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What to Do When the Power Goes Out

What to Do When the Power Goes Out

When heavy storms roll through Austin, TX, and the surrounding areas, power outages can happen when you least expect them. If you find yourself suddenly without power, it can feel easy to react with varying degrees of discomfort and panic. But there’s no need to worry — handling a power outage can be straightforward and stress-free with the right knowledge and preparations. Let’s walk through what to do when the power goes out, ensuring your safety and comfort until the lights come back on.

Don’t Panic

The first and most crucial step during a power outage is to remain calm. Panicking can lead to hasty decisions that might endanger your safety or cause damage to your home’s electrical system. Start by checking whether the power outage is isolated to your home or affecting your neighborhood. This can be quickly done by looking out your windows to see if the lights are off in other houses or by checking local social media groups where neighbors may post updates. The issue might be as simple as a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse if it’s just your home.

If you confirm the outage is widespread, notify your utility company if they aren’t already aware. Most companies have automated systems or apps where you can report an outage. Contact our team 

Prevent Power Overloads and Fire Hazards

During a power outage, one significant risk is the potential for electrical overloads and fires when the power suddenly comes back. To prevent this, turn off all light switches but leave one light on as a visual signal that power has been restored. This practice helps manage the electrical load and protects your circuits from being overwhelmed. Also, be cautious about using candles or open flames for lighting—opt for flashlights or battery-powered lamps to minimize the fire risk.

Further, unplugging sensitive electronics and appliances is wise to protect them from power surges. If you have surge protectors, verify that they are in good condition and correctly installed—this small step can save you from costly repairs or replacements. Remember, the integrity of your home’s electrical system plays a crucial role in safely navigating a power outage, so these preventative measures are vital to avoid additional problems.

Monitor Alerts

Staying informed through reliable sources is essential after ensuring your immediate safety and disconnecting potential electrical hazards. Monitoring updates from your local utility company or emergency services gives you a clear picture of the outage scope and expected recovery time. Use a battery-powered radio or a fully charged cell phone to listen to local news broadcasts or check community social media pages.

Utility companies often provide updates via their websites and alert systems. Signing up for these alerts ensures you receive real-time information directly on your mobile device. This information can include the cause of the outage, areas affected, and estimated times for restoration. Keeping your devices charged and having backup power sources like portable chargers can ensure you maintain access to these crucial updates without risking being left in the dark, both literally and figuratively.

Have Flashlights at the Ready

Having flashlights readily available during a power outage is crucial. Store them in accessible locations throughout your house—consider the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, and especially hallways and bathrooms. Make sure each flashlight has working batteries and that you keep spares on hand. LED flashlights are recommended due to their long battery life and their bright light.

Besides flashlights, consider having other lighting options, such as battery-operated lamps or lanterns. These can offer broader illumination for rooms where the family might gather during an outage. Educate all family members on where these light sources are stored and how to use them safely. This ensures that, even in your absence, your family can safely navigate the home without the risk of accidents or injuries in the dark.

Check the Fridge and Freezer

One of the key challenges during a power outage is keeping your food safe. Start by avoiding the frequent opening of refrigerator and freezer doors; this helps maintain the cold temperature inside and keeps your food safe for longer. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door remains closed, and a full freezer will maintain its temperature for 48 hours (24 hours if it’s half full).

If the power outage lasts over a day, monitor the temperature inside the fridge and freezer with an appliance thermometer. Keep ice packs or bags of ice in the freezer to help keep the temperature down, or transfer food to a cooler with ice to keep it safe. If in doubt, remember the rule: if the temperature inside your refrigerator is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, perishables may be unsafe to consume.

How to Prepare Your Home for a Power Outage

To ensure your home’s electrical system is fully prepared for a power outage, homeowners should consider a few key upgrades and preventative measures. Firstly, installing a whole home surge protector is essential for safeguarding your electronics and appliances from voltage spikes when power is restored. Additionally, upgrading your electrical panel can significantly enhance your home’s safety and efficiency. An updated panel will better handle modern electricity demands and reduce the risk of overloads, especially during unpredictable power outages. For homes with older wiring, professional wiring services are crucial to prevent potential hazards such as electrical fires or shorts. These services ensure that all connections are secure and compliant with current electrical standards, providing an extra layer of protection during a power outage.

Assess Your Electrical System

Regularly assessing your home’s electrical system is vital, especially in older homes, to ensure it can handle unexpected stresses like power outages. This involves checking your circuit breakers to ensure they are not faulty or outdated. A circuit breaker that trips frequently may indicate an underlying electrical problem that needs professional attention.

Consider scheduling an inspection with a licensed electrician who can identify and resolve potential hazards in your electrical system. This preventive maintenance can lead to significant savings and peace of mind in the long run, as it protects your home from electrical fires and ensures your system is optimized and safe during unexpected power interruptions.

Invest in Whole Home Surge Protection

Installing whole home surge protectors is an essential step in safeguarding your home’s electrical system from the sudden surges that often accompany power outages. These devices are designed to absorb and ground the excess electricity that can occur when power is abruptly restored after an outage. By intercepting these surges before they reach your appliances and electronics, surge protectors prevent damage that could lead to costly repairs or replacements. A whole home surge protector acts as a gatekeeper, ensuring that only the necessary level of electricity is allowed to flow through your home’s circuits, thereby protecting everything from light bulbs and light fixtures to more significant investments like refrigerators and HVAC systems.

Additionally, the installation of a whole home surge protector can significantly enhance the safety of your residence by reducing the risk of electrical fires caused by overloaded circuits. This system provides a continuous shield against spikes in electrical voltage that can be harmful to electrical devices and pose a risk to your house. Whether it’s due to lightning strikes or the return surge of electricity following a blackout, having a surge protector can give you peace of mind, knowing that your electrical installations and all connected devices are secure. 

Don’t Be Left in the Dark — Call the Professionals at Magnify Electric

When power returns after an outage, it’s wise to check your home’s electrical system for any potential issues that could have arisen. If you notice any anomalies, such as flickering lights, unusual noises from electrical panels, or a persistent burnt smell, it might indicate a deeper electrical problem. In such cases, calling the professionals at Magnify Electric is crucial. Our team of certified electricians can assess and resolve any electrical repairs quickly and safely, ensuring your home’s safety and functionality. Our electrical services are designed to help restore power to your home and assess any potential damages to your light fixtures, switches, circuit breakers, and more. 

Don’t wait another minute before you’re stuck in unfortunate power outages. Contact our team and schedule your next electrical services appointment today!