Summer may be a season for fun and games, but it can also pose numerous challenges for homeowners. In addition to coping with higher water and electrical bills, you may have to fend off threats to the safety, efficiency and functionality of the electrical system itself. Here are some things you can to do protect your home's electrical system against the seasonal quirks of summer.
Get Ready for Storm-Related Surges
Summer means summer storms -- including lots of electrical storms. That's because the combination of warm, moist air rising up from the ground and colder air higher in the atmosphere causes clouds to develop a strong electrical field with a negative charge, interacting with the positive charge on the ground to create lighting strikes. When these surges of power enter your electrical system, you may end up with a variety of "fried" components and blown fuses.
This threat makes summertime to the perfect time to invest in a strong surge protection strategies. You can buy individual surge protectors to help minimize electrical spikes to any electronic components that are plugged into them. Keep in mind, however, that this level of protection only extends to these devices; it won't protect any of the other switches, circuits, motors and other electrical components in your home. To achieve this extra protection, you should also ask your electrician to install a service entrance surge protection device. This device attaches directly to your home's meter or main electrical panel, serving as a gatekeeper against power surges. It won't eliminate the surge, but it can reduce it to a level that the rest of your system can survive.
Consider Ditching the Aluminum Wiring
If your home is several decades old, there's a good chance that it's equipped with aluminum wiring. This lightweight material conducts electricity just fine, but it also expands in hot weather and contracts in cold weather. Over time these changes can weaken the electrical connections, leading to overheating or even a full-scale electrical fire. This summer could prove one thermal expansion too many for an aging aluminum-based wiring system in your home.
If your home was built or remodeled in the 1960s or 1970s (when aluminum wiring was a popular material), ask your residential electrician to examine the wiring system and its connections. The safest and most conservative approach is to have the aluminum completely replaced with copper wiring.
Schedule a Pest Inspection
Just as you and your family members enjoy summertime activities, so do many members of the animal kingdom become more active during the warmer months of the year -- including, unfortunately, pests that can wreck your electrical system. For instance, squirrels love to take refuge in attic spaces, where they tend to produce two litters of offspring per year, with one of those litters occurring in the summer. This new family can chew right through your electrical insulation, creating a fire risk. Termites that remained dormant during winter weather may also make an appearance when the temperature rises -- and they can eat into electrical wiring as well.
If you want to make sure all that summertime electricity you're using is going through undamaged wiring, schedule an inspection from your local pest control company. Once your unwelcome visitors are gone, your electrician can make any necessary wiring repairs or replacements to keep your family safe. As a not inconsiderable side benefit, getting rid of chewing pests can spare your home from holes and other breaches that allow cool air to escape and force you to overwork your air conditioner.
Taking some seasonal considerations to heart (and acting on them as needed) can help you enjoy a safer, happier summer. Talk to your electrician and other home improvement professionals about these and other smart summertime strategies. Contact a company like Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to get started.