Did you know that Tampa, Florida is one of the top 5 US cities most vulnerable to hurricanes? One reason is that Tampa Bay is shallow, so any additional water causes it to rise and flood the city. Two other Sunshine State cities, namely Miami and Key West, are also part of the list.
However, flooding is only one of the consequences of such extreme weather events. On top of rising water, strong winds, and lightning, they also bring electrical dangers.
The good news is that an electrical inspection can help ensure your home is safe from such threats. Keep reading as this guide covers all the crucial facts you need to know about this service.
Tampa Bay’s location makes it more susceptible to the damage of even weak hurricanes. Experts say that one in nine properties are at risk of flooding from a Category 1 hurricane. It’s the least powerful of all categories, but it can bring four to five feet of storm surge.
That floodwater can reach and penetrate wall outlets or baseboard heaters. Using water-exposed electrical components can then give rise to electrical shocks. Worse, electrical issues can be lethal, as noted in this article by Buell Electric.
Electricity and water don’t mix because the latter contains electricity-conducting minerals. Unfortunately, that allows the former to travel through water. You can be at a severe safety risk if that reaches you.
So if floodwater ever penetrates your home, please don’t plug in anything even if the outlets look dry. Instead, call a professional electrician to inspect your Tampa Bay home’s electrical system.
A steady drip from a leaking roof can seep into your attic floor and affect even the ceiling underneath. That can lead to water dripping from the light fixtures installed on the lower level.
The leak can also drip into junction boxes, exposing live wires to moisture. Rainwater can even make its way into the electrical panel and corrode or rust its components.
Corrosion and rusting can increase a wire’s electrical resistance, creating extra heat. That can lead to overheating or arcing, which are electrical and fire hazards.
Aside from dripping light fixtures, glistening wall outlets can also signal rainwater penetration. Flickering lights during and after a storm also indicate you have water-damaged wires.
If you experience those symptoms, schedule a home electrical inspection ASAP. Be sure to call a roofing company to fix your leaky roof too.
Storms that hit Tampa Bay also bring strong winds that can cause the downing of utility cables. It can take as little as 40 mph winds to cause such damage and even snap tree branches. The latter can even cause more destruction if they fall on electrical components.
Call an electrician and your utility company as soon as you see any downed cable after a storm. Please stay at least 10 feet away or as far as possible, as electricity may still be running through it. Warn anyone who approaches the line about the danger of live electricity.
Your utility company should take care of the downed line. However, an electrical safety inspection is still vital to see if you have broken cables. If so, an electrician can fix the damages and ensure your home is free from electrical hazards.
Were you aware that Florida is the lightning capital of the US? Worse, such incidents claim the lives of more than a dozen people each year.
Aside from its lethal effects, a lightning storm also poses a power surge threat.
A power surge occurs when something raises the electrical charge in the power lines. That increases the electrical potential energy and the current flowing to wall outlets.
It’s not that common, but lightning can transfer electrical energy to a power cable that it hits. That can cause a massive boost in the electrical pressure running through the line.
Thus, a lightning strike can result in a surge powerful enough to damage electronics.
Unfortunately, the average home has about $15,000 worth of equipment that a surge can destroy. Moreover, trying to operate them after they get damaged can shock or injure you. That can happen if the wires you connect them to may have already melted.
You may have had a surge if you smell a burnt odor coming from a power source or an electronic gadget. The same goes if the digital clocks or lights on your appliances flash. Non-working devices after hearing thunder or seeing lightning are also indications.
Call an electrician to inspect your electrical system as soon as you notice those signs. Please avoid plugging in appliances until the pro tells you it’s okay to use them again.
Circuit Breaker That Keeps Tripping
A breaker that trips during or after a storm indicates water running through the wires. As it does so, it causes electrical shorts, triggering the breaker to do its job of cutting the current flow.
Breakers have to trip in such cases to prevent more damage to electrical components. However, frequent tripping can cause premature wear and tear on these safety devices.
When a circuit breaker sustains too much damage, it may fail to trip when needed. That’s dangerous and can put your entire household and home at risk of an electrical fire.
Have an electrician inspect your breaker panel as soon as the weather permits. The pro can then determine if water damage causes it to trip every time there’s a storm.
If caught early, you may only have to get the affected wires replaced. However, severe damage may require a circuit breaker panel replacement.
Get an Electrical Inspection ASAP
Note that electrical malfunctions accounted for 6.8% of the 354,400 US home building fires in 2019. As you’ve learned in this guide, such problems can also result from the damage caused by storms in Tampa Bay.
That’s enough reason to get a home electrical inspection as soon the weather clears. That way, you can confirm if your electrical system weathered the storm. If not, at least you can get any damage fixed ASAP.
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