Winter is right around the corner, which means it’s time to prepare your property for months of snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. We all know about preparing our plumbing and sealing our doors and window, but how many of us think about winterizing our electrical systems? A properly winterized electrical system can help protect you from chilly drafts, weather-related power surges, and even structural damage. What do you need to do to help ensure your property is protected this winter? The experts at Harrison Electric in the Twin Cities metro give you a quick rundown below.
Trim Large Tree Branches
When wet, heavy snow accumulates on large, overhanging tree branches in your yard, it can have some devastating consequences. Not only can tree branches break, fall, and damage the power lines that lead to your home, but they can also potentially damage your roof. Before winter, inspect your property for trees that need trimming. Removing overhanging branches can help protect your home from power outages, electrical fires, and structural damage.
Consider Whole-House Surge Protection
Heavy precipitation can result in damage to power lines and electrical transformers, which, in turn, can cause electrical surges and power outages. To protect your appliances and electronics, consider installing whole-house surge protection. Unlike plug-in surge protectors, whole-house protection installs directly into your breaker box. Because it connects to your central power supply, it protects every appliance and device plugged into your home’s electrical system.
Insulation Is Key
If your home isn’t well-insulated, winter weather can dramatically increase your utility bills. To help increase the efficiency of your heating system, consider adding extra insulation in places where it's currently lacking. Check your attic for adequate insulation, and if you have outdoor outlets, examine those as well. You should also examine your electrical panel for any possible air leaks. If you feel cool air traveling indoors from tiny gaps around your breaker box, you may need to implement duct sealing within the wall or add calk around the side of the panel.
Seal Electrical Outlets
If you own an older home, frigid air can seep inside through the tiny gaps around your electrical outlets. To prevent a chilly draft, consider sealing your electrical outlets before winter hits. To find outlets that may allow air inside, perform this simple test:
● Light an incense stick and allow the flame to burn out; only perform this test while the stick is producing smoke.
● Hold the still-smoking incense stick in front of each outlet you want to test.
● Watch the smoke stream—if it moves horizontally, you likely have air coming in from the outside. If the smoke travels vertically, the outlet is fully sealed.
● You’ll need to seal any outlets that fail the smoke test.
To seal your outlets, you can use foam gaskets that fit around each outlet cover; these gaskets are usually available at your local home improvement store. Alternatively, you can try putty or calk to seal out incoming air. If you’re not sure how to do this, have a qualified electrician take care of it for you. As well, if you notice any loose or wiggling outlets while you’re performing smoke testing, have them repaired. A residential electrician can quickly tighten them up to save you from a potential hazard.
Residential Electricians in the Twin Cities
When you’re ready to prepare your home for winter, call the professionals at Harrison Electric. We can inspect your home’s electrical wiring for any potential hazards and quickly repair them before winter hits. And if you’re looking for whole-home surge protection, we’ve got you covered. Whatever your electrical needs, from electrical panel wiring to installing a home generator, we have the experience you need and service you can trust. For questions, or to schedule your service appointment, give us a call at 763-544-3300, or you can message on our contact page.