We don’t always think of the summer as a season with exceptionally high energy consumption. The sun is out longer so we don’t need as many lights on, and we spend more time outdoors so we are not using as much electricity indoors… in theory.
This is a bit of a misconception, though. Summertime is actually very hard on the electrical grid, especially with the increased use of home air conditioning units in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. These appliances require an enormous amount of energy to cool our homes.
All that is to say that there are some common electrical problems that occur in the summer. Let’s take a look at a few and how you can avoid them.
Using all the heavy-hitter appliances at once – air conditioner, dishwasher, entertainment centre, etc. – can lead to a power surge that can trip your breakers or cause a temporary shut down of power. Lightning storms can also cause surges.
The best way to prevent surges is to minimize your concurrent use of large appliances, and to unplug these devices during a storm.
Summer storms can bring unexpected rainfall, high winds that break branches and tree limbs and compromise power lines. There is also lightning to be watchful of, which can cause surges and damage to our electrical devices.
You can’t do much to control the weather, but you can make sure you are prepared if the power goes out due to a storm. Make sure you have a well stocked storm kit with candles, dry food supply and water.
You can often tell when overloading is happening. Lights might flicker, plug ins will feel warmer than normal, you might hear some buzzing from the electrical supply, and circuits are more likely to trip.
To avoid overloading your system, you may need to reduce how much electricity you use at once. If you live in an older house that is not equipped for modern electrical use, it might be time to call in an electrician to come in and update the building’s electrical system.
There are easy ways to reduce your summertime electrical intake – mostly by taking advantage of the warm weather. Instead of using the clothes dryer, hang your clothes outside to dry. Find a shady spot near some water instead of staying inside and blasting the A/C. Open the curtains and let the sun’s natural light in instead of turning on the lights in your home. Invest in some solar powered outdoor lighting rather than electrical lights. Get creative with ways to reduce your energy consumption!
Another way to improve your electrical intake is to call your local electrician and have them come in and do some updates, especially if you live in an older home. If you notice a lot of surges or constantly tripping circuits, it is time to call an electrical contractor to assess your home. Prevention is best when it comes to electrical problems.