What To Do When the Power Goes Out

We often don’t realize how dependent we are on electrical power until we experience a power outage.

Whether it is due to a hurricane, storm, a fallen tree on the power line, or others, the power can go off at any time. Even worse, it can last from a few minutes to hours, and in the worst cases – days.

Suppose you happen to be experiencing a power outage. In that case, you should first stop panicking and then take the following precautions in order to make the situation safe and comfortable for everyone at home.

Here is what to do when the power goes out:

Check whether it is a general problem

To make sure that the power outage is not affecting only your home, check the circuit breakers for an overloaded circuit.

If everything is ok with your circuit breakers, you should check with your neighbors to see if they are affected as well.

Depending on where you are located and the grid system in your area, it is not uncommon that you experience a power outage while the neighbors on the other side of the street don’t have this problem.

Once you find out who is affected or not, you can proceed with the next steps.

Avoid using candles

Even though they provide light and some warmth, as well as a romantic atmosphere, candles are not the safest option to use during a power outage. This is especially vital if you have small children or pets.

Also, avoid leaving a burning candle unattended in a room. Plus, if you decide to carry the candle around as you move around the house, make sure that its candle holder isn’t too hot to handle safely.

In any case, it is always better to use flashlights or other emergency battery-powered lights instead of a candle in case there is a power failure. You can place them in the important rooms of your home, but make sure to check their batteries periodically.

Unplug your appliances

When the power goes out, make sure to unplug all of the larger power using appliances in your home. These include TVs, computers, air conditioners, and others. Then unplug the smaller ones like your radios, lamps, and others. This will help prevent them from being damaged in case of a power surge when the electricity comes back on. It will also help prevent the overloading of the circuits in your home.

Keep the refrigerator and the freezer closed

Make sure to avoid opening the fridge or the freezer as much as possible. This will help keep the cool air inside and thus slow down or prevent the spoilage of your food.

Keep in mind that a closed refrigerator will keep your food safe for at least several hours without power. A freezer that has not been opened can keep the food from spoiling for up to 2 days.

In case it is very hot when the power goes out, you may want to consider wrapping the fridge or freezer in some kind of insulation, such as a blanket.

Never grill indoors

Don’t ever attempt using a charcoal or gas grill indoors whether or not you have a power outage. It is very hazardous for your health, life, and property.

Burning gas or charcoal causes the emissions of fumes. This can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal.

The same goes for gas-powered generators. Never use an outdoor fuel-powered generator inside your home.

Stay inside, and avoid puddles and water

Since many outages occur due to storms, there is a risk of damaged or fallen power lines outside. This makes walking in puddles and on the wet ground extremely dangerous. So, stay at home and wait for the professionals to come and clear up the area if it is wet outdoors.

Keep your pipes as warm as possible during the winter

Pipes, especially in the plumbing inside or outside of older homes, are prone to freezing. Pipes can burst once the water in them freezes. This means that you should check the pipes in your garage, basement, or other for any un-insulated pipes, and if possible, wrap them with blankets, towels, or foam. Another good idea is to turn the water on and let a small stream of water run at all times. This will help reduce the risk of the still water in it freezing.

Stay as comfortable as possible

Unless you have an emergency generator, the chances are that your HVAC will go off with the power. If the weather is hot, open the windows and close the blinds of your south-facing windows. Wear suitable clothes and stay away from direct sunlight.

If it is cold, you should close the windows and doors, and if necessary, use towels or blankets to block the draft from leaking from underneath them.

If you have a fireplace, use it to heat up the room. Do not use a gas oven as a heat source because there is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Save your water

Unless you have a well, try using as little water as possible during a power outage.

Even though plumbing doesn’t use electricity, your hot water tank has a limited capacity. In some cases, the city systems use electrical pumps to remove the sewage from homes. So to avoid getting the sewage backed up, use the water for the toilet sparingly and take quick showers only when absolutely necessary.

Related: The Best Battery Backup Sump Pump in 2022

Save your batteries

Even though you will most probably be tempted to keep tweeting or posting about the power outage if you don’t have a power bank, make sure to use your phone, tablet, or other battery-powered communication devices sparingly. This will leave you the opportunity to make an emergency or important call if you need to.

To save the battery on your phone, close any unused apps, use it sparingly, or even better – find something else to do and stay busy until the power comes back on.

Help your neighbors and friends be prepared

You can use this list or create a new one to inform your neighbors and friends about the right things to do and the proper ways to handle a power outage. Hopefully, this can help them stay as safe and as comfortable as possible in the future if the power happens to go off.