What to Do During a Power Outage

With fall and winter weather looming, here are some tips on what to do (and not do) during a power outage.

Do’s

Do have an emergency supply of waterWhat to Do During a Power Outage

To prepare for an outage, you can fill empty space in the freezer with water bottles. These water bottles can also serve as emergency water if the water supply is interrupted with the power outage. This usually happens for homes on a well.

Do have a carbon monoxide detector

Most people utilize a secondary heat source during a power outage such as a fireplace or gas stove. The carbon monoxide build up can be worse during a power outage where other electric heat sources aren’t being used. Having a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector in use will provide a safety warning if this odorless, colorless, dangerous gas is building up in the home.

Do keep your vehicle gassed up

During cold winter months, keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full to ensure you have a way to leave home during an emergency. It can also be a heat source if the home’s temperature cannot be maintained. If the power outage is extensive, gas stations may also be closed due to the outage.

Do know how to manually open garage and security gates

Garage doors and security gates are often powered by electricity. Learn how to open them manually before an outage occurs so you can be prepared if an emergency happens, and you need to get out.

Do keep your phone battery charged

A phone is vital in an emergency. Keep it charged to give peace of mind that you can call for help, if necessary. If the battery is running low, have a car charger available to recharge it. Close the background apps and dim the backlight on your phone to extend the battery’s life.

Do limit use of water

If you have a traditional tank style water heater, you will initially have some hot water available. If you minimize the use of hot water, the hot water will last longer for handwashing or drinking. The water’s temperature will continue dropping during an extended outage so hot water will eventually cool off and run out.

Don’ts

Don’t touch your circuit breaker panel

When the outage is repaired, the circuit breaker panel will restore power to the house. Messing with the panel during the outage could cause appliances to not restore power, causing delays with cooling/heating, extended loss with the refrigerator or freezer and other electrical problems.

Don’t burn candles

The Center for Disease Control and other emergency management agencies warn not to use candles during a power outage. The increased risk of fire is not worth it. Instead, be prepared by stocking flashlights and other battery-powered lighting. If candles must be used, place candles in safe holders away from anything flammable, and in a place pets or children cannot tip them over.

Don’t open the refrigerator

When it’s closed, the refrigerator will maintain its cool temperature for about four hours to prevent food from spoiling. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t open the fridge or freezer. The food in the freezer can stay frozen for up to two days if it is left closed. A full freezer stays colder longer so a half empty freezer will stay cold for about half the time.

Don’t touch downed power lines

If a power line comes down during a storm, call the power company to report it but stay away. Even if it looks safe, keep a distance.

For questions about heating and cooling, contact us at Pilchuck Heating.

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