Help Your Electrical System Beat the Heat
While the long, hot days of summer present countless opportunities for fun with family and friends, these conditions can also aggravate issues in your electrical system. Given how dependent we are as a society on having constant, reliable access to electricity, it is critically important to take the necessary precautions and sidestep preventable electrical system breakdowns.
Below are just a few issues that we commonly see crop up during the summer:
Circuit Breakers Tripping Frequently
A circuit breaker trips when your appliances begin pulling more electricity than the circuit can safely handle. Rather than allowing dangerous arcs to damage the electrical panel or start an electrical fire, these important safety features shut off power flowing through the circuit. During the summer time, it is fairly common for air conditioners to cause frequent problems for their circuit breakers. After all, HVAC systems are some of the biggest power users in virtually any home - and AC systems see near-constant use. If you notice an increase in tripped circuit breakers during the summer, it may be a good idea to bring in an expert. We can help to identify any hidden problems and help you determine if a panel upgrade might be a wise decision.
Excessive Use of Extension Cords
Those who live in older homes may not have enough outlets to suit their needs and often supplement with the use of extension cords. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous for several reasons. The use of extension cords makes it much easier to overload an electrical system that is already older and more likely to have existing problems. Additionally, extension cords were not designed with the intention of being permanent solutions and therefore may not be as durable in the long-term. During the summer, this becomes a particular issue for those who use extension cords to power fans or portable AC units throughout the home. If you are planning to stay in your home for the next several years, it would be wise to simply update the electrical system so it can support your family’s needs.
Lights Flickering When the AC Starts
It is far from uncommon, especially in older homes, to notice flickering lights when certain appliances power up. You may notice it when the vacuum is running or while you microwave a meal – or when your AC system cycles on. However, common though it may be, this is a clear indication that your electrical system may be overloaded. In the short term, being cautious about which appliances are activated at the same time can help minimize problems. In the long term, it is a good idea to have our licensed electrician investigate the problem and make sure there are no potentially dangerous issues.
The more the weather heats up, the greater strain there will be on your local power company. No one wants to be hot and uncomfortable in their own homes! If an area demands more electricity than the power company is able to supply, a brown out is likely to occur. You may get an indication that it is soon to happen if you notice your lights flickering or your active appliances start to have problems all at once. When the brown out occurs, there really isn’t anything to be done except wait for demand to decrease. However, as a member of the community, you may be able to contribute to avoiding them in the first place. During heat waves, try to take careful notice of how much energy you are using and try to be as cautious as you can to turn off lights and fans in rooms you are not using and unplug appliances when not in use.
With summer already upon us, it is important to set your electrical system – and the well-being of your home as a whole – up for success.
Call Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar today at (408) 868-5500 to speak with a member of our team about the health of your electrical system this summer!