April showers bring May flowers. But they also bring power outages and other electric hazards that can put a real damper on your home energy efficiency. Luckily, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way during the rainy spring season! Follow these steps to help prevent damage.
BEFORE A RAINSTORM
Unplug Electronics: If lightning strikes your home, it could burn up expensive electrical appliances and equipment that are still left plugged in. Unplug sensitive electronic equipment such as TVs, DVD players, stereos and computers.
Invest in Power Surge Protection: A whole house surge protector can prevent your sensitive devices from that next lightning strike or downed power line. The power surge protector attaches to your home’s main electric panel. This heavy duty surge protector redirects excess electricity to the ground, sparing your appliances and electronics from damage.
DURING A STORM
Be Safe With Generators: If you must use a backup generator, never operate it in your home or a partially closed space (like a garage). Never connect generators directly to household wiring without first installing a transfer switch. Make sure your generator is properly grounded and used with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). It is best to contact a professional electrician prior to generator use to ensure safety.
Limit These Activities: Do not touch concrete surfaces, including those in a basement or garage. Lightning can travel through the metal wires in concrete walls and flooring. Stay off corded phones and plugged in electronics. Avoid plumbing and water, including bathing or doing laundry.
AFTER A RAINSTORM
Steer Clear of Power Lines: High winds, lightning, fallen trees and car accidents during a storm could cause a power line to fall down. Downed power lines are considered live and dangerous. If you see one, locate local authorities immediately.
Inspect Your Surroundings From Afar: If your property or a portion of it is hit by a hard storm, the electric aftermath can be downright dangerous. Contact a professional if you spot any of the following signs after a storm:
- Burning odor or smoke (contact local fire authority)
- Light switches or outlets not working
- Humming or buzzing lights
- Flickering lights
- Hot ceiling fixtures
- Visible sparks (contact local fire authority)
Don’t Touch Your Switchboard: If switchboards are damaged by water, fire, or if lightning is close, steer clear of your electric panel.
Contact a Professional: If you’re unsure how to detect or repair electric damage caused by storms, it’s best to call the pros. Mister Sparky electricians have the skills and tools needed to replace sensitive electronic components like damaged wires, panels, and connections.