Hurricane season is already underway. Don’t wait for it to blow over; follow our advice so you can weather the worst.
- June to November is hurricane season in the U.S.
- Your home has never been at greater risk of hurricane damage.
- Backup generators are vital.
- Essential electrical devices should be charged in advance, and all nonessential ones turned off.
- Appliances and power sources should be elevated from the floor to avoid water damage.
- Your home’s exterior requires special attention during hurricanes to avoid power hazards.
Florida has more than its fair share of harsh tropical weather. The entire nation must endure being intensely (and more often) buffeted by the elements. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season in 2022, with six to 10 potential hurricanes forecast. Three to six could be major!
The U.S. hurricane typically runs from June through November, and is a widespread threat. It’s best to prepare ahead of time with everyone carefully ensuring their electrical safety. Our experts’ precautionary tips will help you prepare your home for extreme tropical weather.
Install a backup generator (safely)
Electrical support against power outages is critical. The home generator you choose must be large enough to meet your power needs over an unspecified period of keeping the lights on, powering appliances, and ensuring vital home systems like air conditioning keep functioning. Smaller generators won’t handle the load, and gas-powered ones aren’t the best bet since gasoline shortages can occur during weather-based emergencies.
Portable generators (here’s an Amazon Top 5) might back up your electricity if the hurricane blows over quickly. Many hurricanes last days or weeks, however, and portables provide a limited load capacity. They also require homeowners to go outside to start or fuel them in potentially dangerous weather. Never store portable generators indoors. They create a fire hazard and exposure to gas fumes.
Investing in an outside stand-by generator is more expensive, but safer. They supply a full-load capacity for your home, activate automatically when the grid fails, and then stand down when power returns. Stand-by models can be linked to onsite propane or natural-gas supplies, so homeowners know their generator has a good supply of fuel without having to go outside to check them often
Reposition electrics and install outlet safeguards
Hurricanes can bring floods that create a deluge in your home. Elevate every possible electrical item you above the floor to better protect them from water damage. This also protects everyone from electrical shocks and fires that can start when water penetrates electrical devices.
A good preventive measure against hurricane flooding (and a general home safety rule) is fitting all your home sockets and switches with a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GCFI). These immediately cut electricity when they detect short circuits that floodwater can cause.
Keep your electronics charged
Laptops and cell phones are essential that needing an electrical charge. Make sure important devices are at full power if a hurricane hits, you may be unable to recharge them safely.
Your home can become a dangerous place during a hurricane. You may encounter extended periods of darkness, water hazards, or structural damage that could result in debris or exposed wiring. Always have a flashlight ready; don’t rely on matches and candles which are fire hazards themselves. The safest and most reliable flashlights are wind-up models that won’t need batteries or power.
Decide which electrical items are essential during a hurricane. Turn off circuit breakers and nonessential appliances. Powered-down devices are less likely to be destroyed by hurricane-induced electrical surges.
Stay safe outside
Going outside to fuel a generator during a hurricane can be hazardous. There are other outdoor electrical dangers, such as downed overhead or ground-level, exposed power lines.
These lines could land on your roof, around your property, or atop your vehicle. Avoid these lines and anything outside that looks like an exposed cable or wire. Downed or exposed power lines may look harmless, but they could carry a lethal electrical charge!
You don’t have to make physical contact with a power line to be hurt. Getting too close could create what electrical experts call the “step and touch” zone. This is a radius of contact from a downed or broken power line where nearby objects could be carrying electrical charge from current.
Entering a step and touch zone could turn your body into another way for the electricity to find ground, which could severely hurt or kill you. Be on guard for anything on your property which may be an exposed line of current, and promptly contact your power provider.
Connect with our power pros during hurricane season
Universal Electrical Services has decades of experience to help you safeguard your home’s electrical systems against hurricanes. We’re licensed throughout Florida, and we offer free quotes and expert advice. Contact us on our message page or give us a call for prompt assistance. We’re here to help!