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5 Tips to Prepare Your Electrical Systems for Winter

Electrical systems can take a beating during any season. The winter season is nigh, and with it comes snow, harsh winds, and quite the drop off in temperature. While it is important to ensure that your heating system is in top shape and your plumbing is properly protected from freezing temperatures, you may overlook the importance of protecting your electrical system. In order to avoid costly repairs and ensure a steady flow of power to the home, there are a number of tips that we’d be happy to share in order to ensure that you’re as prepared as possible for this oncoming season:

1. Electrical Systems Energy Conservation

Conduct an annual check of your home’s energy efficiency as the weather chills. Be aware of “phantom load,” which is the power that flows to unused appliances or electronics. Many people are surprised to learn that power is continuously consumed by many devices, even when they are not turned on or in use. Unplug appliances that are not currently in use. Consider using a power strip to supply current to multiple devices. It is then much easier to shut off power to those devices, rather than having to unplug each cord.

2. Generator Preparation

Having a backup generator is a wise choice during the winter months. In the event of an outage, a backup or portable generator can ensure that the home remains warm and lit until service is restored. An annual tune-up is a great way for those who already have a generator in place to make sure that the unit is in good condition and ready to be called into service. There are a number of different options available at a wide variety of price points. Anyone who has experienced a prolonged loss of power can speak to the benefits of having a generator ready to go.

3. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Maintenance

These devices keep your family safe and secure. During cold weather preparations, be sure to install fresh batteries and check that each detector and alarm is functioning properly. Homeowners with older detectors may want to consider updating them with newer and more advanced electrical systems. The cost of replacing old smoke and carbon monoxide detectors pales in comparison to the cost of a fire or the detriment of carbon monoxide poisoning.

4. Electrical Outlets and GFCI Testing

Any electrical systems winter preparation checklist should include a test of all of the home’s power outlets. A multimeter will make this a fast and easy task to accomplish.  The multimeter will not only check to make sure that an outlet is getting sufficient power, it can also let the homeowner know if the wires are properly connected, and if the outlet is safely grounded. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are special outlets that are designed to automatically shut off when an electrical fault is detected. However, they wear out over time and will need to be replaced. A special device is used to test older GFCIs, and those manufactured after 2006 will simply stop working once the circuitry fails.

5. Exterior Security Lighting Installation and Update

There are a number of excellent exterior lighting options currently on the market. Homeowners should evaluate their outdoor lighting and determine if additional or updated lighting would bring value to the home. In addition to improving a home’s security, exterior lighting can make it far easier to unload groceries, care for pets, or get the kids settled into the car after dark. Many options are motion-activated, and some even offer high tech features such as a security camera that can be accessed remotely.

Call JDV Electric for any winter-prep inquiries!