Believe it or not, we are already a month into hurricane season, with the greatest chance for strong storms still to come. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma last September, many of the challenges Tampa residents faced had to do with the loss of power and resulting damage. TECO estimated that about 57 percent of its 750,000 customers had been affected by the storm.
The best way to prevent similar problems this year is to prepare for a possible storm well in advance. Hurricane season runs through November 30, but experts say hurricane activity typically reaches its peak around September 10 each year (coincidentally, that was the exact date Hurricane Irma first reached Florida last year). With that in mind, the electricians at Mister Sparky have a few simple tips to get your home ready before a storm kicks up.
Don’t overlook appliances
You can use surge protectors to help protect electric appliances like refrigerators, ovens, washers and dryers from power surges during a storm. However, it’s best to unplug electronic devices entirely if you don’t absolutely need them.
Prepare for a power outage — the right way
Portable generators can help provide electricity during an outage, but improper use can be dangerous. Use generators outdoors in a well-ventilated area, away from windows and flood-prone areas to avoid carbon monoxide emissions, which can be poisonous. Also, in order to use a generator, you need to have one ready for use at your home. As many Tampa residents learned last year, generators fly off the shelves in the face of an impending storm. Purchase one before the threat of a storm and learn how to use it, so when the time comes you can restore power as quickly as possible. If your unused generator has been sitting around in storage for a while, test it to ensure it still functions properly. A certified Mister Sparky electrician can assist with installing, inspecting and repairing both portable and whole-home generators. Finally, because the demand for gas will be so high right before a storm hits, keep a few gallons on hand during hurricane season specifically to use in a generator.
Don’t run submerged appliances
Water can damage electrical appliance motors, including those in stoves, washers and air conditioners, which increases the risk of an electrical fire or shock even after the flood recedes. Dry out appliances completely and have them checked by a certified electrician or technician before plugging them in again.
Mister Sparky has locations in Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Lake Mary, Pompano Beach and Miami. For 24/7 emergency service call (844) 213-6880, or visit mistersparkyflorida.com for more information.
This article on boat safety is another great tool to be sure you’re staying safe this summer.