What Are the Common Electrical Problems in Winter?
Your electrical system is an essential part of your home, especially in winter, but problems may arise due to storms, rain, or snow. However, the system could also be defective. Here are some of the issues you may encounter in winter and how to troubleshoot your electrical system.
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Lights Flickering More Frequently
One electrical issue you may experience in winter is flickering lights. Bad weather characterized by storms sometimes forces lines on the grid to move back and forth. A lightning strike could also affect the function of the grid and encourage the fluctuation of the current.
Other than the weather, your electrical system may have a fault. Another reason for power fluctuations is loose connections and wiring. You can call an electrician from Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning to inspect the circuit in your Seattle home.
A professional inspection can detect faults with the fixture or your electrical system. You can troubleshoot by checking how the lights are flickering. If it affects only one bulb, it is probably an issue with the fixture.
If the lights flicker when you plug in an appliance, it is probably an issue with overloading. It means that you are drawing more power than the electrical system can provide. The overloading problem requires the attention of a certified electrician to prevent electrical arcing and fires.
Frequent Power Outages
The unfavorable weather in winter can increase the number of power outages. Storms and strong winds can force grid lines to touch. The grid has a breaker that disrupts the current in such situations.
You can trim trees with long branches close to the grid lines. Your power company expects its customers to maintain the clearance stipulated by the local regulations. Trees, buildings, and roofing need a clearance from the grid-line of at least 10 feet.
If the power lines have fallen or the grid line is sagging, stay away at least 30 feet from the location. You need to report the incident to your local electrical supply company. Fallen grid lines can cause fires and electrocution, so it is wise to be cautious.
Power Surges and Circuit Breaker Problems
When electricity and water mix, they can be risky for your home and family. In winter, water can accumulate and get into parts of your home. Moisture can impact the performance of your outdoor light fixtures.
You may notice appliances breaking down more frequently. Rusting can loosen the wiring, causing electrical arching. The electrical faults can trigger overheating inside appliances like the washing machine and HVAC system.
Unfortunately, winter is also when you’ll use appliances for heating and cooking. The circuit breaker may trip more frequently due to the higher power demands from the electrical system. Flipping the switch on should restore power.
If the circuit breaker keeps tripping even after turning the power back on, your electrical system could be faulty. Note the equipment that is causing the breaker to trip. Remove the appliance and check the breaker to see if its removal solved the problem.
You may be using outdated equipment that is no longer compatible with modern electrical systems. A defective appliance can electrocute you or trigger electrical fires. If you are unsure, talk to the electricians at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning in Seattle for electrical circuit troubleshooting.
Burnt-Out Light Bulbs
An overloaded circuit and moisture problems in winter can increase incidences of burnt-out bulbs. You can troubleshoot the problem by ruling out other reasons.
You may have the wrong dimmer switch for the bulb. Older devices are only compatible with incandescent bulbs. The dimmer can damage the circuitry in fluorescent and LED lighting. If the issue affects only one fixture, the device is one of the most likely culprits.
Another problem is vibrations around the fixture. A fan, garage door opener, or washing machine near the bulb can make it shake, breaking its filament. In such locations, consider using heavy-duty lighting that can withstand vibrations.
You could also replace your lighting with LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs. LED bulbs are more robust and durable. They can provide up to 50,000 hours of light. LEDs have no mercury compared to fluorescent bulbs, making them safer than most alternatives.
Frayed and Outdated Wiring
The electrical wiring may deteriorate for several reasons. Depending on its location, moisture can precipitate the process. Damp areas of your home may attract rodents, which may chew on the wires and damage them with time.
An overloaded circuit can also cause the insulation to melt and deteriorate. The defective wiring could be inside an outlet or a bulb. The lack of insulation can cause a short circuit when wires touch.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), 13% of electrical fires are because of wiring problems. Every year there are approximately 46,500 house fires in the United States.
An outdated circuit could be the source of your wiring problems. In the cold season, the high demand for appliances may exceed the rating of your home’s circuitry. If your house is more than 30 years old, the electrical system may need an upgrade.
Outdated electrical circuits are characterized by aluminum wiring and knob-and-tube wiring. Such connections can increase the risk of hazards. Talk to Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning electricians for lasting solutions on how you can upgrade your electrical system in Seattle.
Defective or Burnt Electrical Outlets
It is also wise to pay attention to defective outlets during winter. Since you are using your electrical system more frequently, there is a higher risk of hazards. Some of the signs of faulty outlets are discoloration, sparking, and buzzing. The outlet may also feel warm to the touch.
If you spot any of those signs, avoid using the outlet. Extension cords can be dangerous when they don’t match the power ratings of the appliance. Consider increasing the number of outlets rather than using extension cords.
Some homes may not have ground outlets, which can also be a safety risk. The ground connection allows electrical energy to dissipate underground. It can protect your appliances and prevent electrocution.
Bathrooms and kitchen and outdoor areas should have GFCI circuits. Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters are required for compliance with local regulations. GFCI devices can break the circuit to prevent the leakage of current that may cause electrocution in damp areas. If the outlet is defective, consider replacing it before the cold season begins.
How to Prevent Electrical Problems
Electrical problems in winter can be disruptive, but you can take some steps to prevent unexpected issues in the cold season. Carry out a visual inspection of the outlets and light fixtures. Look out for burnt-out bulbs or discolored receptacles. You may examine the circuit breaker switch for signs of rusting and deterioration. If your main panel is more than a decade old, you may want to consider a replacement.
Consult a certified professional in Seattle for electrical services. A certified professional understands the local codes and regulations. They can provide insights on upgrading and boosting your electrical system’s performance.
Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning is a leading electrical company offering quality services to residents of Seattle and the surrounding areas. Our team can handle box wiring, rough electrical wiring, ceiling, and attic-fan installation. We can also carry out a thorough inspection of the main panel, outlets, and light fixtures. Our staff will troubleshoot your electrical system and restore power to your home. You can call us to schedule a service with our trusted team in Seattle today.