Although most days we don’t think about how the electricity coming through our homes and offices makes it there without incident, it becomes a major concern when that power is interrupted. Electrical storms, major draws on electricity, flooding, and a number of other circumstances out of our control can impact our electrical systems.
Preventative maintenance on your system can save you from the inconvenience and costs of repairing a system that has been permanently damaged. Today, we have a few straightforward actions you can take to protect your electrical system from virtually anything that comes your way.
Electrical Storms and Power Surges
Electrical storms can be particularly harmful to your home and appliances because they can cause massive power surges. A spike in voltage from a lightning strike can fry your appliances and devices, including the hardware. Protecting your home from these strikes in advance can save you hundreds (and possibly even thousands) of dollars.
Of course, you can run around unplugging all of your devices when a storm hits, but it’s not very effective if you aren’t at home (not to mention, it’s extremely time-consuming). More effective solutions include installing a lightning rod on top of your home and having an electrician install a surge protector at your electrical panel. Unlike cheap surge protectors that act at the outlet, these surge protectors can handle extremely high levels of electricity.
Although we often expect that issues in electrical systems start at the system level, it’s often our appliances and devices that are to blame. In most cases, your circuit breaker will cut the power to prevent more serious issues from arising. However, there is a chance of damage to your electrical system or even a house fire starting at the appliance.
To protect yourself from faulty appliances, there are several things you can do:
- Keep your appliances and devices in good repair. Replace damaged electrical cords and pay attention to any burning smells when you turn them on. Replace or repair appliances as soon as you suspect there’s an issue.
- If a breaker trips unexpectedly, check the appliances in the area to be sure they’re in good working condition before flipping the breaker.
- Keep your electrical system maintained annually by a professional electrician. He or she can check your electrical panel, breakers, wiring, and even your appliances to ensure everything is in good order.
- Have fire extinguishers in your home or building in case a fire does start.
Your electrical system is broken into a series of circuits, each of which provides power to a different area of a home. Circuit breakers are standard in homes and businesses, and they work by cutting off the power to a certain circuit when there is too much demand for the system to handle. Although this is often the most protection you need, constantly tripping breakers can be a sign that your system is being overly taxed, which can result in problems.
There are a few simple ways to protect your electrical system from circuit overloads. First, adding circuits when you add large appliances to your home (such as an air conditioner) can ensure there is a great enough power supply. An electrician can help you calculate your circuit loads and install more circuits when necessary. Second, turning off or unplugging appliances you aren’t using can prevent overloads from occurring when you have multiple other appliances drawing power.
Floods and Water Damage
If you have ever dropped your smartphone in water, you understand how rapidly water can damage electrical systems. The same applies to the electrical system in your home or business. Water is a conductor of electricity, which increases the risk of electrocution.
If you’ve already suffered from water damage, including a flood, it’s very important that you have an electrician check over your system before you turn the power back on. You may need to have the wiring replaced in certain areas if it has become corroded. Appliances or other electrical equipment may also need to be replaced to guarantee safety and prevent the risk of further damage, including fire hazards.
Preventative options can save your system from major damages. GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) are an inexpensive way to protect your system from water damage in areas prone to dampness or flooding, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. A qualified electrician in Edmonton can easily and inexpensively install GFCI receptaclesin these areas.
Additionally, you can check that your outdoor receptacles have proper covers and that they close fully to prevent water from leaking in.
In many cases, a homeowner or business owner doesn’t know there is something wrong with their power system until something seriously malfunctions. At this point, a full-scale repair is usually necessary, and it can be costly and result in extended downtime.
A relatively new solution allows us to detect issues when they are small enough not to have significant impacts on the overall system. Smart electrical panels provide continuous monitoring, updates, and notifications. You can track how well your system is performing and find opportunities for improvements or preventative measures before they become issues. Smart electrical panels are becoming popular for businesses in particular, because they can prevent costly down time. Learn more in our recent post about the top five benefits of smart electrical panels.
Is it Time for Your Annual Electrical Maintenance?
Protecting your electrical system from costly damages is a simple and straightforward process for experienced electricians. Many homeowners who have experienced an incident in their electrical system choose to have annual inspections and maintenance for their electrical systems. Polar Electric Contracting provides electrical maintenance services to many of our clients. To book your inspection and maintenance appointment, get in touch with us today!