Hurricane season officially began on June 1, and experts are already predicting another active season. AccuWeather’s meteorologists warn that the US should expect 2-4 major hurricanes to hit our shores. They also say people should start preparing now if they haven’t already.
What does hurricane preparedness mean when it comes to your home’s electricity, though? Is there anything you can do to prevent power outages and electrical damage?
Thankfully, there are steps you can take. Read on to learn about the hurricane safety procedures you should be aware of when it comes to electricity and how to prepare your home for a storm.
Your Home’s Wiring
Old homes with outdated wiring are hazardous even when there isn’t a hurricane approaching. Newer houses can also pose a risk if anyone attempted DIY electrical projects in the past. That’s why the first step in preparing your home’s wiring is to have it inspected by an expert electrician.
Along with wiring repair, there are a few other ways you can prepare your house to withstand the upcoming storm season.
Whole-Home Surge Protectors
Downed power lines, sudden power outages, and lightning strikes during a hurricane can all lead to power surges in your home. These surges can damage (or even break) anything that’s plugged in when they happen.
To protect against power surges, many people turn to inexpensive point-of-use surge protectors that plug into the wall. These are good at protecting your devices from the mini power surges that happen every day. They aren’t strong enough to protect you from lightning strikes or other large surges, though.
Rather than relying on these ineffective power strips, people in hurricane-prone areas should invest in a whole-home surge protector. These devices protect your entire home’s electrical systems from damage instead of only a few outlets.
Protecting Your Electricity From the Elements
Along with protecting your home’s electricity on the inside, take time to protect it on the outside too. If your home has any unsecured electrical panels or wiring on the outside, make sure they’re fastened down tightly and insulated against water. If you have an unprotected outdoor generator, you may want to cover it with a secure tarp or watertight plastic housing.
It’s a well-known fact that water and electricity don’t mix, but wind and electricity are a dangerous combo as well. Keep any trees trimmed back that could fall on power lines near your home. Also, make sure to unplug any extension cords you have running through your yard, as these could become a serious electrocution hazard if flooding occurs.
Backup Power Source
Preparing your home’s electricity is a vital part of hurricane preparedness. Unfortunately, even the best-protected homes could still lose electricity during the storm.
Along with flooding and wind damage, hurricanes often lead to massive power outages. Downed electric lines, blown transformers, and damaged power plants can leave thousands of people without power for days or weeks. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, over 8 million households and businesses along the east coast lost power.
While it’s a good idea for everyone to own some source of backup power in case of an outage, it’s even more crucial if you live in the path of frequent natural disasters. If your home is near the coast and you don’t already own a generator, there’s no better time than the present to invest in one. Not just any generator will do, though—you need one that’s powerful enough to keep you going until the grid is repaired.
Best Generator for Hurricane Preparedness
A tiny gasoline generator doesn’t have the horsepower to keep you going through a hurricane electric outage. Small, inexpensive generators burn through fuel quickly and last a couple of hours at best. Gasoline shortages frequently happen after hurricanes making gas hard to find for your generator.
Instead, look for a generator that’s designed specifically to provide electricity to an entire home.
Home standby generators can run everything from your lights and kitchen appliances to your heating and cooling system. They kick on automatically when the power goes out and shut off again as soon as it’s restored. That means you don’t have to worry about losing all the food in your refrigerator or baking in 95-degree weather without AC.
These systems run on either propane or natural gas, and their installation isn’t something you should tackle by yourself. If you’re curious about what type of generator is best in a hurricane or want to get one for your home, contact an experienced electrician in your area for help.
Other Electrical Hurricane Safety Precautions
Despite all of our best efforts to prepare for a hurricane, sometimes things still go wrong. That’s why it’s so important to keep the number for your local emergency electrician at hand.
Some other electrical precautions you should take include:
- Make sure your phones are fully charged before the hurricane hits
- Carry portable battery chargers for your electronics
- Keep flashlights or battery lanterns at the ready, they’re safer than candles
- Learn the signs of a downed wire and avoid those areas
One question people sometimes ask is “should you turn off electricity during a hurricane?” If you’re evacuating, yes. You should take the time to turn off all utilities if possible to avoid fires or excess water damage.
If you aren’t evacuating, it’s still best to shut off your power at the main breaker if flooding is imminent. Turn off or unplug your major appliances as well to minimize damage. Taking these steps can help prevent accidental electrocutions in your home.
The Best Time for Hurricane Preparedness Is Now
It’s easy to forget about preparing your home for hurricane season when the skies are blue and the weather is nice. Even so, practicing hurricane preparedness before there’s a storm on the horizon is the best way to make sure you don’t get caught by surprise.
Do you need help making sure your home’s wiring and electrical systems are up to snuff? Need a new home generator installed? In need of emergency maintenance or repairs?
If so, turn to the Bay Area’s most trusted electrical services company for help. Our licensed electricians can assist you with all of your home electrical needs in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties. Give us a call at 727-314-5854 or contact us online to book an appointment today.