Last night at seven o’clock, just as I was about to cook dinner, the power went out. A tree had fallen on a nearby power line and knocked out power to 7000 customers. Oh great!

Before the sun set, we got ready to spend a number of hours without power: turned off computers to save batteries, pulled out a few candles and the flashlights, and quickly took something we could eat without cooking out of the fridge.

Just as we finished eating our uncooked dinner (thank God for deli salads), on came the lights. BC Hydro got a crew to the scene in a half an hour and before another half hour passed, they had the problem fixed. We were impressed!

What made that power outage not a long, dark night, but a mere hour of minor annoyance was, for both BC Hydro and my family, a matter of good preparation. We knew what to do and so did they. We had what we needed when we needed it and so did our utility company. Phew!

When it comes to maintaining your home, there are so many details to keep track of. It can get overwhelming! But these days, we’re all spending more time in our houses, aren’t we? And that’s not likely to change anytime soon. We spend more hours running our computers and appliances. As the year turns cooler and darker, lights will burn longer and you’ll have to turn on those baseboard heaters.

So before autumn officially arrives, then, it’s time to make sure your home can take it. You need to get your house’s electrical systems up-to-date and in good order. Perhaps it’s even time for a vast improvement!

Especially if you live in a home more than a few years old, your wiring may be wearing out. Insulation on older wires can become worn or cracked. Older wiring may be made of aluminum, which is now banned for safety reasons. The connections in aluminum wiring systems are many times more likely to catch fire than those in copper wiring systems. The aluminum itself expands and contracts more easily with heat, loosening connections. If you suspect you might have a house full of these, now is the time to get them replaced.

My husband is the king of power bars. When we lived in an older home, one built in the mid-1970s, there was a power bar in every room and two or three behind the television and stereo, almost all full of plugs. The electrical systems in older homes weren’t made for this and outlets can become overburdened. Updating your wiring best involves installing more outlets, including ones with USB connections for phone and tablet chargers.

The same beloved old 1970s townhouse we lived in had a charming habit of tripping a breaker every time we ran the microwave and the kettle at the same time. It took us, two sleep-deprived new parents, a while to find the right switch to flip in the old, poorly-labelled electrical panel. You might want to be wiser than we were and have yourself a whole new electrical panel installed. A professional electrician can make room for more circuits overall so you won’t worry about the kitchen lights going out every time you want a cup of tea…

We got older and wiser eventually, and years later, after a large kitchen renovation, we also upgraded our back deck for entertaining. Hey, outdoors is the safest way to host those in your bubble right now. Consider adding outlets outside for lights, gardening equipment, a barbecue or, my husband’s favourite, a fantastic outdoor sound system.

We’re lucky in our part of the world, aren’t we? We can barbecue almost all year. Install some overhead heaters and twinkle lights and you can have a little Thanksgiving dinner on the deck!

Security might be an issue for you as well. Motion-sensitive lights or doorway cameras to foil those porch pirates are an addition to your home’s electrical burden. If you want these, it’s wise to get a professional to update your system to handle the extra juice.

And once the days grow cold and short, no doubt we are all going to be watching more movies and playing more video games. This just might be the time to update or install your full home theatre. An electrical pro can hide its many cables and make sure it lives in harmony with the rest of your home’s power system.

The experts at Stapleton Electric have your back on this. They can help you plan and carry out all your electrical updates and improvements. Get in touch with them today!