A recent incident in BC had one woman receive a jolt from an electrical current after lightning hit a power pole near her home during a thunderstorm. At the time, she was holding her cell phone which was plugged into a charger.
Electrical currents from a lightning strike will travel through overhead cables, wires and cords using the path of least resistance until it reaches the ground. In this case, the BC woman created part of that path for the electrical current to reach ground.
According to Environment Canada, each year lightning kills approximately 10 Canadians and injures approximately 100 to 150 others. For information on the different ways lightning injuries occur, click here.
What To Do During A Thunderstorm
Unplug your cell phone or devices when using them during a thunderstorm
Stay away from electrical appliances or anything that will conduct electricity during a thunderstorm.
If possible, turn off and unplug appliances and electronics.
Avoid using a telephone connected to a land line. Use only battery operated or cordless devices.
Stay away from doors and windows.
Avoid washing your hands, showering or washing dishes. Lightning can travel through metal plumbing lines.
A lightning strike up to two kilometers away can cause irreparable damage to your home’s sensitive electronic equipment. Many people believe that their point-of-use surge strips or power bars will provide all the necessary protection. The surge bars should only be used as a secondary line of defense, as many have a one-time use only. After the first strike is absorbed by the surge strip, it becomes nothing more than an extension cord. The best way to protect your home from all types of power surges is a full panel surge protector installed directly on the main electrical panel. A high quality surge protector may sacrifice itself during a thunderstorm, but should protect all your sensitive electronic equipment. For more information on power surges and surge protection, click here.
For your safety and peace of mind, our certified electricians would be happy to install a full panel surge protector in your home.
The installation of a standby generator is on everyone’s wish list after last week’s devastating wind storm. The resulting lengthy power outage left many homeowners in the dark. Power outages can happen at any time of year. According to BC Hydro, extreme weather from October to February usually doubles the number of power outages compared to the rest of the year. These outages can last for several hours or even days. A standby generator provides power for important essential loads, such as sump & water pumps, refrigerators and freezers, as well as heat and medical equipment.
It is important to install a correctly sized standby generator to provide power during a power outage. A load calculation, provided by our electrician, will determine the size of generator required. The standby generator must be connected to a proper CSA approved automatic transfer switch to safely provide power to the selected electrical circuits in the home. The electrician will pull the necessary electrical permit and make sure everything is done according to the most recent Canadian Electrical Code. According to BC Hydro, generators that are improperly connected can feed electricity back into the BC Hydro electrical grid. This could result in possible injury or even electrocution to anyone who comes in contact with the cables, including your neighbor or a BC Hydro lineman working on restoring your power.
A standby generator must be located a safe distance from the building entrance, windows that can be opened and vents to avoid exhaust from entering your home. It is also wise to have a working battery-operated CO detector in your home when using a generator.
As with any piece of equipment, standby generators need to be properly maintained. Depending on the usage, oil and air filters will need to be changed regularly. For optimum performance, some manufacturers have incorporated a test cycle into the standby generator. A programmed test cycle runs the machine for 20 – 30 minutes on a weekly basis to keep the motor in peak working condition. Although a standby generator may not always be possible in every situation, a portable generator may be more suitable in some instances. In this case, a manual transfer switch safely powers a few selected essential circuits in the home. For more information about power outage safety and generator safety precautions visit https://www.bchydro.com/safety-outages/power-outages/prepare-for-outages/prepare-your-home.html
To report a power outage, call the BC Hydro Trouble Line at 1-800-224-9376.
If you are considering getting a standby generator, a Blue Crest electrician would be happy to supply and install it for you.
Many Lower Mainland homeowners are still faced with a lot of clean up after an ice storm recently swept though our area. The sound of chainsaws can be heard in almost every neighbourhood as property cleanup continues. But some of the storm’s damage is not visible from the street. Some of the damage has occurred inside many homes.
With electrical power lost to thousands of BC homes (especially Abbotsford and Langley), our electrical crews have been working hard to repair the damage. As power is restored to homes by BC Hydro, an unfortunate electrical surge can occur. An analogy would be of what happens when opening a spray nozzle after water pressure has built up inside a garden hose. That initial burst of water is similar to the burst of electricity that can sometimes occur when the electrical system is re-energized after a power outage. This is called an Electrical Power Surge. The surge darts randomly throughout the home’s electrical system, damaging any unprotected electronic equipment in its’ path.
Electronic equipment, such as computers and entertainment equipment, which were plugged into surge protection strips or bars, appear to have been spared damage. But numerous homeowners have reported damage to unprotected components like the furnace, heat pump and/or large kitchen and laundry appliances.
Is Surge Protection Available to Protect Large Appliances?
Although it is not possible to use a surge bar on these large expensive appliances, surge protection is still available in the form of a panel surge protection device. This specialized surge protector must be installed directly on the main electrical panel by a licensed and certified electrician. It works by immediately redirecting an incoming surge to ground, before it enters the home’s electrical system.
Many homeowners now understand the value of electrical panel surge protection and are asking Blue Crest Electric to supply and install this important safety device as soon as possible.
Call Blue Crest Electric Ltd. today for an appointment to install a high quality whole-home surge protector directly on your electrical panel. Make sure your home is protected, before you are hit with an electrical power surge.
For more information about Surge Protection, click on this link Here
Today is the perfect time to remind homeowners that tree branches, which span electrical power lines, can cause serious problems. While a beautifully treed yard may have wonderful curb appeal, trees that are not properly maintained may eventually cause problems during a storm. Over hanging branches can snap from the stress of ice, snow or high winds. From a homeowner’s perspective, this is when a simple power outage can become a potentially dangerous and very expensive electrical repair.
Last night’s fierce wind storm resulted in hundreds of Lower Mainland power outages. Fallen trees took down both power lines and service lines. As the storm continues into today, more outages are being reported throughout the day. Electrical crews scramble to repair one problem after another. Some homeowners will likely be waiting days before power lines are restored. This is more than just an inconvenience to many homeowners. Cold food storages are compromised as fridges and freezers are unable to maintain the required temperature. Idle well pumps means there is no drinking water for humans or animals. Idle sump and sewer pumps brings a whole different set of unpleasant problems.
It is every homeowner’s responsibility to keep trees on their property trimmed away from service wires. We recommend an annual yard assessment of all trees that pose a risk. Often tree pruning may be done by the homeowner. When the next wind storm arrives, you will be glad you took the time to do this on a nice sunny day. For safety reasons, remember to keep yourself, your equipment and all parts of the tree at least 3 meters away from power lines. If this is not possible, hire a professional Certified Arborist who is qualified to work near energized power lines. Your personal safety is well worth the investment.
If the trees are on public property, call BC Hydro to inform them of the potential problem to power lines so this can be dealt with before the next wind storm arrives.
Our recent stormy weather seems to have tripped the GFCI protection in some Lower Mainland homes. This is usually an easy fix and a simple exercise that should be done periodically anyway. On the receptacle, press TEST, then RESET, and correct power should be restored. It’s always a good idea to test and reset GFCI’s after an electrical storm or a power outage.
If the GFCI will not reset or stay reset, it is recommended to call us to investigate the problem. The problem may be elsewhere in the circuit or, like all things, nothing lasts forever and it may be time for a new receptacle.