Hurricane season is once more upon us, and 2020 is expected to produce up to 20 named storms, including up to six major hurricanes. This is well above average and means that everyone living in hurricane territory should be planning.
Most people think about having food and fuel, planning for evacuations, and possibly boarding the windows. However, one area that is commonly neglected is electrical safety. There are several things you should do now to ensure you are ready for the coming storms.
Read through the following four tips, begin working through the preparedness steps, and you will be ready when the storms hit.
Learn How To Turn It Off
Most people know about the circuit breakers in their homes. However, they do not know how to kill the system in their home if ney needed to. During a major hurricane, emergency officials may ask you to turn your electricity off at the source. This is to reduce the draw on the system during times of possible damage. Reducing the draw helps prevent local system overloads and possible damage, including fire.
You will want to consult with your power supplier for the recommended method for turning off the power. It may be as simple as flipping the master switch on your breaker panel. However, they may also recommend turning off power further out. You may also have a master breaker near your utility meter.
If your area is experiencing flooding, you may want to proactively turn off the electricity to prevent shock or fire. This could be the one thing that saves you from injury or property damage.
Check Your Surge Protectors
One of the major electrical safety concerns during a hurricane is the fluctuations in the electrical system. This can be caused by anything from high winds blowing wires to debris bringing down lines. When this happens, it will cause a temporary drop in current followed by a surge.
This is why you use surge protectors in your home. Unfortunately, most people forget about these until there is an issue. When they fail, they can be as much a hazard as not having them. You want to check these to be sure they are ready before the panic buying begins.
Most surge protectors have at least one LED on the front. It will be green and should have the words “protection present” around it. If this illuminates, then you know the surge protector is working. If it does not illuminate, or if there is a red LED illuminated, there is likely something wrong with the device and should be replaced.
These individual devices are called point of service surge protectors. There is also the option for a whole house surge protector. The difference is the point of service model is usually only good for up to about 6,000 volts. However, during a storm one of the concerns is lightning strikes. One strike can bring up to a billion volts. A whole-home unit will certainly help protect from these major issues.
Even if you have a whole-home unit, you will still need the point of service units. This will help guard against smaller fluctuations that could still fry your electronics.
When you get word the storm is imminent, you may want to consider unplugging some of your appliances and electronics. When you use surge protectors, it becomes easy to just unplug the one protector and be done.
Leave the critical appliances plugged in, such as your refrigerator and freezer. Any smaller electronics, such as computers, cell phones, and tablets, unplug them and move them to higher areas in your home. Consider also unplugging your router and modem, or installing them in an area higher in your home.
Test and Service Your Home Generator
If you have a backup generator, now is a great time to test and service it. If you have a portable generator, be sure to fire it up, make sure it is working and full of fuel. Be sure you also have plenty of backup fuel to run the generator for as long as needed.
If you have a permanently installed standby generator, be sure to test it, and then also schedule annual maintenance. During this maintenance visit, an electrician will ensure all of the components are in good working order. They will also work with you to replace any parts that could cause a problem when you need it to function.
If you do not have a backup generator, now is the perfect time to make the investment. If you are not familiar with how to operate a portable generator, you are safer to install the standby type unit. This will be installed by a professional electrician, and will automatically turn on when voltage drops.
Follow these steps, and you will be prepared to face even the toughest hurricane season.
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.