Colder temperatures and fewer daylight hours in winter can kick your Arlington home’s electrical usage into overdrive quite quickly. Turning the lights on earlier in the day, using portable heaters, or taking hot baths to warm up in the evening are just some of the ways you can find yourself increasing your home’s electrical consumption. Naturally, higher electric use puts more burden on your TX home’s electrical system and improves the chances that you may need the services of an electrician.
Hazardous weather conditions, such as snow, sleet, or winter storms, also create additional safety concerns that can have a knock-on effect on your home’s wiring. Harsh winds can lead to downed power lines, electrical outages, loss of heat, and create fire risks.
To make sure your home is ready for winter, we’ve compiled an electrical safety checklist that will help you and your chosen electrician to winterize your home and help protect your loved ones.
Check that electrical outlets are up to code.
In winter, many Arlington, TX homeowners display holiday lights indoors, outdoors, or both. The rest of the year, you may not even be thinking about the number or safety of electrical outlets within your home. However, in winter, it’s especially important to give this some consideration. It’s crucial to determine whether your current outlets can safely keep up with demand. As you expand your holiday lights collection, you might find yourself struggling for outlet space. Or if you’ve purchased new heating appliances that weren’t in use the previous year, you’ll be using up more outlets than usual. You may not use these outlets throughout the rest of the year, so asking an electrician to check their safety before you plug anything in is a great idea.
Also, take note of any outlet covers that may require replacing. Any that are visibly damaged, e.g., cracked or loose, increase accidental exposure to electrical wiring. All covers should be in good condition and secure.
Install and check GFCI outlets or breakers.
You should not only get an electrical professional to check that all outlets meet electrical safety codes. Also, consider the installation of GFCI outlets or a GFCI breaker. GFCI outlets and breaker systems help prevent electrical deaths, and you should install them in areas near water, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, or anywhere that you’ve noticed is particularly susceptible to rain exposure or standing water. An electrician can help you to identify where you might want to install these if you’re unsure.
Install and check surge protection.
Using portable space heaters, additional lighting, and other commonly used fixtures in winter increase the risk of overloading electrical circuits. If you already have surge protectors installed in set locations, be sure to inspect these areas to determine if surge protection is still operational. An electrical professional can help you identify additional areas that might need surge protection and facilitate the installation of whole house protection through surge protectors wired into the main electrical panel.
Check internal wiring.
Faulty wiring in your Arlington, TX, home can present an immense problem in winter when you’re expecting to use more lights, more heating, and more fixtures. The last thing you need is to switch the electric oven on to cook Thanksgiving dinner and find it trips the electricity through half the house. A certified electrician can safely identify and repair any loose, decayed, and worn electrical connections or wiring.
Electricians can also replace or repair dead outlets, reducing the need for you to daisy-chain your increased number of appliances in use over winter, as well as attend to any flickering or dimming lights. Lights that flicker are often a result of poor wiring, but they can also indicate a power surge – both of which need addressing before they become a larger concern.
Identify mystery switches.
You might be one of those homeowners that has a ‘mystery light switch,’ a switch that you expect to do something when triggered but appears to do nothing. Many often ignore these switches and simply consider them a quirk of the house, but these ‘broken’ switches are a common indication that wiring may be outdated or damaged.
It may transpire that your mystery switch powers an appliance in another part of the house that you don’t typically see, such as an exhaust fan in the attic or an outdoor HVAC component. An electrician can determine what, if anything, this switch powers. A professional electrician will also remove the risk if it turns out to be unnecessary.
Familiarize yourself with your home’s circuit panel.
Ideally, every adult in your Arlington home should know where the central electrical panel is. Make sure there are no obstructions, check that all switches are labeled correctly, and that all necessary switches work. In a winter emergency, it’s crucial to access this point swiftly and safely and turn off the electrical supply. In winter, power fluctuations are also more likely to trip switches. Knowing where they are and how to restore power manually is essential.
Visually inspect local power line clearance.
Severe storms that bring down trees and power lines can cause unexpected power interruptions. Check your nearest power lines and determine if any trees, for example, on your property are a cause for concern. If trees on your property are overgrown and pose a risk to power lines, you should contact your local power company for assistance. Get a professional to cut back any obstacles that could escalate power outages and cause fires.
What Tioga Plumbing & Electric Can Do For You
Tioga Plumbing & Electric serve Arlington, TX, with a wide variety of electrical services that will make sure your home is winter-ready. We handle electrical wiring of all types, can repair and replace electrical outlets and switches, replace breakers and fuses, undertake code corrections, and make sure you’ve got access to a backup generator or emergency power. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you this winter and receive professional advice unique to your situation from an experienced, certified electrician.
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