Storms and Power Jumps: What’s the Connection?
Winter brings rain, snow, and high winds to Northern Virginia. It may also bring power interruptions that cause your electrical power to jump on and off.
Why Storms Cause Power Surges
Most storms come with strong, fast winds that can snap tree branches and even knock down trees. When those trees touch power lines, the power automatically shuts off. This is a safety measure that prevents the electric current from being discharged into the ground. When the tree is removed, the power comes back on again.
In really fierce storms, the wind or falling trees can knock down the power lines. In those cases, the power won’t come on again until the power company crews come out to clear the trees and restore the lines.
Rain and Snow Add to the Danger
The wind isn’t the only thing that can disrupt power. Storms also bring damaging precipitation. Heavy, constant rain can damage power lines, bushings, and switches.
Snow and ice are extremely dangerous. They can stick to power lines and pull them down. In a bad Loudoun County storm, you can expect to see hail, which can be as damaging to power systems as falling rocks.
After repeated events, this damage can cause cracks that allow water to seep into electrical systems. This leads to power jumps that last for hours or days.
Are Underground Lines Safer?
Since aboveground lines are subject to all this potential damage, you might think it’s safer to install underground power lines. The problem is that underground lines are often subject to flooding. They are also harder to get to than aboveground lines, and they’re more difficult to fix.
If your power grid is underground, it will take longer to restore power than it would for an aboveground grid.
How to Avoid Damage from Power Jumps
If you’re concerned about winter storms and power surges, follow these tips.
• During a storm, unplug your electronics.
• Use surge protectors on sensitive electronics like TVs, phones, and computers.
• Never plug appliances into power strips. Plug them directly into wall outlets.
• Don’t use extension cords with power strips. Plug them directly into wall outlets.
• Use a whole-home surge protector to keep your appliances, electronics, and other machines safe from power surges, even when you’re not home.
Get Through the Winter with SESCOS
At SESCOS, we can help you get storm-ready by installing whole-house surge protectors, adding outlets, and helping you choose and install the right generator. Contact us to learn more.