You’re going about your day and walking around your house when suddenly it goes pitch black. The clock on your microwave fades away and your TV turns off with a faint click. What gives?
You’ve likely just experienced a power outage. This could be caused by anything from a voltage issue, weather conditions or an animal biting through your power lines. Once it’s happened, what are you supposed to do until it gets fixed?
There’s no need to panic during a power outage. We’ve created a guide so that you’re prepared the next time the lights go out at your home.
Check and unplug
Your first step after a power outage should be to determine if others experienced the outage too. Check the outage map on your electric company’s website or ask your neighbors if their power is out too. If it was only you, it may a problem with your house. If it was others, it may be a problem with a transformer. Your electric company will be able to tell you how long the outage is expected to last and will dispatch out someone to fix the cause of the problem.
Once the power is out, unplug everything that isn’t plugged into a surge protector. This will prevent your electronics receiving too much voltage when the power starts back up, potentially frying them. When the power does come back on, wait a few minutes before plugging your items back in so you don’t put too much demand on the electrical system.
If the power outage is expected to last a while, you may choose to use a generator. Before use, make sure your generator is properly installed and in an area that’s well ventilated. Keeping food & water safe
Food and water safety
During a power outage, you should pay special attention to the status of your food and water. Without power, the two can become unsafe very quickly. Some water purification systems may quit working during a massive power outage, so keep bottled water on hand in case of emergencies. It’s also important not to open fridge or freezer doors so that cool air does not escape and make your food heat up faster.
The Center for Disease Control offers these guidelines for food safety during a power outage:
- Power outage is <2 hours: Food is safe to eat assuming the doors have been closed to the fridge or freezer.
- Power outage is >2 hours: A full freezer will last 48 hours without spoilage, while a half full freezer will last 24 hours. After two hours, any food that is warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit is unsafe to consume.
Extreme weather safety
When the weather is especially bad, power outages can become dangerous for many people. Without electricity, you’re unable to heat or cool your home to a safe temperature. In case of a power outage during extreme weather conditions, follow these tips:
- Drink water often to avoid dehydration.
- Wear loose clothing that breathes
- If possible, open windows to allow for airflow
- Be wary of heatstroke. High body temperatures, fatigue or confusion may beckon a hospital visit.
- Wear lots of layers that allow you to control your temperature.
- Stay in a single room. This can help you preserve heat in one area instead of trying to heat an entire house.
- Leave a faucet dripping to prevent your pipes from freezing, leaving you without water.
- Heat safely. When using kerosene or a generator, be sure to watch for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Need more help knowing what to do during a power outage, or are you interested in getting a generator before your next outage?
Contact us at Complete Electrical Solutions. We can help you stay safe the next time you experience a power outage.