When we think of snow, the mountainous West or the upper East Coast usually comes to mind. States like Vermont, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wyoming, and Alaska may top your list. Although these areas may accumulate the most snow, they aren’t the only places covered in white when wintertime rolls around. Whether you are in Georgia or South Carolina, there are some areas where residents are more than likely familiar with the beauty of winter snow. Unfortunately, this beauty can also come with a host of electrical issues and potential household dangers.
Frequent or Extended Power Outages
Winter storms often bring along lots of snow, which can accumulate on power lines and outdoor electrical equipment, causing power outages. In some areas, power outages are quite common during the wintertime. However, extended and unnecessary outages can create major inconveniences as well as health risks. Even if your health may not be at risk, these blackouts can force you to endure freezing temperatures with no reliable heating source. If your electrical equipment is not properly maintained, you are susceptible to more frequent and long-lasting outage issues. Although a generator could help to alleviate these problems, snowfall can also pose potential issues for this device.
As previously mentioned, generators are great resources when winter storms arise. Unfortunately, snow sometimes accumulates around the air vents, which blocks the airflow. When this occurs, the generator can no longer function, and the entire system completely shuts down. This is especially true for unmaintained or outdated generators.
Frozen branches covered in ice are known to break off and fall onto nearby electrical wires. However, snow can also weigh down branches, causing them to snap. Branches falling onto power lines can create short circuits and sparks that can potentially cause trees to catch on fire. Depending on how close the trees are to your home, this could pose a considerable threat to the well-being of you and your loved ones.
As snowfall increases, temperatures decrease. This decrease in temperature will likely cause a rise in residential power use. In order to keep warm, you may utilize your furnace, water heater, space heater, and other devices simultaneously. If you are stuck indoors for an extended period of time, you may also begin using your entertainment equipment more than usual. Although you might have a need for all these systems, using too much electricity at one time could cause one of your circuit breakers to trip. When this occurs, the electrical wires may already be overheated, and the potential for fires or electrocution incidents significantly increases.
Regardless of the time of year, unmaintained wiring can be extremely dangerous. However, during the wintertime, this is even more hazardous. Snow as well as other harsh winter elements can accelerate the damage to frayed wires and downed power lines. Similar to circuit breaker issues, wiring issues can increase the chances of residential fires.
Not only can snow accumulation cause wiring issues, but melting snow is another major hazard. That’s because water and electricity create a very dangerous combination. Melting snow is risky enough by itself, but once you add in salt and other chemicals, the danger significantly increases.
In order to speed up the snow-melting process, many communities utilize salt and other minerals that are known to aid in dissolving the substance. When these chemicals mix with the melted snow, they increase the chances of electrocution, particularly from downed live power lines. Anyone who touches the electrically charged water mixture would be in extreme danger.
Electrical Panel Water Damage
Melting snow can also cause damage to your electrical panel. The outdoor meter box contains small holes and cracks that can easily be penetrated by water. These water leaks can reach the electrical panel and destroy the wiring as well as the circuit breakers. If this occurs over an extended period of time, the corrosion and destruction may even reach the branch circuit wiring. Any of these ruined connections can pose a significant fire hazard.
If you suspect that your electrical panel may be damaged, it’s important that you seek professional assistance. You may be tempted to check out the issue on your own; however, this is an extremely dangerous job. Our electricians at Arc Angel Electric have the expertise and equipment needed to properly investigate these issues. Our protective gear may include everything from flame-resistant clothing to insulated gloves.
Outdated Equipment and Space Heaters
As the snowfall increases, so does the use of outdated and potentially dangerous electrical heating solutions. These solutions include everything from electric blankets to space heaters. Because these types of equipment are not usually compatible with contemporary homes, they can cause a number of issues.
Space heaters, for example, aren’t known to be very energy efficient. Consequently, they tend to use up lots of extra energy. When circuits are overloaded, power failures and fires usually aren’t too far behind. Of course, space heaters can be used as suitable heating options, but you must take the proper precautions. Here are a few of the space heating safety practices you should adhere to:
- Maintaining clear space around the device
- Purchasing only certified space heaters
- Unplugging any unused heater
- Supervising children and pets
- Utilizing a safety guard
Prepare Before the Snow Starts to Fall
It may seem a bit frustrating and discouraging to learn about all the possible risks that can come with snow and other winter conditions. The good news is there are solutions available to help alleviate these issues. First, our electricians can come out and evaluate the current condition of your electrical system. After the inspection, we can notify you of any damage or causes for concern.
If you currently live in a home that is 20 years old or more, you might want to look into an electrical panel upgrade. That’s because older homes may not have adequate or modern wiring. When we perform an upgrade, this increases the amount of electricity that is able to flow into your residence. It can also help reduce the risk of fires due to sparking and overcharged wiring. Whether you live in a recently built or a classic home, here are a few ways to determine if you may be in need of an inspection or a full upgrade:
- Flickering lights
- Sparking outlets
- Warm electrical cords
- Frequent circuit breaker trips
- Discolored outlets
Rely on Professional Expertise
You don’t have to go through the winter with a faulty and unmaintained electrical system. Our certified professionals are equipped to provide you with the repairs, installations, and upgrades necessary to ensure that your system is prepared for wintry and snowy conditions.
Along with electrical wiring upgrades and inspections, we furnish a host of other services to both residents and business proprietors throughout Georgia and South Carolina. These services include electric car charging, commercial pole light maintenance, indoor lighting, generators, surge protection, and smart home automation. Boat owners appreciate our dock wiring expertise. This is a dangerous watery environment, and our trained professionals know how to reduce the risks of electrical shocks to boaters. Contact Arc Angel Electric today in Cumming, GA, Mount Pleasant, SC, or Bluffton, SC to inquire about our services or to schedule an inspection.