects to your central power supply, it protects every appliance and device plugged into your home’s electrical system. Typically, whole-house suppressors are hard-wired to the service panel, a process that our licensed electricians at electrical plus could do in a few hours. Whole-house systems should be rated to stop a 40,000-amp surge, at minimum.
Insulating Your Home
If your home is not well insulated, winter weather can dramatically increase your utility bills. To help increase the efficiency of your heating system, consider adding extra insulation in places where it's currently lacking. Protect your electrical utilities by insulating your walls. There are several types of insulation to choose from:
Fiberglass: Fiberglass is the most common insulation material. It’s made from fine glass fibers and is most often used in batts, rolls, and loose-fill insulation.
Cellulose: Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper products. Manufacturers also add borate for fire and insect resistance.
Foam: Foam insulation may be made from polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, or polyurethane, which are all types of plastic. You can also install cementitious foam insulation, which is cement-based.
Mineral Wool: Mineral wool can refer to either rock wool or slag wool. Rock wool is a man-made material made from a combination of natural minerals. Slag wool is also a man-made material but is made from a waste product of molten metal known as slag. Both mineral wool insulations are naturally fire-resistant.
Natural Fibers: Insulation can also be made from various natural materials, including cotton, sheep’s wool, straw, and hemp. Typically, these materials are from recycled sources and are treated to be fire, mold, and insect resistant.
Talk to a contracting professional about what type of insulation works best for you. Check your attic for adequate insulation, and if you have outdoor outlets, examine those as well. You should also examine your electrical panel for any possible air leaks. If you feel cool air traveling indoors from tiny gaps around your breaker box, you may need to implement duct sealing within the wall or add calk around the side of the panel.
Seal Electrical Outlets
Depending on how old your home is you may want to check on your electrical outlets. If you own an older home, cold air from outside can seep inside through the tiny gaps around your electrical outlets. This can be an easy fix if you do it correctly. This is something that you as a homeowner can solve on your own, however, be careful to use the right material. It is recommended that you use a foam gasket for that purpose. We would not recommend putty or caulk as that is a fire hazard. For further questions or help about insulation, contact your local contractor or handyman!
While these few things may seem like a minor inconvenience, it is really important to be proactive and protect your home’s electrical systems during the winter. These are relatively straightforward projects that, when done by professionals, or done correctly, are extremely worth it in the long run. Visit our website to learn more about our services or give us a call so we can begin to assist you in getting your home prepared for winter.