What a Texas Summer Can Do to Electrical Systems
Texas sees a lot of hot weather, and it seems like it's only getting hotter every year. With the increase in heat comes an increase in the risk to your electrical systems. Although the effects can be serious, prepping your house or commercial building with some simple electrical equipment can protect you from the worst.
Electricians in Arlington, TX, have seen what hot weather can do to the power grid. A Texas summer that’s severe enough can cause power interruptions, fluctuations in power supply, and even fires. To get around this, we’ve put together some common things that happen to the power grid whenever the heat is on.
Increased Power Consumption
Texas summers are notorious for dry, sweltering heat it brings to the state. Because of this, cities like Arlington see a major upswing in electricity use as more people use their AC systems for longer periods of time.
Although this may seem like common sense, the extent of this excess consumption can be severe enough to put a strain on the whole power grid. A recent study predicted that a heatwave can drive up the energy consumption by at least 7%. This might not seem much, but with a population of more than 390,000 people, cities like Arlington can struggle to provide residents with power.
Transmission lines carry electricity to and from houses and power grids. These transfers produce heat, and outside weather conditions have a direct effect on the lines carrying the electricity. People consume more energy during extremely hot summers, which means that electricity can overload the transmission lines. Transmission lines only have a limited capacity, and an increase in power consumption is enough to cause heat damage to the cables.
If the wires get too hot, a physical reaction called “annealing” happens to the aluminum components of the power grid. Annealing basically alters the physical properties of aluminum, heating it up and making it pliable and softer. Not only does annealing physically weaken the power grid, it also reduces its efficiency in transferring electricity from the grid.
Sagging Power Lines
A curious thing that happens to power lines that are subject to overheating is that they start to sag. Outside weather conditions and increased electricity heats up the cables and stretches them, increasing their length. This makes the cables bulge downwards between poles, which can be dangerous if they sag low to the ground.
Sagging power lines short-circuit when they make contact with the ground, which stops them from transferring electricity. Aside from this danger, sagging power lines can also bring down weak or compromised poles, which can cause major structural damage.
As a homeowner, it pays to have a trained and dedicated electrician inspect your homes and see if there’s a way that you can reduce your energy consumption while staying comfortable during a Texas summer. At Clements Electric, our high-quality electrical work protects both residential and commercial properties from the adverse effects of the summer on the power grid. Learn more about our services by clicking here.