Remember when you were a kid and power outages at home or school caused squealing, giggling, and joyful pandemonium? Now, they tend to simply cause groans, annoyance, and more than a little frustration. (Thank you, adulthood.)
While most power outages are resolved quickly and with minimal damage, they can occasionally create critical problems. (Refer to this electrical troubleshooting guide if you need a starting point.) Here’s how to respond when you lose power.
10 To-Dos During a Power Outage
- Check your breakers. Are you sure you’re experiencing a true power outage? Or did you just have the blender, microwave, crockpot, and six other appliances running at the same time (again)? Check your main electrical panel to see if any of your breakers are tripped. If not, check with your neighbors to see if they’ve also lost power.
- Check in with the power company. If your power’s been out for more than 15 minutes or so, call the power company or check their website to make sure they’re aware of the outage and to learn what the estimated repair time might be.
- Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer. With no juice for your electronics, you’ll probably get bored. And if you’re anything like us, “bored” equals “munchies.” But every time you open that fridge or freezer, you’re allowing warm air in—and without power, your appliances can’t compensate. Translation? Those steaks you’d planned for dinner will end up in the trash can instead of the grill. By keeping the doors closed, your refrigerator will stay cold for about four hours, and your freezer will stay at the correct temperature for up to 48 hours.
- Do NOT try to heat your home with your gas oven. We know it seems like a smart hack, but the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning makes this a risky move. If it’s too cold in your home during a power outage, head to a public place that still has juice.
- Likewise, don’t use a grill or camp stove inside. While we applaud your resourceful thinking, grilling in the house is a bad idea for two reasons: carbon monoxide and fire. This goes for your generator, too.
- You can, however, use your gas- or wood-burning fireplace. Just be sure your flue is clean and your damper is open.
- Unplug electronics and appliances. As power is being restored, it can “surge” back. That means the amount of electricity going through the lines is much higher than it should be. Even though surges are brief (typically measured in fractions of a thousandth of a second) they can fry anything that’s plugged in
- Check on your neighbors. Particularly during extreme temperatures, check to make sure your neighbors are faring well during the outage.
- Use your cell phone for emergencies only. A power outage may seem like the perfect opportunity to snuggle up on the couch with your smartphone and binge watch the next season of your favorite show. But since you don’t know how long you’ll be without power, it’s best to conserve your battery.
- Have an alternative plan for medications that require refrigeration and for powered medical equipment. A power outage can quickly become a life-threatening situation for medically vulnerable people. Make sure you know what to do in advance.
Be Prepared for the Next DFW Area Power Outage
We rarely know when a power outage is going to occur. Nevertheless, we can be prepared when it does. Put together an emergency kit that includes:
- Flashlights (one for every person in your household)
- Extra batteries
- Emergency candles and a lighter
- Cooler (to fill with ice)
- Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
- Auxiliary battery pack for your cell phone
- Bottled water
- Weather radio
- First-aid kit
Dallas Fort Worth Electrician, TopTech Electric, Can Help
We can help get your home power-outage ready by installing surge protectors or a lightning arrester or diverter. We can also offer advice on generators. Give us a call today!