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Power outages are never fun, but they are a fact of life and every homeowner will have to deal with a power outage sooner rather than later. Whether it’s a blown fuse, a power outage across the block or inclement weather, your home’s power is not 100% immune to natural causes or every day wear and tear.
That is why I am here to share my 10 steps all homeowners must take when their power goes out. As long as you follow the list, you and your family will be safe and ready no matter how long the outage lasts.
1. Check the Circuit Breakers: Always check the circuit breakers first. All breakers should be on the “on” side, but if a breaker tripped, it would have moved to the “off” side. Make sure all breakers are in the same position. If all the breakers are in the “on” position, turn off the main breaker and then switch it back “on.”
If all this sounds like gibberish, you may need to call an electrician. See How To Find A Good Electrician here.
2. Check with Neighbors: If your power is still off, most likely, there was an outage in the neighborhood. Go outside and check. If you see other houses with no light, chances are, there was a power outage. Either way, go knock on a few doors to make sure.
If they do have power, an electric line may have gone down. If you see it, do not go near it. It could still be live. Don’t be a hero and end up like my friend below.
Call your local electric company if you see a downed line.
3. Call Power Company: If you don’t see a down line and your power is still out, call your local power company and let them know of the outage. Chances are, they already know, but either way, they can give you an update.
Quick Tip: With the power out, you will have to use your cell phone. Make sure it’s charged and only use it when you must.
4. Stay Warm: Depending on your location or time of year, it may start to get cold. Make sure you stay warm and bundle up. Dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves if need be. If you’re really cold, you could also take a warm shower. Hot water heaters can stay warm for hours even after a power outage.
Additionally, this would be a great time to utilize that wood-burning fireplace. Hopefully, you stored some extra wood in case this outage last awhile.
Quick Tip: You could use your stove as well.
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5. Preserve Food: I urge you to rarely open the refrigerator or freezer to preserve the cold air in there, but if you must, remove all perishable food items. The air in the fridge will remain cold for a limited time after the power outage. The more you expose it to room temperature, the faster it will warm up and the faster your food will spoil.
6. Food Preparation: Always have canned and non-refrigerated foods available. If you must, you can cook some proteins with an old campfire stove, but hopefully, you have other readily available foods.
Quick Tip: Many gas stoves use electric igniters, but you can still light them with a match and cook your food. However, be very careful as you are likely working with very little light. No Gordon Ramsay action.
7. Pile Up Water: As many of you know, water is more important than food. Many homeowners have numerous bottles of water available, but others will have to use the resources available. If you can, fill your bathtub with water. Fill your sinks. Fill anything you can in case this outage last awhile. Water supplies may go out, which is why it’s important to always have alternate sources of water available.
For more, check out the CDC’s tips for water safety during a power outage.
8. Unplug Major Appliances: Do not unplug the fridge. However, you can unplug the microwave, surge protectors providing power to multiple electronics and so on. When the power comes back on, a power surge could damage some of your major appliances if they are plugged in.
9. Don’t Be Glued to Your Home: Just because your power is out, that doesn’t mean that’s the case all around town. Go out and grab a hot meal or stay cool in a local movie theatre. As long as the fireplace and stove are not on, your home will be in one piece when you return.
10. Sleep: One of the best ways to pass the time is by going to sleep. If temperatures are adequate, you should sleep just as you would any other night. Who knows, when you wake up, your power could be up and running.
While they’re not common, every homeowner goes through a power outage or two. As long as you take the necessary steps above, you can rest assure that you and your family will be safe until the power comes back.
Need more help when it comes to electricity? Be sure to check out all our electrical and lighting articles here.