The nights are darker and although Christmas is nearly here, the one drawback is cold, wet weather. We all need – and should – get outside during the winter and make the most of what little sunshine we have, if only for our mental wellbeing and maintaining social contact. Powerchair users are no different, but the problem is not knowing how all the electronic parts will survive the elements during the worst of the weather. With the right care and attention, your device will help you enjoy the cold weather with little fuss.
Taking your powerchair out for daily trips is one way of maintaining the electronics, but issues can develop when you store it outside. The problem isn’t so much the wet, but the harsh, cold weather. Users don’t realise that water can form in the cold weather; this gets into the electronic systems such as the battery, causing a breakdown. We worry about wet, but we don’t worry about temperature fluctuations enough. Keep your powerchair inside and in an area where the temperature is stable, away certainly from the coldest areas of the house.
Keep Clean of Water and Dirt
It’s best to check the weather on any given day and plan around the worst of it. Minimising exposure to the elements is the best way to protect your device. Even after heavy rain, you will encounter puddles and muddy ground. Sometimes, there isn’t much you can do about them. Your powerchair will undoubtedly get wet and dirty even on days when it’s not wet due to a build-up of standing water from previous rainfall. Water can get into the vital electronic parts, leading to a breakdown or part failure. If you get into the habit of drying it off and wiping the dirt clear after every trip, you shouldn’t experience too much difficulty.
If you simply must go out in the wet weather then you should consider purchasing a poncho or cover for your powerchair. This will not only keep you warm and dry, but also the electronics on the surface that could be exposed to the elements. They can’t protect the bottom which is why even after returning, you should clean and dry your powerchair. One such product is the Splash Powerchair Cape, which covers your body and the chair but allows you to see the main controls. It has an elastic bottom to protect you from underside splashes and cotton lining for extra warmth.
Care for the Battery
No doubt in the spring and summer you can’t wait to get out in your powerchair and enjoy the sunshine. In the cold and wet months, you’ll generally look for an excuse not to go out, or only do so when the weather isn’t quite so bad. That can be as rare as once a week or once a fortnight, or even less often. Batteries on vehicles such as powerchairs and mobility scooters do need to be kept charged, it’s the nature of the battery that they use. Getting in the habit of charging the battery once or twice a week not only keeps it topped up, it prevents the premature deterioration of the power source.