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What to Do During a Brownout/Blackout

Summer months can be hot, warranting additional AC usage across the board. But this energy usage can sometimes lead to brownouts and blackouts. Power outages can be caused by a number of things like bad storms or heat waves, forcing our cooling systems and power to shut down and leaving people sitting in the dark (so to speak), and having to deal with the heat. However, there are a few tips and tricks to keeping cool and staying safe during a power outage in the heat.

Before we go into what to do during one of these power outages, let’s look at the difference between a brownout and blackout to help you be better prepared.

Brownout Vs. Blackout

A brownout is a partial, temporary reduction in total system capacity often planned by the utility companies. They are meant to only last for a few minutes or hours but are used for a power load reduction so the power companies can ease the strain on the power supply system.

A blackout on the other hand typically occurs without warning as they are usually caused by unexpected causes such as stormy weather or some form of heavy impact on a power line, such as a car hitting a telephone pole. Unfortunately, there is no telling how long a blackout might last.

So, what can you do when the power goes out to be safe & stay cool?

Tips for Staying Cool

  1. Block Out the Sun – During the day. Draw the blinds and curtains to prevent even more heat from coming in. If you have rooms in the house that tend to get warmer than others, close the doors and stay in the cooler rooms.
  2. Open Up All the Windows – At night. While you want to keep the house closed during the day, if you experience a blackout at night, open up all the windows to enhance your chances of letting a cool cross breeze cool down the house.
  3. Keep a Supply of Water on Hand – Having a backup supply of water is important for many reasons. For one, it’s important to stay hydrated in the heat. Secondly, we use water for things like washing our hands, cleaning dishes, and cooking. There are times during a blackout when the city shuts off the water supply as well. If you don’t have backup water stored, you can always fill up your sink immediately after a blackout for water to use throughout the day.
  4. Create Your Own “Swamp Cooler” – For this one, all you need is a 5-gallon bucket, a battery-powered fan, and some ice water. Here’s a quick DIY to building your own at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHbQYajfGqM
  5. Keep the Fridge Closed – Only open the refrigerator when you absolutely need to. Keeping it closed will help keep the inside of the fridge cool and lessen your chances of spoiling food.
  6. Charge Up In the Car – Without power, you still have phone charging options. Option 1 is to have a backup portable phone charger powered up and ready to go. But if you don’t have a portable phone charger, you can always use your car charger. Just be sure you don’t kill the car battery.
  7. Use Non-Electrical Lights – You can use a blackout as an excuse to get romantic and light a bunch of candles. Or, if you’re not much of a candle person, always have a flashlight and batteries handy. You can also bring your outdoor solar lights inside to light up the house at night.

We hope these tips help you feel more prepared to survive a blackout. Stay cool out there! 

For those times when you do have power, we can help you with money-saving, energy-efficient cooling options.  Call to schedule your consult today.

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