Frosty days cause more than just stiff fingers and gooseflesh.
The cold bites into every element in our surroundings.
Your door locks, water supply pipes, car’s lubrication and ignition system, and a whole range of domestic items and amenities suffer the air’s density.
Our domestic electrical systems are no different. From circuitry disturbance to dead appliances, the ambient temperatures can wreak havoc if we don’t take appropriate precautions.
In this blog post, we’ll explore 5 potential electrical issues that arise during winter, their causes, and effective solutions to ensure a seamless electrical experience at home.
Wire behavior with the weather.
One of the primary challenges during winter is the drop in temperature affecting the conductivity of electrical conductor materials.
As the mercury plummets, the conductivity of copper and other metals used in wiring decreases. This can result in resistance buildup and, subsequently, increased heat generation in electrical circuits.
Consider upgrading your wiring to materials designed to withstand colder temperatures.
Winter-resistant cables with additional insulation can help maintain proper conductivity and prevent potential fire hazards due to heat buildup. General wire jackets and cable sheaths involve polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is effective up to +5°C.
To increase the cold tolerance up to -25°C and -40°C respectively, you can use sheath material made of polyurethane (PUR) and thermoplastic elastomers (TPE).
Switches stop sometimes.
In cold weather, switchgear elements such as miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) and electrical switches may become stiff and less responsive. This reduced functionality can lead to difficulties in turning them on or off, frustrating homeowners.
Choose switchgear components designed for cold climates.
Look for products with low-temperature ratings, ensuring smooth operation even in sub-zero conditions. Regular maintenance, including lubricating moving parts, can also improve responsiveness during winter.
If each electrical switch’s materials have their coefficients of expansion properly designed, then problems mitigate themselves. There are a host of cold-resistant plastics you can use on the plates and exterior casings, such as polyamide (nylon) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
Electrical accessories and appliances, especially those exposed to outdoor conditions or located in unheated areas, can face increased duress during winter. The strain on motors and compressors due to colder temperatures may result in malfunctions.
Shield outdoor appliances from the elements using cloth covers or enclosures.
For unheated areas, consider relocating sensitive appliances to more climate-controlled spaces during the winter months. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning filters and inspecting motors, is crucial to prevent winter-related breakdowns.
Winter storms can bring a host of challenges.
This would include ice and snow accumulation on power lines and utility poles. This can lead to power outages, leaving homes in darkness and causing inconvenience.
Consider installing a backup power solution, such as a generator or uninterruptible power supply (UPS), to keep essential appliances running during power outages.
Ensure proper insulation and weatherproofing for outdoor power sources to prevent cold-related issues.
Droplets can creep into the smallest electrical crevices.
Condensation can form on electrical components when warm indoor air meets cold surfaces, leading to moisture-related problems. This is particularly prevalent in outdoor electrical panel boards and switchgear.
Seal outdoor electrical components to prevent moisture ingress.
Insulate panels and switchgear in unheated spaces to minimize temperature differentials and reduce the likelihood of condensation.
As temperatures drop, electricity bills often rise.
Heating systems work harder to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. This increased demand for energy can result in higher electricity bills during the winter months.
Conduct routine maintenance on heating systems.
Consider investing in energy-efficient appliances, such as programmable thermostats and insulated windows, to reduce overall energy consumption.
In conclusion, addressing winter electrical challenges involves a combination of preventive measures, upgrades, and proactive maintenance. By understanding the unique issues that arise during the cold season and implementing effective solutions, homeowners can ensure a reliable and safe electrical environment.
Whether it’s upgrading wiring for improved conductivity or investing in backup power solutions, taking the necessary steps can make winter a season of warmth and comfort, free from electrical hiccups and disruptions. Choose the right electrical company to order your equipment and switchgear from, such as Precision Electricals.