When trying to maintain a home, one of the main areas that need to be monitored is the electrical system. Finding and addressing issues before they become problematic can help prevent the need for uncomfortable conditions and expensive repairs.

In some situations, when precipitation and cold conditions are present, some common electrical issues may occur. Learning about common electrical problems that occur in the winter and knowing when to call for professional electrical services is essential. Keep reading to learn what some of these signs are.

Breakers That Trip Frequently

The winter months are also when the holidays occur. As a result, it is a rather demanding time for electrical services. Even after the holiday season has passed, there is a lot of demand to heat homes, businesses, and other spaces. This can cause a significant strain on any heating system. Simple electrical issues and breaker trips can cause things like flickering lights, which are not uncommon in the winter months.

However, if a homeowner wants to avoid these types of issues, such as dealing with a burned-out panel or tripped breaker, they should think about a heavy up. When a homeowner calls an electrician for a heavy up, it will be possible to provide power for all the modern, state-of-the-art appliances, devices, and other items that are in any modern home. When a homeowner invests in an upgrade for their home’s electrical system, they will experience all the advantages of having a much stronger electric current.

Power Outages

Power outages are typically accompanied by storms, rain, and snow. The winter months can bring about disastrous weather conditions. If a home is not protected or does not have sufficient protection, it makes it much more vulnerable to the possibility of weather-related power outages during the winter months. Taking steps to check the home’s electrical system will help someone figure out if their home is ready for the winter weather. Because not all power outages can be avoided, it may be a good idea to install a whole-house generator. This provides peace of mind that a homeowner and their family can remain comfortable, even if the power is not on.

Old or Outdated Equipment

Another sign it may be time to invest in electrical system service is if a home is still using outdated equipment. The fact is that older equipment can cause serious problems for any electrical system during the colder months of the year. Electric blankets and older space heaters may be incompatible with today’s modern homes. If these older items continue to be used, it may result in an electrical fire. Older appliances and equipment in a home must be checked regularly. In most cases, a general guideline to use is that if a heating appliance is more than five years old, it is outdated and should be replaced. This is going to reduce the possibility of serious and potentially devastating results.

Static Electricity

Static electricity occurs when there is a lack of humidity in the home or space. This is particularly problematic during the winter months. When there is a charge imbalance in any dry materials, the static that results from the dry winter air may be dangerous in specific situations. If an unmonitored or damaged electrical current or if there is a flammable substance close by, the static electricity produced may cause a powerful shock. An affordable and easy way to prevent all static electricity is by installing a humidifier. Homeowners can choose humidifiers for a single room or talk to an electrician about installing a whole-house humidifier. These can be invaluable to keep things safe during the winter months.

Space Heaters

Many people use space heaters during the winter months. Unfortunately, space heaters are well-known for causing many house fires. Space heaters require a lot of electricity, and they are seldom energy efficient. While they are useful when attempting to beat the cold, a space heater needs to be plugged into a dedicated outlet. They should also be unplugged when they are not being used. When used properly, space heaters can be used to keep a home warm without consuming too much power and without overheating.

Wires

Even though frayed wires may present a problem during all times of the year, when frayed wires are present, it is important to check them before the temperature starts to fall. If the frayed wires remain unnoticed for too long, then the home is going to be at risk. A single frayed wire may result in a spark that could burn down a whole house.

If a homeowner notices exposed electrical wire, it is a good idea to contact an electrician to ensure that the wiring is in good working condition before winter weather moves in. Harsher elements, including ice and snow, will do serious damage to any wiring if it is not maintained properly.

Pest Problems 

Pests are considered one of the main issues that need to be watched for during the cold season. The critters that were happy and content in the wild during the warmer months of the year are going to be looking for someone warm to hide. In many cases, this is inside a home. Rodents can cause a serious problem, and in some situations, an exterminator may be needed to help ensure the electrical system is not damaged.

While this may not seem like an electrical issue, per se, if the pest problem is not handled, it can result in serious electrical issues, malfunctions, and even an electrical fire. It is best to call for an inspection if pests are suspected in the wall of a home. Taking care of it early will ensure a full infestation does not occur.

The Misuse of Extension Cords

The misuse of extension cords can result in an electric fire. It is essential to ensure that every appliance in the home is plugged into an outlet directly. Make sure that appliances are not plugged into extension cords for longer periods, as they should only be used as a temporary solution. If a home does not have enough outlets present, it is a good idea to hire an electrician to have new ones installed. Consider having USB outlets installed, too.

