Power outages can be caused by a lot of things including accidents, severe weather conditions, and storms. A brownout refers to a reduction of electricity in a particular area. It’s the complete opposite of a power surge. Sometimes electric companies have to implement brownout to avoid overloading the power grid.
Signs of Brownout
The most common signs of a brownout are flickering lights, rapid on and off switching of electric appliances and intermittent power interruptions. Apart from the usual annoyances of a power failure, brownouts can also damage appliances – especially electronics. During a brownout, protecting your appliances and electronics from irregular voltage should be prioritized.
Tips and Tricks to Protect Electronics from Damage
Larger appliances, such as the fridge and the TV, are vulnerable to inconsistent voltage. Most TVs are fitted with capacitors to level out inconsistent voltage, but mobile devices, computers, printers and other similar devices lack the same feature. As such, do not try to plug in these devices during a brownout.
During a brownout, switch off any appliance that utilizes a lot of power. These appliances include heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, televisions, and dryers. The length of a brownout will vary so plug these appliances in only when the electricity voltage has stabilized.
It helps to conserve energy as much as you can to ease the amount of energy you need to power up the whole house. If a brownout occurs, we recommend preparing for a blackout. If electricity has been stabilized, do not plug the appliances right away. Wait for several minutes before plugging electronics in to protect your appliances from a power surge.
What to Do During Short-Term Brownout
Check the Circuit Breaker
If there’s a power failure, the first thing you need to do is to check if the neighbors still have electricity. If they do, then the problem could be your main fuse or circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker or main fuse was tripped or it exploded, you need to replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker to restore electricity.
Call Your Electric Supplier
If the problem is not your own system, call your electric supplier to learn what caused the power failure. If the power failure is limited to your home, your electric supplier will dispatch a repairman to fix the problem.
Long-Term Power Failures
Use a Generator
If your local area is prone to extended power failures, we recommend investing on a power generator. Most generators will power on automatically during a power failure. However, some units require manual starting to work.
Make sure to pack adequate supply and safety gears, especially during extreme weather conditions. Pack extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, flashlight, candles, and matches. Add a first aid kit, ample amount of drinking water and food. If you have a baby in the home, pack supplies for the infant including diaper, formula, etc.
If there’s flooding in the basement, never wade through the water even if the power’s out unless the electronic appliances have been unplugged. Once the power is restored, the motors in appliances could be submerged in the water, causing an accident.
After the Power Comes Back On
Power outage preparedness should not be taken lightly, as once the lights are out and you are unable to depend on many of your technological devices for support, you may become distressed. However, you can curb your anxieties during this stressful time by being prepared. If you do not know what to do in a power outage, allow these informational points of guidance to ease your worries and allow you to prepare yourself.
Your emergency preparedness kit should be filled with the following goods:
- Water – You should have about a gallon of water for at least three days for each person.
- Nonperishable Food – You should have about a two week supply of nonperishable food items that are easy to prepare. These items include dry cereals, granola bars, instant milk, chips, nuts, crackers, trail mix, canned food, and anything else you can think of that will not spoil.
- First Aid Kit – This kit should include all necessary medical items, toiletries, and medications.
- Multi-Purpose Tool
- Personal Documents – You should have a set of copies of your personal documents, including your insurance information and emergency contact list.
- Extra Cash, Clothing, and Blankets
- Cell Phone Chargers
- Maps of the Area
While you may be inclined to assume that you are good to go because you made an emergency kit back when you purchased your home years ago, this kit must be stocked and checked regularly.