Winter power outages in the Twin Cities metro aren’t uncommon. Every year, thousands of homes go dark for hours at a time due to heavy snow, ice storms, and whipping winter winds. Sub-zero temperatures also trigger an uptick in electrical usage, which can easily overload local grid systems.

While some power outages are widespread and unavoidable, others are the direct result of faulty or outdated electrical work. Below, the experts at Harrison Electric share tips to help you prevent winter power outages.

Schedule an Electrical System Inspection

If you own a newer home, its electrical work should be up to date and you shouldn’t need to worry about system overloads that might trigger an outage. But if you’ve noticed anything unusual with the way your outlets, switches, or breakers operate — regardless of your home’s age — don’t ignore it!

Anything out of the ordinary with your electrical system could indicate faulty electrical installation or even wiring damage. To protect your home from a winter outage, schedule an inspection with a licensed electrician who can alert you to potential red flags.

Replace Outdated Electrical Panel Wiring

If your electrical panel wiring is significantly outdated, your home has a much higher risk of experiencing a power outage during winter. What constitutes outdated? Generally, houses that are more than 20 years old lack the wiring capacity to handle modern electrical demands.

When power use rises during winter, decades-old wiring and circuits can easily become overloaded. Depending on the circumstances, overloaded wiring can result in something as minor as a tripped breaker or a major issue like an extended power outage.

If you suspect your home has outdated wiring, contact a licensed electrician for an inspection. If your electrician identifies outdated or potentially hazardous components, he’ll likely recommend rewiring the affected parts or replacing your old electrical panel.

Install a Home Generator

Severe winter storms can easily topple power poles or blow tree limbs into electrical lines, causing widespread, unavoidable power outages. While there’s really nothing you can do to prevent these types of outages, there is something you can do to keep your heat and lights on: install a home generator.

A whole-house generator is designed to power your entire house in the absence of grid power. The generator uses a transfer switch that wires to your breaker box, which allows it to immediately detect a reduction in grid-supplied power. When the generator detects a loss of current, it begins supplying electricity to power your home. When the power eventually comes back on, the transfer switch detects the increase in current and automatically shuts down the generator.

If anyone in your household relies on electrically powered medical equipment or other devices, you should seriously consider having an electrician install a whole-house generator. Though you may not need to use it frequently, it’s a smart addition to your home that could ultimately prove a life-saving investment.

Looking for a Licensed Electrician in the Twin Cities?

If you’re unsure whether your house can handle your increased electrical needs this winter, let our team at Harrison Electric help. Our licensed electricians can inspect your electrical system for outdated and damaged components and perform the appropriate service upgrades to ensure your wiring performs optimally. To schedule service, request a quote, or learn more about how we can help, call our Minneapolis office today at 763-544-3300 or send us a message.