Winter is nearly upon us in the Twin Cities, and that means most people will be spending a significant amount of time indoors over the coming months. With more time spent indoors comes greater electricity usage, and that increased usage can present homeowners with a few common electrical problems. But avoiding seasonal winter electrical issues is fairly simple, and we’re sharing the details on how you can do that below. 

1. Overloaded Circuit Breakers

Winter can be very demanding on your electrical system due to the increased demand for power during the cold, snowy months. Near-constant use of heating equipment and other electrical comfort measures can put considerable strain on older electrical panels, especially those that were not designed for the electrical output today’s homeowner demands.

Ultimately, a strained electrical system can suffer repeated circuit breaker tripping and other issues like dimming and flickering lights when power-hungry appliances turn on. But it’s possible to prevent these wintertime inconveniences from occurring with a small investment in electrical panel wiring upgrades.

A residential electrician can assess your existing electrical panel, household wiring, and your family’s typical energy usage. With that information, he can upgrade your electrical panel wiring so that it’s fully equipped to meet the demands of your household. 

2. Increased Electrical Fire Risks Caused by Outdated Equipment

Do you ever use space heaters or heated blankets when temperatures really start to drop? Do you hang holiday lights? Then you’ll want to make doubly sure all of the seasonal electrical equipment you plan to use this year is fully intact and in proper working order.

Unfortunately, wintertime electrical fires are far from uncommon as homeowners often use old, outdated seasonal equipment that spends the majority of its life in storage. Over time, that equipment can degrade (yes, even in storage) and present a fire hazard when in use.

To make sure your wintertime-only electrical implements are in safe working order, inspect your equipment for signs of wear and if you observe any of the following issues, toss them out:

●        Frayed or otherwise damaged wires

●        Discoloration near cord attachments

●        Burning odor when you plug a device into your wall outlet

●        Electrical equipment that’s warm to the touch when it’s plugged in

3. Power Outages

Snow and ice storms can easily cause widespread power outages throughout the Twin Cities, and they certainly have, many times. When those outages are accompanied by freezing temperatures, you’ve got a major problem unless you have some type of electrical system backup. And that’s especially true if anyone in your household relies on medical equipment that requires power to function.

That’s where a backup generator can be incredibly valuable. When the power goes down, a home generator immediately springs to life, delivering a steady electrical supply even when everyone else’s windows go dark. Yes, installing a home generator is certainly an investment, but when you live in a cold climate like ours where the risk for wintertime power outages is high, that investment is more than worth its cost.

4. Wiring Damage Caused by Shelter-Seeking Pests

Mice and other rodents commonly seek shelter inside attics and basements during the winter months, where they can easily chew up exposed wiring and cause a serious fire hazard.

To protect your electrical system (and home) from damage caused by rodents, be sure to seal up any and all entry points that may allow critters inside your house. If you notice signs of a pest intrusion, don’t DIY your pest removal as at-home extermination options rarely control an infestation. Call an exterminator.

Need a Residential Electrician in Minneapolis?

If your home electrical system needs an upgrade to perform optimally throughout the winter months, let our team at Harrison Electric help you out! All of our electricians are fully licensed, insured, and bonded, and we’ve proudly served the Twin Cities metro for more than 30 years. To get started, give us a call today at 763-544-3300 or request a quote, and we’ll be in touch!