Tips to Prepare for Power Outages In some cases, a power outage is a chance to gather around, light some candles (or stay safer with flame-less ones!), and enjoy some unplugged together time. But in many other situations – when it’s 100° or 0°, when you need electricity for essential medical equipment, when service is interrupted for an extended period – losing power can be dangerous. It’s important to take steps to prepare for a power outage to ensure you and your family are safe.
Power outages are becoming more common as the country’s infrastructure ages and we experience more frequent severe weather. They are most common in the summer months, but as we all know, the power can go out any time of year and any time of day (or night).
1. Sign up for outage text alerts from your power company. Most utilities offer this functionality, and it offers reassurance in the event of service interruptions. You can report outages and receive alerts on expected restoration times. This is critical information that can help you decide whether you can wait it out at home or think about heading elsewhere for work or safer, more comfortable conditions.
2. Build an emergency kit. It’s always a good idea to have essential supplies assembled and ready to go when you need them.
BE SURE TO INCLUDE:
Also identify a backup location where you can go if the power goes out in the dead of winter, in the heat of summer, or during a natural disaster, and it is not safe to remain in your home.
3. Think about sanitation. It is not a pleasant thought, but if a power outage goes on for an extended period of time, you need to think about your toilet situation. If you have a septic tank, you can still flush as long as you have water to do so. Just pour the water into the tank until it reaches the float. Do not do this if your area has had flooding: waste will back up and spill into your yard. If you are on the municipal sewer system, you can’t flush unless the main sewer has power. If this is down, do not flush your toilet. If waste cannot move, it starts to back up into homes. If the outage is expected to last for a long period, make plans to relocate to a safer place (e.g. a friend or family member’s home). If you cannot do this, you can make a temporary toilet with a five-gallon bucket, several boxes of heavy-duty black garbage bags or contractor bags, duct tape, and kitty litter, sawdust, or UV-style chemical decomposers.
4. Use caution with backup generators, portable heaters, and other equipment. When the power goes out, having a gas- or diesel-powered generator or a propane heater can be a real lifesaver. Or it can be a real risk. For example, without proper ventilation, a propane heater or generator used indoors soaks up all the oxygen in a room and emits carbon monoxide. This can be deadly. There is also a significant risk of fire. If you must use them, ventilate, exercise caution, do not operate all night, and never leave these pieces of equipment unattended.
5. Consider solar solutions. If your solar system is tied to the grid, you cannot use it during a power outage. Doing so puts electricity back into the grid, and this exposes utility workers to grave danger. One option is an off-grid system, of course, but this can be pricey.
A great workaround that allows you to use solar power during a power outage is to install energy storage solutions. With Tesla’s Powerwall 2, for example, you can safely draw upon stored energy without putting utility workers at risk. It immediately disconnects from the grid and provides backup power to your home – and it does it in a fraction of a second.
You won’t face interruptions in your electronics or appliances. Power outages are a reality that is becoming all too common. Be prepared, be safe, and with solar storage solutions, be comfortable. Contact Jefferson Electric, your trusted solar and electric energy experts, to learn more.