Inclement weather, such as the high storms of the summer season, is known for causing a host of electrical problems. Here are two major weather-related problems to expect, and how to prepare for them:
Strong winds, lightning, and heavy rains are some of the weather-related causes of power blackouts. For example, strong winds can uproot trees and cause blackouts when the trees fall on and damage power lines. There isn't much you can do to prevent such power outages, but you can arm your house with a power backup so that you won't be left completely without power in case of a blackout.
Your choice of power backup system depends on these factors:
- How long you want the backup to last
- How much power you need to draw from the backup
- Where the backup system will get its energy
- The size of your budget
Define these parameters and an electrician, such as one from Chadwick Electric Services, can help you set up your backup. For example, if you just want to power your computer during a short blackout, then an uninterrupted power uninterruptible power supply (UPS) will work just fine. However, if you want to power most electrical systems in the house, you may need a generator or a powerful solar system.
Apart from the risk of blackouts, weather elements can also cause electrical damage due to power fluctuations. For example, fluctuations in power entering your house (for example when there is lightning) can cause power surge (increased power), which can fry your electronics. Power surges, spikes, sags, and brownouts can also occur when the power returns after a blackout. Power surges and spikes are periods of increased power supplies (spikes last for short periods) while power sags and brownouts are periods of reduced power supplies (sags last for short periods).
Here are some of the ways of preventing damages related to power fluctuations:
- Confirm that all circuits are grounded; grounding helps to dispose of excess electricity safely.
- Install a surge protector – the protector cuts off electricity supply when it exceeds a certain level.
- Unplug your electrical devices when you notice power fluctuations (for example when the lights flicker).
- Reduce power consumption (if you can't cut off all power) during a brownout; shut off power guzzlers such as washing machines and heaters.
- Service your electrical installation; well maintained electrical installations are less likely to experience problems compared to poorly maintained systems.
Despite your best preventive measures, you may still experience some electrical problems during inclement weather. Therefore, it pays to have the contact of a nearby electrician who can help you out in an emergency. For example, if your standby generator fails to power on during a blackout, you need someone who can diagnose and solve the problem.