Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance
We are getting closer to colder weather. Before we know it Halloween will be here, then Thanksgiving and the Holidays. One thing a lot of us don’t think about until we do not have it is our electricity. Often times we take our power for granted until we’re unable to turn the lights on, watch TV and cook hot food. If you have lived in NC long you know our winter months do not blanket our State in snow like up North. However, one thing we get a lot of is ice! Ice can cause all types of damage including bringing down tree limbs onto power lines. When this happens we lose power. When it’s cold enough for snow and ice to be forming outside the last thing we want is to lose power.
So here are some things you can do to prepare for the winter months.
Invest In A Generator
There are a lot of options for generators depending on your needs and wants. You have whole house generators that are powered by propane or natural gas so there is no refueling to worry about. Whole house generators also come on automatically when they detect a power outage so you don’t need to go outside. Whole house generators are not a quick 1-2 day turn around install. You have to have the gas company run a line to them, have an electrician wire the system to your home and it all has to be inspected by the City. So that’s why getting a head start on them now will prevent you from being powerless when you need it the most once winter is here. We offer 100% financing so you can get one right away.
Another option is a portable generator. Portable generators range in wattage. So depending on what you plan on using in your home, you’ll need to get the appropriate wattage for that appliance. Portable generators run on gas, so they will need refueling often. A lot of times in winter storms roads are not cleared to drive on making it hard to get gas when you need it. So you may need to have a couple gas containers on standby if a winter storm is forecasted. Portable generators can be connected to your homes electrical panel so you do not have to run drop cords to everything. These transfer switches need to be installed by a licensed electrician. They can be very dangerous for lineman working to restore power if they are not installed properly.
Check Electrical Wirings and Cords
Electrical wiring is prone to damage during winter because of excessive moisture in the air. If you notice any moisture buildup on the walls, near the outlets and so on, be sure to dry them up quickly. If you’re worried that the moisture has already reached your electrical outlets, contact a professional electrician for help. While you’re at it, have the wires checked for any signs of gnawing from mice or rodent infestation, since these to can be the cause of fires.
Install a Surge Protector
Surge protectors play a very important role in preventing fires, not only during thunderstorms but also during winter. If you don’t have a surge protector yet, call a licensed electrician to install one for you. If you do have one, be sure that they are installed properly and in good working condition.
Upgrade Your Lighting
One thing that comes along with winter is less daylight. That means you will spend more time outside in the dark than you normally do. When it’s dark and there is ice or snow on the ground this can be very dangerous. Walkway lighting, floodlights, motion lights, landscape lighting and light poles can all be extremely beneficial in the winter months. With today’s technology LED and CFL bulbs are very affordable and will run efficiently so you’re not wasting power and running up your electric bill.
During the winter months is important to not overload your outlets. With holiday lighting and space heaters being used in many homes it’s easy to overload your outlets. Do not connect multiple power strips together or to a single outlet. The power in your home needs to be distributed evenly to prevent any shortages that can cause fires and power failure.
Winter Safety Tips (Courtesy of the ESFI)
Statistics show that sales of electrical products increase during the month of December. This increase in electrical product purchases, combined with the advent of colder weather in many parts of the country, increases the likelihood of electrical fires, electrocutions and injuries.
More home fires occur during the winter months than during any other part of the year. Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fires result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. View our library of safe heating resources including our Heat Your Home Safely infographic, to make sure your family and your home remain safe during the frigid temperatures.
Cooking fires are also common during the winter months due largely in part to the holiday season. Our handy infographic can help you Prevent Common Kitchen Hazards during the winter months and throughout the year.
Further, portable generators are commonly used in the winter as a result of storm-induced power outages. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 50% of all portable generator-related carbon monoxide deaths occur during the winter months (November – February). Also, winter storms can also lead to serious hazards such as downed power lines and flooding.
Following manufacturers’ instructions is the first step in avoiding electrical hazards and preventing deaths and injuries during the winter months and all year long. In this section, you will find safety tips and reminders to help you and your loved ones stay safe during the winter season.
Be sure to refer to our Holiday Safety Resources to make sure that you avoid the hazards that are all too common during this otherwise festive time of year.
Winter Safety Links
Holiday Safety – Visit ESFI’s holiday safety resources to learn how to stay safe during the winter holidays.
Space Heater Safety – More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to space heaters. Learn how to use one safely.
Heating Pads and Electric Blankets Safety – Heating pads and electric blankets cause almost 500 fires each year.
Carbon Monoxide Safety – The winter months hold the highest risk for CO poisoning deaths. Every year over 200 people die from CO poisoning. Learn how to stay safe.