If you work outside, look up and note the location of power lines before you start. Careful avoidance of power lines is extremely important during exterior and yard work - especially when using ladders, paint extender poles, and other tools. Be sure that ladders or scaffolding are far enough away so that you (and the ends of the tools you are using) do not come within (at least) 10 feet of any power lines. You can be seriously injured or even killed if you or an object you are holding contacts a power line, including television antennae and satellite dishes.
Kites, Balloons & Hobby Craft
Fly kites, balloons and remote-controlled hobby craft (e.g., airplanes or helicopters) away from power lines. If they come in contact with power lines, they can cause a shock or fire.
Contact us before pruning, trimming or cutting down trees that are near power lines, and never let children climb trees that are beneath or near power lines.
If a trimmed or cut tree does fall into a power line, then stop work immediately. Contact us at 888-301-7700 800-852-3339 (Capital NH) or 800-582-7276 (Seacoast NH). Stay clear of the tree and power line, while you keep others away until our crew arrives.
For more on our vegetation management practices, click here.
During the summer months, the hot weather tends to make the use of fans and air conditioners popular. Also, the warmer temperatures mean refrigerators work harder. All of this increased activity could result in an electrical overload if these appliances are left unmonitored. An overload could blow a fuse or trip a circuit breaker, shutting off the affected circuit.
If the electricity shuts off to only a portion of your dwelling, find out why first. If you cannot readily find the cause, then call an electrician. Never overload a circuit with high-wattage appliances (e.g., hot plates, toaster ovens or hair dryers). Be sure the cause has been fixed before restoring power or run the risk of an electrical overload again – further stressing the wiring and other equipment.
Dim or Bright Lights
Unusually dim or bright lights typically indicate a voltage concern and electrical appliances can be damaged. You should immediately shut off the main electrical switch or breaker at the service panel and contact Unitil. If you don't know the location of your service panel, have an electrician or knowledgeable person show you where it is and how to safely shut off the power.
If your service drop or cable is down or damaged yet you still have power, then contact us at 888-301-7700 800-852-3339 (Capital NH) or 800-582-7276 (Seacoast NH). This situation may also cause a voltage concern that could damage appliances. Shutting off your main electrical breaker will protect appliances from possible damage.
If your basement or other enclosed space has standing water, shut off power to all appliances in that location but ONLY if you can do so safely. A safety hazard exists when your service panel is either surrounded or affected by standing or running water. Contact a qualified electrician immediately to respond to the electrical concern with a flooded space.
Move all combustible materials – items that can burn easily (e.g., mops, brooms, laundry or flammable liquids) – away from your water heater. The heating element within the water heater can become very hot and ignite an item that comes into contact with it.
Do not move a water heater by yourself. Contract a heating and plumbing professional, if you would like to change the location of the unit. Serious injury or death could result if the electric wiring is disconnected or installed incorrectly.
Usually, your water heater’s temperature should be set relatively low. A temperature of 115 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended to avoid scalding. Setting the water heater’s temperature lower will save money and energy, too.
Customers who use portable generators during power outages must do so safely. Otherwise, the result could be far worse than the loss of electricity: injury or death to you, someone else or a line worker.
An improperly installed or positioned generator can cause exhaust, containing deadly carbon monoxide, to accumulate in your dwelling. In addition, such generators can “backfeed” electricity into the distribution lines and electrical equipment, seriously injuring or electrocuting a line worker or anyone who may touch a now-energized line thought to be dead.
An improper installation can also damage your generator and/or appliances powered by the unit. Ensure that these safety guidelines are followed:
For more information on home electrical safety, please contact us at 888-301-7700 800-852-3339 (Capital NH) or 800-582-7276 (Seacoast NH).