Are You Prepared For A Power Outage?
Protect Your Home Against Loss Of Power
Roughly nine out of ten households in the United States experience a power outage during the year. That, of course, poses major problems in our electricity dependent society. Some blackouts catch people unaware. There are those, however, where the public is given plenty of notice when an outage is likely to occur, such as impending storms. So before the next storm arrives, people need to ask themselves if they are prepared for a power outage. There are several options which allow you to protect your home against loss of power.
Losing power in the home is always a major problem. Not only is lighting lost, with subsequent threats to personal safety, heating and air conditioning cease, meals cannot be cooked, and frozen food left in refrigerators can spoil. The best precaution any householder can take against a power outage, whether through storms or any other cause, is to have access to a generator.
Two basic types of generator are available for the home; the portable or permanent standby generator. The portable generators, which tend to be cheaper than permanent ones, are quite suitable for the majority of households. They are capable of meeting wattage requirements of 4,000 to 10,000 watts. It should be understood that anyone owning this type of generator should also use a manual power transfer system. This does without the need for extension cords and eases the transfer of standby power to the property.
Permanent generators can generate between 5,000 to 20,000 watts. The standby versions start up as soon as the mains supply is disrupted, ensuring the home has continuous power. This saves having to manually start the generator once an outage occurs. They are also very useful for people who are away from their premises when the power supply is interrupted.
Anyone having a generator installed should ensure the installation is undertaken by a licensed electrician. It is also important to check with the building department if there is a need for a license.
The generator should also have an automatic breaker to disconnect the home from the mains supply. This is an important safety feature as it prevents power seeping back into the main grid where it can pose a danger to utility workers.
If you don’t have a generator and the power has been off for a long time it may be wise to turn off your heater and air conditioner and wait for the electric to come back on. Sometimes power surges occur when the power comes back and the ac unit may trip the breaker even though it was working properly before the power went out. This doesn’t always happen however it may save you the cost of a HVAC technician coming out.
If electricity is used to pump water from a well on your property then ensure you have an emergency source of water available for at least two days. You should have a minimum of a gallon of drinking water a day for each person on the premises.
Safety And First Aid
Safety is paramount should a storm strike and power is lost. Flashlights, oil lamps, candles and matches should be to hand if there is no lighting. It is also worth having a plan of what do should disaster strike. The household should have a first aid kit and any medications should be stored in an ice chest.