Power outages can happen any time throughout the year. According to BC Hydro, the stormy weather that BC gets from October to February brings a higher risk of damage. The high winds and rain we experience throughout our province usually doubles the number of calls to BC Hydro about power outages compared to the rest of the year. The following are some things to keep in mind during power outages.
Turn off all the light switches except for 1 indoors and 1 outdoors. This way you and the BC Hydro crews working outside will know when the power has been restored. For updated information on local area outages, refer to the following BC Hydro site map.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the temperature. A refrigerator can keep your food cold for about 4 hours, a full freezer can keep food frozen for about 48 hours and a half full freezer can keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
Unplug major electronics like your computer and television and turn the thermostats for your home’s heating system down to low to prevent damage from a power surge when the power is restored.
For cooking and heating purposes, never use charcoal or gas barbeques, fuel burning camping equipment or portable generators indoors as they produce a deadly carbon monoxide gas.
Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector with battery back-up.
During power outages, you may be without running water if you rely on a well pump. For this reason, keep an emergency supply on hand and replenish as needed.
If you only have a cordless phone, you will be left without phone service. Having a corded phone handy and making sure your cell phone is fully charged is a good idea.
To keep yourself informed about the power outages, have a battery powered radio on hand.
Report any fallen trees or downed power lines to BC Hydro at 1-888-769-3766.
If there are downed power lines, stay at least 10 metres (33 feet) away from them.
Power outages can cause damage to your electrical system. Being prepared ahead of time could save you a big headache later. Having your appliances and electronics surge protected could help save them from damage.
A fall electrical maintenance routine is important to prepare your electrical system for the coming winter months. The following is a checklist of some fall electrical maintenance tasks that every homeowner should be aware of.
With leaves now falling from the trees, homeowners may be using leaf blowers to clear their yards. If an extension cord is needed for any fall cleanup equipment, make sure to use only an outdoor rated cord with the appropriate wire gauge size.
If you have trees in your yard, make sure to cut back all branches from around overhead cables. It is better to do it now, before the stormy weather starts to prevent possible damage caused by falling branches. BC Hydro states that branches need to be 3 meters or 10 feet from the cables.
Visually check overhead connection points where your service enters your home to ensure that the cables appear tight and the attachment point is undamaged. If you have any concerns, contact our electricians to check for any safety issues and make the required repairs.
Check all exterior vents for any electrical appliances to make sure that they are clear of debris and that no critters have taken up residence.
Check all exterior lighting and change burned out light bulbs. Reset timers if needed.
Check that all outdoor receptacles are GFCI protected. All outdoor receptacles should be protected with a Code required weatherproof in-use cover. This will prevent water from damaging the sensitive GFCI electronics, even when the receptacle is in use.
Make sure septic, water or sump pumps are tested and working properly. A battery backup for your pump would be strongly advised for when power outages occur. Here is more information on Sump Pump Safety.
Your electrical panel should always remain clean and dry. If you notice any rust or corrosion, call our electricians who are able to provide an Electrical Panel Safety check.
If you have a generator, it should be serviced now to make sure it’s in good working order and ready to go for the next power outage.
Using space heaters is common this time of year. Never use an extension cord to power a space heater as this may cause the cord to overheat and result in a fire.
Gently dust or vacuum your smoke alarms. Dust can build up on the sensor causing it to be less effective.
Vacuum your bathroom exhaust fan grill to keep it clear of dust. This will help extend the life of the fan motor.
Our electricians would be happy to assist you with all your fall electrical maintenance repairs. Regular service and maintenance of your electrical system may identify minor concerns before they become expensive repairs.
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.