Limiting Financial Losses Associated With Power Blackouts

Posted on: 2 September 2016

Apart from plunging your house in darkness, a power blackout can also lead to a severe financial loss. Here are some of the ways in which blackouts can cause financial losses, and how to limit the damages:

Power Surge

A power surge is a spike (sudden temporary increase) in your home's electrical current. Power surges sometimes occur when the power comes back on after a blackout. Although brief, it can cause severe damage to your electrical appliances. This is because the internal circuits of these appliances are designed to operate within specific power ranges, and the appliances can get damaged if the power surge results in current exceeding their tolerances.

Here is what you need to do to prevent damages from a power surge:

  • Use a surge protector; the protector diverts the excess electricity or shuts it off when it exceeds a certain limit.
  • When the power goes off or during a severe storm, you need to unplug your electrical appliances, so they don't get fried should a power surge occur.

Brownout

A power brownout is the opposite of a surge; it occurs when there is a temporary and sudden drop in the electrical current. Just like power surges, brownouts can also cause permanent damage to some electrical devices. Unintentional brownouts can occur after or before a blackout. Power companies sometimes induce intentional brownouts to limit usage during peak hours.  The best protective measure is to unplug your devices during a blackout or when you suspect a brownout, for example, if the lights start flickering or dimming.

Food Damages

A power blackout may also cause you to throw away food that has to be refrigerated to remain safe for human consumption. For example, raw or thawing meat should be discarded if it stays above 40oF for over two hours. Fortunately, taking these measures allow you to limit the damages associated with food refrigeration during a blackout:

  • Don't open the refrigerator doors; this will keep the food cold for up to four hours.
  • Buy block or dry ice; if the fridge is fully stocked, the ice may keep it cold for up to two days.
  • Fill up your fridge and freezer compartments; packed fridges stay cold longer than empty ones.

Hopefully, the above tips will help you limit your financial losses during a power blackout. However, you should also explore ways to cope with future power blackouts. For example, you can install a backup power generator or a solar panel on your roof. Talk to an electrical contractor to such as Williams Electric Supply help you explore these and other options.

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