Inadequate Power

As mentioned above, as the temperature begins to drop, the heating system is going to work day in and day out to keep the home warm and the pipes in the home remain intact. Portable heaters and holiday decorations will add more strain to the electrical system. These are all signs that the electrical circuit has been overburdened, which includes flickering lights, and that may trip the breaker regularly.

If someone discovers that the electrical system is overloaded, they have a few options to consider. One option is to assess the consumption of power and reevaluate. Washing machines, dryers, and kitchen appliances are great. However, when they hit the 10-year mark, they should be replaced. Older appliances can pull a lot of power even when they are not turned on. During most parts of the year, a person may not notice this, but when more energy-efficient replacements are made, it will help ensure the holidays go much smoother and will reduce the bills throughout the remainder of the year.

Christmas Trees and Heat

It is essential to keep all Christmas trees—both real and artificial—away from any heat source, according to information from the U.S. Fire Administration. A general rule of thumb is to keep the trees a minimum of three feet away from any type of heat source, which includes things like space heaters, fireplaces, and more. If a homeowner decides to purchase a real tree for the holidays, they should discard it sooner, rather than later, when the holiday is over. A tree that has the opportunity to dry out presents a significant electrical fire risk.

Taking Steps to Prevent Electrical Issues Over Winter.

When winter arrives, it is necessary to make sure the home is prepared. While knowing some of the issues that can arise during colder weather is important, don’t stop there. It is also necessary to take steps to prevent these problems. Some of the things a person can do to help prevent winter electrical issues can be found below.

Invest in Effective Lighting for the Shorter Days

When cold weather moves in, it also means that the days are going to be shorter. Through most of the U.S., the winter months mean that the sun will set between four or five at night. This means a person’s entire day when they get off work will be spent in the dark.

At this point, the need for lights and electrical connections for the lights that are more reliable is essential. Having to come home from work to a house that is dark or having to spend a cold night in the dark is something that most people will find depressing and miserable. Before cold weather moves in, be sure to check the light bulbs, along with all the electrical connections for the lights around and in the home, both outside and inside the structure. By doing this, you do not have to worry about unreliable or ineffective lighting when it is needed the most.

Check the Heating Systems and Home Thermostats 

Another important thing that needs to be checked and prepared for is the heating system and the thermostats in the home. The heating system is likely dealing with some electrical component or connection that is required to heat the home properly. The thermostat will also require a reliable and effective connection to control the heating system inside the home. Even though most of these systems are designed to be reliable, the last thing a person wants to discover is a dead battery or a faulty connection when these systems are required. Be sure to put new batteries in thermostats and have heating systems inspected. This includes the water heater, furnace, or anything else that is used.

Inspect the CO2 and Smoke Detectors

This is another part of the colder months of the year that many people do not think of their CO2 and smoke detectors. What is not surprising is that, in the winter, the likelihood of dangerous CO2 leaks and fires are much more common. Many people use their in-house fireplaces and interior space heaters, which means that the possibility of a fire occurring is much more likely. Also, since most homes are sealed well when it is cold outside, any level of CO2 emission is going to put everyone in the house at risk of a potentially deadly event. A homeowner can gain peace of mind if they make sure their CO2 detectors and smoke detectors are working properly and safely and that new batteries have been installed for winter.

Optimal Use of Energy

Optimizing the use of energy during the winter can be challenging. In the winter months, it is much more difficult to enjoy natural airflow, maintain a comfortable temperature, or use natural lighting. As a result, most homeowners rely on different heating systems, appliances, and electrical lights to keep the home comfortable. However, this electrical usage can begin to rise and cost more and more. To prepare for the winter, it is a good idea to optimize the use of energy to ensure peak efficiency. Try to use energy-efficient bulbs and limit the use of electricity as much as possible. It is also a good idea to invest in a high-quality inspection from a professional electrician. This person can ensure that a person has taken all the right steps to minimize issues that may arise.

Keeping a Home Safe and Comfortable this Winter

When it comes to winter weather, there is no question there are several issues that may arise. This means it is a good idea to take a proactive approach and handle all these issues before they become more serious. Being informed is the best way to ensure the desired results are achieved.

AirNow Cooling and Heating, established in 1991, is located in Millbrook Alabama. We have certified technicians able to perform scheduled service checks, repair of existing systems, and installs of new equipment including all brands of central air and heating systems. We don’t charge by the hour, but the job, because we realize our customers are what has made us the company we are today.