Power in the household can go out for plenty of reasons: Heavy storms, city infrastructure maintenance, power overload, or other natural causes. It’s not until we find ourselves stumbling to find a flashlight and a candle in the dark that we realize how much we depend on electricity. The negative side-effects of power failures include electronic failure/data loss, lack of basic utilities, and spoiled food in the fridge. This is why it’s paramount to think about the steps you need to take to protect your home from power failures.
In this guide, we’ve laid out the top 5 steps to equip & protect your household from power failures. The key here is to take the steps necessary before you experience power outages. If the weather report states that you’re expecting a storm/hurricane, it’s already too late! You need to prepare backup generators, batteries, fuel, and pipes months in advance. This is critical during the winter months because cold weather brings power failures. The storms bring freezing snow and winds can easily damage equipment and critical infrastructure. The cold can even affect the pipes and water flow in your household.
Pro Tip: The same advice we layout below can be applied for commercial buildings as well. You may want to protect your office, warehouse, second home, or other investment property. In most cases, the lights stay on and the production lines keep rolling. However, only one power failure on the utility side can cost a business tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Take the steps below to prepare your facility for all possible power outages. You need to have this planned to ride through all possible events.
1) Unplug The Appliances
The first logical solution to preventing damage is to unplug the appliances. Here’s the kicker: You have to do this in advance. Once you notice a storm approaching, it’s time to start moving and plugging out all appliances and electronics in the household (or business). If lightning strikes a power line or the home directly, it can penetrate through the wiring and this can cause damage to all electronics connected to the grid.
This is why even if you have a generator, the first step is to always minimize the risk in advance. If you don’t have a generator, unplugging appliances is especially important. The only safe way to power electronics during a storm is to purchase a whole-house generator that can cover you for all your appliances in the household. During a power outage, use an LED flashlight rather than candles to check the generator. This is because candles can cause a house fire.
2) Invest In Surge Protectors
Surge protectors are more affordable than generators and they serve as insurance against power failures in the household. If you have expensive electronics and appliances in the household, you have to protect them by purchasing a surge protector that can handle the electricity and contain the damage in the event of a blackout.
When a total power failure occurs, the electricity flowing to the appliances can surge and cause permanent damage. This is why you should make sure they’re protected by a surge protector. Invest in a quality surge protector that can handle the higher voltage. To protect all appliances, heed the advice we mentioned previously and unplug all sensitive appliances before you depart home in case of a power outage.
3) Battery-Powered Security Systems
The home is not safe during a power failure. Invest in battery backup systems that will make sure all appliances run smoothly once a blackout occurs. When you have a power outage, all electrically-powered devices shut down at once – that means your electric security system is down as well. Each home needs battery-powered security systems for safety.
Make sure your security system has back-up batteries running to protect it, or purchase a system that uses solar power for electricity even if you have electric systems in operation. This is the best way to ensure your property is safe during a power blackout. If you want to prepare for all possible emergencies, put together a survival kit that includes LED flashlights, backup batteries, bottled water, food items, first aid kits, cash, and sleeping equipment.
4) Prepare For Winter Downtime
Power failures can lead to a number of other inconveniences in the home. For instance, a power outage in the winter could lead to pipes freezing (due to lack of heating) and eventfully bursting. This can literally flood your home in a matter of hours. The only way to prevent this from happening is to shut down all the water on all faucets after a power failure.
You don’t have to rush to shut down all water, but if the outage lasts more than 24h this is a precaution you must take. Invest in a solid sump pump with an integrated generator system and a hydraulic pump that can activate as soon as there’s a power failure. This is the best way to eliminate water damage caused by power failures in the winter.
5) Secure The Water Pipes
Securing the water pipes ties into the last point we made. You have to be prepared for water damage when there’s a power outage even during the warm months. If you get heavy rain in the summer you may experience potential flooding.
Invest in a sump pump that has a battery backup or connect it to your generator. If you don’t have electricity, the sump pump won’t work and the lower floors might fill with water. This is why you need a battery-powered pump that will work regardless of the power condition.