The winter season in Kansas produces high winds, sub-freezing temperatures, and harsh ice and snow storms. These outside elements can wreak havoc on your electrical system throughout your house. In addition to severe weather, the use of heating systems and heating devices can add stress to your electrical panel, wiring, and outlets.  As you prepare your home for winter, it is important to be aware of the potential hazard of the cold season on your electrical system. For this reason, you may want to schedule a professional electrical inspection to repair or upgrade your system and prevent any potential safety issues that may arise during the winter season. 

Common Electrical Safety Issues You May Experience During Winter

 Tripping Circuit Breakers

Heating your home requires nearly four times more energy than cooling your home. Your furnace uses a significant amount of electricity to run throughout the season. You are also more likely to be indoors, which leads to higher energy consumption. Using the furnace, heating devices, and electronics can take a heavy toll on your electrical panel, leading to tripping circuit breakers.

Power Outages

If your home is not equipped to handle your power requirements, you may experience more power outages. The only way to know if your system can accommodate your power consumption is to schedule a professional electrical inspection. A Kansas-certified electrician can assess your wiring and other components to identify necessary upgrades you need to make to prepare your electrical system for winter.

Heavy Ice and Snow

Snow and ice accumulation can increase the weight of a tree limb, power line, or cable by up to 30 times. Eventually, the line will snap under the weight, leading to a power outage or an electrical shock risk. When scheduling an electrical inspection, request that the electrician looks at all outside lines coming into your property to ensure they are secure. 

Flickering Lights

Flickering lights occur due to low household voltage. Abrupt changes in voltage from low to high can damage electronics and, in some cases, cause an electrical fire. If you notice chronic flickering lights in more than one room, it may be time for an electrical panel upgrade or a wiring repair.

7 Ways to Keep Your Electrical System Safe This Winter

Here are seven ways you can secure your electrical system and practice electrical safety this winter.

1. Schedule an Electrical Inspection Before Winter

Perhaps the best thing you can do to secure your electrical system for the cold season is to schedule an electrical inspection before winter. A Kansas-certified electrician can assess your system and recommend ways to protect all components before the harsh winter arrives. An inspection followed by maintenance can prevent costly repairs and minimize safety risks.

2. Minimize Space Heater Use

Most space heaters use, on average, 1,500 Watts of electricity and cost about 15¢ an hour to operate. While that may not sound like much, space heaters are notorious for causing power outages, power surges, and fires. Minimize space heater use and limit it to small areas that you occupy. Monitor the space heater and never leave it unattended. 

3. Avoid Overloading an Outlet or GFCI

A common cause of fires during winter is power surges. Many power surges result from concentrating too much power on a single outlet or isolated circuit. A classic example is plugging too many holiday tree lights into a single power strip. Go around your house and look for any overused outlets. If so, spread your power out by plugging devices into different outlets instead of the same one.

4. Inspect Your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Did you know that your furnace produces carbon monoxide? Fortunately, it does not create enough CO to harm you. However, a leak in your furnace or other gas appliance can produce harmful levels of CO that often go undetected. If you schedule an electrical inspection, ask the electrician to assess your carbon monoxide detector. You may need to replace or repair it.

5. Do Not Leave Your Electric Blanket On

The wires that run through the blanket are tiny filaments vulnerable to damage. As a result, your blanket can easily overheat and cause sparks and fire. Turn the blanket off before bed or before you leave the house. Never leave an electric blanket turned on and unattended. Also, inspect your blanket for tears or damage to the wiring.

6. Unplug Your Holiday Decorations When Not in Use

Regardless of which holidays you observe or how you celebrate, chances are you are pulling out the holiday decor this year. While decors such as lights can add flavor to the holidays, they can also be dangerous. When using lights or other holiday devices, turn them off and unplug them when not in use. Doing so can create a safer environment inside and outside the home.

 7. Use Outside Lights for Outside Use

One of the best ways to prevent an electrical issue outside is to use winter extension cords. Unlike regular outdoor power cords, cold-weather extension cords are heavily insulated to protect against moisture and sub-zero temperatures. They are designed to stay flexible in temperatures as low as -67°F, making them safe and easy to maneuver around the driveway when using your snowblower.

Schedule Electrical Inspection in Wichita, Kansas

Prepare your electrical system for the harsh cold weather this winter season. Contact Eck Services to assess your electrical panel, wiring, outlets, fixtures, and other components. We offer professional electrical inspections in Wichita, Kansas. Contact us today for an in-home evaluation and get a fair and accurate estimate.  Fill out our contact form or call us to schedule electrical services in Wichita, Kansas.