How to avoid winter Electrical Problems

Here are just a few of the more common issues, and what you might do to avoid or address them. The opinion of a domestic electrician is always valuable.

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An unseasonably warm September (stretching into October!) has been a welcome bonus after a hit-and-miss summer. But it is time to face facts: winter is on the way. How cold it will be, and how long the chilly weather will last is anyone’s guess. But it does tend to bring with it a number of electrical problems. They may not be unique to the season, but they are certainly more prevalent in winter. They can affect both domestic and commercial users. Here are just a few of the more common issues, and what you might do to avoid or address them. The opinion of a domestic electrician is always valuable.



Power outages and tripping circuit breakers


The weather gets worse during winter – that’s a given. Much of the UK is prone to gloomy, overcast winter days – ‘dreich’, as they say in Scotland. Those rarer bright, sparkling sub-zero days, perhaps with a picture-postcard carpet of snow, are definitely more welcome. But both damp chills and extreme cold can cause problems. In addition to the drop in temperatures, there also tend to be more storms during the winter months. It’s not uncommon to experience more power outages. Both commercial buildings and homes are likely to use much more electricity in winter than any other time of year, this can put a huge strain on your electrics. Electrical heating systems, supplementary fan heaters and space heaters, more lights on more of the time, kettles being boiled more often. All these factors could cause a circuit breaker to overload and trip. Get your safety systems checked, upgrade them if necessary. You can also consider investing in a generator or battery backup system to keep the power on. A qualified domestic electrician will be able to advise you on this.



Flickering lights


It’s not unusual for storms to batter the UK during the winter, and this may result in lights flickering or dimming. This may not seem like much of a problem – and it probably isn’t. But your electrics, residential and commercial, will be working hard, and that could also cause the lights to dim intermittently. It’s worth getting it checked out. If it’s a wiring issue, it needs to be fixed. Speaking of which…



Exposed and frayed wires


If you haven’t inspected the wiring in your home or workplace in a while, it’s a good idea to do it before the cold weather sets in. Even if you regularly check and inspect your wiring for problems or signs of damage, it is still good practice to get everything checked over. Especially before icy temperatures and harsh winds set in. Exposed and frayed wires are a dangerous fire hazard, especially when mixed with bitter winter weather.





What causes wires to fray? As often as not, it’s critters. When the weather is icy cold outside, it’s not just people who want to avoid the chill. Animals seek warmth too. Often our buildings are the perfect places for them to take shelter. Rodents can be particularly problematic if they chew through your wiring – this can be very dangerous and put everyone in your building at risk.

If you suspect there are rodents in your building, it is important to call a pest control company before the issue gets worse, or your wiring is affected.



Old appliances


If you can’t remember the last time your workplace or home was rewired, or you haven’t replaced some of your old appliances in the last five years. (from TVs to toasters to machinery)It’s time for an update. Older appliances are generally less energy-efficient, which is both wasteful and costly. Replace where you can, and where you can afford to, but please make every effort to recycle.



Static electricity


Not usually too much of a problem in the UK – our winters tend to be damp as well as cold. But those crisp, dry days can lead to a potentially dangerous build-up of static electricity. This can cause sparks (which might lead to fires) and electric shocks. Unpleasant at best, potentially life-threatening at worst. Luckily this is easy to combat – using a humidifier will add moisture to the air and reduce the static build-up. If in doubt, contact a recognised and accredited domestic electrician.



Buzzing sounds or strange smells


Given how hard we work our electrics in winter, it’s no real surprise that they sometimes complain. Sometimes the protest might be audible, and sometimes even a bit smelly. If you notice any buzzing sounds or strange smells – particularly burning smells – at any point, you have an immediate problem. Switch off the offending appliance and get the matter seen to immediately, by a qualified and experienced electrician.



Here to help


Excel Electrical doesn’t do pest control, but we can help with the rest! Our experienced engineers will look at what you’re using, how you’re using it, and how you’re likely to use it during the winter months. We will carry out whatever work is necessary to keep you, your colleagues, your organisation and your family safe (and hopefully warm) this winter.


To make an appointment for our electricians to visit, call 01508 488007 or email


Excel Electrical – the power is in your hands. For all your Commercial and Domestic Electrician needs contact Excel Electrical.




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