Experiencing a power outage at home can be a worrying experience, especially for the first time. However, if you know what to do it can help a great deal and also help you keep everyone safe. Read this blog to learn more about how to handle this situation.
What to do during a power outage at home?
Most power outages occur when we least expect them, and substantial problems and inconveniences come as a result. There could be many factors that cause you to lose power, including extreme weather conditions, tree damage, motor vehicle accidents, etc. If you get into such a situation, please do not panic. Instead, do the follow the following things:
1. Determine the cause of the outage
As we mentioned earlier, there are many explanations for why a power outage may occur. Therefore, once it happens, check if there were any alerts or warnings involving the cause of the power outage to help you determine the next cause of action.
Next, check if the circuit breaker is still in order, you may have just blown a fuse that caused you to lose power in one area of your home. If this is the case, speak to a professional electrician about repairing your breaker. If your circuit breaker is unaffected by the power outage, reach out to your neighbors to see if they have also lost power. The outage could have occurred in a localized or widespread region. In that case, report this to your utility company.
2. Protect your appliances
Your appliances are more susceptible to damage after an outage, especially from the frequent power surges as the utility company tries to restore power. In worst-case scenarios, they can also cause significant fire outbreaks causing severe harm to the occupants.
You admit that it is easy to forget that you had your iron plugged in. Can you imagine what can happen if electricity is restored while away from your home? That can cause grievous damage to your home. Surge protectors will also protect your appliances from damage during such episodes. Alternatively, if you will be away for a few days, turn off the main circuit breaker to affirm that you have not left any stone unturned.
3. Use alternative lighting methods
Depending on how long the power outage will last, you can decide what other alternative lighting to use. Lucky you if you already have some pre-installed solar lighting. With solar lighting, you can still carry on with activities without the risk of accidents, unlike candles. However, if you are using solar lamps, ensure that you recharge them outside during the day if the blackout persists for long. The usual flashlights can also help you move across your home, especially at night.
Alternatively, if you have a generator that can handle your home’s electricity capacity, it is undoubtedly a good alternative. However, do not use it in an enclosed space, primarily because of the dangerous carbon monoxide fumes. If carbon monoxide fumes leak into your home, have a standby carbon monoxide detector to alert you in case of an unusual gas build-up in your home.
Battery-operated CO detectors will come in handy at such a time to ensure that you replace the batteries if needed. If you are unsure how to connect the generator safely, call in a certified electrician to do it correctly and safely.
4. Check food supplies in the refrigerator/ freezer
There is a high likelihood that you will waste a lot of food if you have stocked plenty of perishables in the fridge. First, ensure that your family consumes fresh and highly-perishable foods first. In the meantime, avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer to maintain the cool temperatures.
A well-maintained full freezer can maintain habitable conditions for two days if it is not opened. Be cautious about food poisoning and do not consume foods that exceed a temperature of 40 degrees or higher. If the power surge persists, opt for non-perishable foods which can last a few more days or consume ready-to-eat foods.
5. Prioritize your comfort
Power outages are more likely to happen in extreme weather conditions, especially after a major storm which might cause tree damage. People can also indirectly cause by causing a power load to the electrical system once they turn up their electrical system to keep their homes warm. Before electricity is restored, how do you keep yourselves comfortable in case of low or high temperatures? Here are ways to do it:
1. In cold weather conditions
- Light up the fireplace
- Dress warmly and provide warm bedding for the pets too
- Keep the windows and main doors closed.
- Add extra insulation to the windows and doors- Hang blankets over the windows to prevent warm air from escaping. Similarly, roll up heavy blankets or towels at the base of the door to keep the cold air out.
Avoid using ovens, grills, or heaters to keep you warm since they can release poisonous gases.
2. In hot weather conditions
High temperatures can make you uncomfortable, so keeping your home in favorable temperature conditions is necessary. Here are things you can do:
- Open windows to let in cold air
- Hydrate appropriately to keep your body cool
- Add extra window covering using blankets or close the curtains, especially for the windows that directly face the sun
- Take a cool bath or use lukewarm water for your bath
- Cook from outside to prevent adding more heat to your home
6. Take care of the water supply system
In some isolated cases, some homes may be relying on an electric pump to direct water into their homes. Therefore, it is highly likely that such homes will be affected during a power outage since it will cut off the water supply.
The effect may not be immediate, but since water is necessary, you should have temporal solutions as the power reinstallation occurs. Here are things you can do:
- Refrain from using the faucets, showerheads, or flushing the toilet since you may contaminate the water and further depressurize the system
- Rent a backup generator to maintain the usual water flow
- Stock up on bottled drinking water to sustain you for a few days or treat the water using available home water treatment methods to remove unwanted microorganisms.
With these tips in mind, you will never have to panic or suffer in case of a power outage. If you are uncertain about any electrical technicalities in your home, do not hesitate to contact a professional electrician for further assistance.
About the Author
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.