8 Things to Check After a Power Outage
So, your house has experienced a power outage. In most cases, the power will come back after a few minutes or a few hours. However, sometimes an outage can last for days or weeks — especially during extreme weather events. Make sure you check these X things in your home after a power outage to minimize the damage.
1. Electric Appliances
First, you need to check and unplug all electrical appliances throughout the house that are currently in use. Disconnecting them from your electrical system is the only way to keep them safe from a power surge. If the devices remain plugged in, they could get damaged by the sudden rush of electricity when the power returns.
You should also charge your electronics before severe weather in preparation for a power outage. If you’re forced to unplug the devices, you’ll have a full battery. When the power comes back, wait a few minutes before plugging the devices back in.
2. Fuse and Circuit Breaker
Next, you need to check the fuse and circuit breaker. Blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers are two of the most common causes of power outages. Try resetting them by turning them off for a minute, then turning them back on. You should hear a beeping sound if the power returns.
If a simple reset didn’t work, the problem might require professional repairs.
Fuses and circuit breakers can lose power for several reasons. Usually, they get overloaded by too many plugged-in appliances — especially light fixtures — and malfunction under the pressure. Damaged wiring is another possible cause. During severe weather, moisture can also get inside and make contact with your power sources.
3. Water and Water Pipes
Water should be the next item on your checklist. When a power outage affects an entire community, the local water treatment centers might also stop working. That means your tap water isn’t safe to drink. It might look clean, but you shouldn’t take any chances. Play on the safe side and avoid drinking tap water during extended power outages.
If you experience a power outage during the winter, your water pipes are also more likely to become frozen. During this situation, you should pour a small amount of antifreeze down your drains and let a stream of tap water trickle through the faucets. This activity will prevent the water from becoming stagnant and freezing.
4. Garage Door
Your garage door’s electronics are one of the most vulnerable places in the house during a power outage, especially if there’s extreme weather. Exposure to the elements plus a sudden loss of power could do severe damage. You might have to open and close the door manually until it gets the necessary repairs.
DIY garage door repairs are not recommended. Even if there is no power, you could still get shocked by the leftover electricity in the wiring. DIY repairs also come with the risk of doing more damage and invalidating your warranty. It’s smarter to leave garage door maintenance to the professionals.
If a storm is severe enough to cause a power outage, it might also be severe enough to cause a flood. That’s why you need to keep a close eye on your basement. Look out for signs of flooding such as mold, foul odors and cracks in the exterior walls. Take all precautions and move your precious items upstairs just in case.
6. Refrigerator and Freezer
When your refrigerator and freezer stop working during a power outage, the food inside can spoil in just two hours if the temperature gets too high. Keep the fridge and freezer doors closed to keep the inner temperature as cold as possible. If you need to open the doors, don’t leave them open for more than a few seconds.
Many homeowners stock their freezers with ice packs to help the interior stay cool in the event of a power outage. You could also move perishable food items to portable coolers temporarily until the power comes back on.
7. Emergency Supplies
If the power goes out, you have to lean on other resources for light and heat. Don’t waste any time in breaking out the flashlights, candles and matches. If it’s wintertime, bundle up and prepare for your home’s indoor temperature to plummet. Portable chargers are also extremely valuable during power outages.
8. Family Members
Last but not least, you need to check on your family members. The adults in the house can handle themselves, but children need assurance that everything is going to be ok. Give your kids something to keep themselves occupied while the power is out to prevent panic from setting in.
Keep Your Home Safe During a Power Outage
You can’t stop power outages from happening, but you can take many simple measures to limit the damage and keep your home safe. Checking these eight things will save you from a world of potential problems down the road, including electrocution, flooding and food poisoning. Write down a checklist to make sure you remember!
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