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Hurricane season is just a few months away in Myrtle Beach, SC, so now is a good time to learn how to prevent storm damage from affecting your electrical system. While most people think of structural damage when they start to worry about hurricanes, the truth is that our electricians see a lot of electrical issues when we clean up following the aftermath of a summer or fall storm. At the very least, hurricanes are notorious for leading to uncomfortable electrical failures and our electricians are the ones who usually end up out at homes attempting to clean up the damage.
While we cannot prevent storm damage, we do have some tips to help your electrical system and you weather the hurricane season better. After all, you can’t prevent what Mother Nature has up her sleeve, but you can help get ready for the aftermath.
Get to Know Your Home Electrical Grid
This is actually a great tip for homeowners in general. You don’t need to be worried about storm damage to benefit from familiarizing yourself with the electrical layout of your home. Every homeowner should know where their fuse box or main circuit breaker is, and if you don’t know it is the time to wander around your first floor or basement to find it. You are looking for a rectangular gray box that opens. Once you find it, open the door and look at the fuses and breaker switch which with any luck should be clearly labeled. If they are not, then you might want to ask an electrician to help you sort through the box. While they are there they can also perform an annual electrical inspection which will benefit you in the long run.
For those that have their breaker box in the basement, it is a good idea to assess if the box is high enough in the event of severe flooding. This is another great question to ask a local electrician who should be familiar with the type of weather the area receives.
Prepare for Lightning Strikes
Floods and storm damage are not the only threat to home electrical systems in Myrtle Beach, SC. Believe it or not, lightning strikes occur more often than you think and if they hit your home can result in completely frying your electrical system if you are not prepared. The lightning strike does not have to hit your home in order to affect it. Any lightning strike on a neighboring power line can result in a power surge that travels quickly into your home frying multiple devices or even major home appliances. This is why you need to know how to take proactive steps to protect your home and its contents.
The best way to protect your home devices is to ensure that you unplug them all from the outlets before any major storms hit. Laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc should all be unplugged from any outlets that are not grounded to protect them from damage. Any major appliances in your home that cannot be unplugged such as refrigerators, your water heater, and HVAC system should all be on a dedicated circuit with grounded outlets to protect them if a surge occurs. If you know for a fact that your major appliance is not on a dedicated circuit or is not plugged into a grounded circuit then this is a major reason to call an electrician today.
Other Ways to Prevent Electrical Surges During a Storm
Outside of unplugging electrical devices around your home, there are a few ways that you can prevent electrical issues down the road with the help of a local electrician. Given the natural weather issues in the area, it is a safe bet that hurricane season will cause issues every year so it makes sense to invest in a few things that can help you contain the damage to your home.
First off, you can consider having grounded outlets installed as discussed earlier if you don’t already have them. Older homes in Myrtle Beach, SC are less likely to have them versus new homes. You also might consider using plug-in surge protectors at your grounded outlets to further strengthen the protection against power surges in areas of your home where you plug in multiple high-priced electronics such as your television or laptops.
Second, if lightning strikes are a big risk in your area you may consider consulting with a local electrician about whether a service entrance surge protector is a good idea for your home. This type of surge protector is placed between the breaker box in your home and the electric meter outside of your home to prevent any lightning strikes from causing a surge that enters your home. If the surge never gets to your electrical panel then it never has the chance to do any damage to your home.
Finally, you can also discuss with your local electrician the benefits of installing other whole-home protection devices such as lightning rods, ground rods, or main conductors. Each has its own set of benefits depending on where your home is located, but not all are necessary if you take other precautions like the service entrance surge protector. Every single situation is different which is why it is best to always consult with a local electrician about what the best choice for your home is before making any final decisions.
If you are ready to discuss your best electrical system protection options before hurricane season arrives, give Mister Sparky of Myrtle Beach a call. We will be happy to come out and inspect your home to see where its weaknesses may lay and then discuss some proactive solutions.