Pennsylvania can get some crazy weather in every season. Especially during the winter and spring, there is a real risk of strong storms blowing in and knocking the power out. Power outages can be frustrating, but there are things that you can do as a homeowner to prepare for them. We’ve also provided some tips about what to do while the electricity is out.
Preparation is helpful in every emergency situation. You never know when a power outage will strike, but you can get ready in advance to handle it. The best things to have on hand include:
- Flashlights, at least two,
- Backup batteries,
- Fire extinguisher,
- Backup charger for mobile phone,
- Bottled water,
- Some non-perishable food.
Look for the Source
An interruption in electrical service could be caused by a downed power line in the area or it could be a problem contained to your house. You should first take a flashlight and inspect the breakers in the main electric panel. A tripped breaker is easily identifiable because it will be flipped in the opposite direction of those that are still on.
If a tripped breaker is the source of the problem, simply flipping it on should restore the power. In the case of a breaker that continually trips, you should request assistance from a certified electrician.
Report the Power Outage
If you see that other houses and buildings in the area are dark, then you will know that the outage is a wider problem. If this is the case, you should report the outage to your provider. Outages could be caused by a lot of things, such as high winds, extreme weather, a power overload, bad connections, equipment failure, seismic activity, and unsafe digging or excavation. Once the utility company is aware of the outage, their crew can start working to identify the problem and restore service.
Prevent Damage to Appliances
When the power eventually comes back on, it will cause a surge that could potentially damage electronics. Plus, it can be difficult to remember to go and turn off the appliances that were running before the outage. In this case, leaving the stove or oven on could become a safety hazard.
To prevent this type of problem, homeowners should either unplug each device and appliance if they can get around the unlit house safely, or switch off the main circuit breaker. By turning off the breaker, you are able to prevent surge damage for every device in the home and then easily turn them on again when you see that lights in the area have come back on.
Rely on Backup Power
If your house has a standby generator, it will kick in automatically to power the lighting and the important equipment. Portable generators need to be turned on manually, but they can also work as a reliable backup power source in case of a power outage. Be sure to use any type of generator safely, in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.
It could take some time to get electrical service back. Make sure that you and your family will be as comfortable as possible. In the winter, without a backup generator, a power outage will mean the heating can’t work because the furnace blower motor requires electricity. In the summer, while the air conditioning is off, it’s important to stay hydrated and get situated in a cool room. For children and seniors, who are particularly at risk for temperature-related medical conditions, it may be necessary to find an alternative place to stay until power is returned.
Keep It Cool
If you don’t have a backup source of power, the refrigerator and freezer won’t be able to run. To preserve perishable food and keep it cool as long as possible, avoid opening the door of the refrigerator and freezer as much as possible.
Never go near or touch a downed power line. Be sure to alert the utility company and emergency responders of any possible hazardous wires.
Don’t try to fix electrical problems by yourself. Call in a professional electrician for any repairs and outages.
Watch this video for some handy hacks on how to get through a blackout.
Be Ready for the Unexpected
Call AQM and request a consultation to better understand how you can prepare your home for a utility failure. Our skilled electricians can provide advice on the right type of standby generator for your house. We provide installation, repair, and dependable annual maintenance plans for generators.