Summer brings with it a myriad of various electrical problems, and most are easy to spot, even to an untrained eye. After all, when the power goes out, there is obviously something wrong with the system. The trick is to find those problems early so you do not experience an outage.
The problem with summer is that heat alone adds stress to the entire electrical system. Excessive heat causes transmission lines to not work as efficiently. Add to that the increased demand due to air conditioners, and you have an environment where lines will swell.
Fortunately, you do not have to worry about high-intensity transmission lines serving your home. However, that does not mean your home does not experience some measure of added stress due to the heat.
Below are five issues that are common during the summer, and may indicate electrical problems you need to address. If you experience any of the first three, you should seek the help of a licensed electrician in Lakeland or Mulberry.
#1: Flickering Lights
The first indication of a problem many people notice is flickering lights. Sometimes you will notice this when the refrigerator starts, when you turn on a hairdryer, or when your air conditioning activates. You may also notice it during a thunderstorm, which is completely normal.
If you notice the flickering frequently, especially when the air conditioner is running, then you should have your system inspected. It could be as simple as needing some maintenance to your air conditioning system. However, it could also be a problem in the electrical system itself, such as a short, or some worn wires. Tracking down the root cause is important to avoid the possibility of both electrical shocks or fire hazards.
#2: Electrical Problems: Brownouts
Brownouts differ from flickering lights. This is when your lights stay on, but they dim slightly. This may be just a brief moment or may last for a few seconds or longer. In many cases, these are caused by larger systemic problems, such as too much drain on the system.
In your home, a brownout can be caused by too much drain being put on the entire system. While it may not be enough in any one circuit to trip a breaker, your home may not be supplied with as much as you are using. The wiring can only handle so much electrical current at a time. When more is being drawn in, it will either cause a breaker to trip or a brownout.
Running multiple air conditioners, such as window air conditioners or portable room air conditioning units, this can cause your electricity to dim. Not only is this annoying, but it also can cause problems with appliances such as a refrigerator. Having a low electrical flow to a refrigerator can put additional strain on it, as well as cause it to wear our prematurely. This is why it is important to investigate the source of the brownout.
The best place to start the investigation is to talk with neighbors. If they are experiencing brownouts as well, you know the problem is not with your home’s electrical system. Rather, it is likely a problem with the grid supplying your area and should be reported to your utility company.
#3: Tripped Breakers
Tripped breakers are another common issue people experience during the summer. If you are running multiple high-load appliances on a single breaker, you may need to upgrade the system. However, it is not merely putting in a higher load breaker. Rather, you need to be sure the wiring for the circuit can handle the load you want to pass. Failing to do so puts your home at risk of an electrical fire. A single instance could mean you need to clean your air conditioner’s air filter. However, multiple trips on the same circuit indicate a problem you need to work to solve.
#4: Too Many Extension Cords
Using too many extension cords can cause major problems for your home. First, many people attempt to use extension cords to help give additional reach to appliances like air conditioners or fans. The problem is that many people do not match the extension cord with the draw needed. Putting a high-draw appliance, like an air conditioner, on an extension cord with a lower draw rating risks an electrical fire.
Additionally, people will use extension cords or power strips to plug more in, especially fans. This can tax your system beyond what it as intended to handle. As a rule, try to limit the number of appliances used to the number of actual wall outlets.
#5: Ceiling Fan Misuse
Finally, ceiling fans are often misused. While these may not pose a problem, they certainly can add stress to the system. Be sure the fan is spinning the correct way for summer, which should be counterclockwise as you look up at it. This will help circulate air properly as well as add a cooling effect while air is moving.
A licensed electrician in Mulberry or Lakeland will be able to help you dig past basic symptoms and ensure your home is ready for the rest of the summer.
Your Next Move
You should always contact a licensed electrician whenever you consider upgrading or repairing anything electrical. Electricity is nothing to play with, and attempting to fix a problem on your own could worsen your issue or create a bigger problem than you know how to fix. When it comes to installing dedicated circuits, you want to make sure the process goes smoothly and causes no issues.
At D.O.C. Electric Inc., we have the know-how to assist you. We’ll send out a professional electrician to help you figure out which appliances deserve dedicated circuits so that you can configure the electricity of your home more efficiently and logically. To get in contact with an electrician today, contact us, and we’ll help you get your circuits sorted out.