Scorching hot weather comes to the Okanagan every summer, which is great for afternoons at the lake. It’s not so great for your electrical system.
“At this time of year when the heat is at its max your air conditioner and your electrical system are working hard. If they’re not properly maintained, this is when they’re going to break down,” says Ted Fox of Fox & Sons Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical.
Summer’s sizzle is your air conditioner’s greatest challenge — a weaker unit can make-do the rest of the year, but the heavy use right now could be its breaking point. It’s just like an old car that’s great around town, but would die on a long hot road trip over the mountains.
“If your unit is regularly serviced you can avoid unexpected breakdowns. And if you notice your A/C is struggling, start budgeting for an upgrade before next year,” Fox says.
Ted’s tips for summer home care
- It’s normal for the A/C to have trouble keeping up: “In this kind of heat a healthy A/C unit may run all day and into the night. Don’t panic if the temperature in the house climbs by a couple degrees, it should catch up overnight,” Fox says. Ease your unit’s workload by keeping windows and doors closed, drawing curtains and keeping the thermostat constant.
- Ice build-up is a sign of trouble: If you notice ice on the surface or inside your A/C unit, it’s time to call Fox. “It’s a sign you might have a problem, or the unit is undersized for the space you’re trying to cool.”
- Plug window A/C units into a separate circuit: “Window units draw a lot of power, so they should always be plugged into their own outlet — don’t put it on a power bar that’s also feeding your TV or microwave!” If you find your unit is repeatedly tripping your breaker, a Fox electrician can add a new electrical outlet connected to a separate circuit. Fox also says it’s important to assess the square-footage of the space you’d like to cool before you go shopping for a window unit. “They can be the same size and look identical, but depending on their cooling capacity, brand and price you’ll find drastically different effectiveness,” he says.
- Have you checked your pool pump house? Wiring inside your home usually lasts 25 to 50 years, but pool wiring needs to be replaced every five to ten years. “Pool pump wiring is subject to a lot of chemicals and can easily become corroded, so it’s important to keep an eye on it,” Fox says.
Fox serves the Vernon area from Lake Country to Sicamous and west to Kamloops. Visit foxandsons.ca/service-area to see a full service map.
FURTHER READING: 5 summer strategies to save money and maintenance at home