Electricity Is Out!
Staying comfortable and safe when the electricity goes out.
Every year the electricity goes out in our house. In many cases it’s just for a couple of hours, but in some cases longer. Today the electricity went out at 2:30 a.m. and at 11 a.m. it’s still off.
The trick to staying comfortable and safe is to have the right backup amenities to keep things civilized.
Some of these recommendations may be expensive, but you will appreciate them in the long run.
Uninterruptible Power Supply
I use these on our computers so that when the power goes off, the computer will beep. It will also give you 30 minutes of backup power to keep your computer working for a short time. The beeping on the UPS is what woke us up, so it also serves as a warning bell that the electricity is off.
When you have bad storms, surge protectors will keep your electronics like TVs, computers etc. protected from electric surges. This is not 100% safe but better than nothing at all. Another tip is that when your electricity is off, unplug your big ticket electronics. This way when the electricity does come on it won’t burn out any electronic devices.
Flashlight with lots of batteries.
I like the inexpensive flashlights that use one AA battery. I put them on a lanyard and have them all over the house for emergencies. I also have extra large packs of batteries in case the emergency is a long one. I like to keep a flashlight on my bed stand so it’s easy to find in the dark.
Also remember that your phone has a flashlight function so learn how to use it.
Gas is a Must.
I see many houses and condos with just electricity and no gas connection. In an emergency having gas is a must.
As I write this my gas fireplace is on and is radiating heat into the living room. It’s keeping the room at a cozy 72 degrees although it is 38 degrees outside.
Gas Hot Water Heater
You still have hot water with gas.
With a BBQ lighter, it’s easy to cook and have a hot breakfast, dinner or lunch.
Percolator Coffee Pot
I have an old one from my camping days, but I’m going to upgrade to a new stainless steel model.
Sump Pump Backup
I use a water powered backup for my sump pump. It’s comforting to hear it run every few minutes and know that my basement will stay dry. If you have a battery backup, make sure you have it on your calendar to check on a regular basis. I have had neighbors on both sides of me have a water logged basement because their battery backup failed and they didn’t know it.
Garage Door Battery Backup
Buying a garage door which has a battery backup is a nice feature to have when you need to an appointment while the electricity is out. While you can open the garage door manually, it won’t be locked when you leave.
USB Backup Power
Having a usb power brick or two is handy for your phone. Without electricity, your phone is your only link to the outside world.
Car Battery Power Backup
While this is not a necessity, it will fill in as a usb power backup and a flashlight. I could have used one of these when my battery died. I now have one in my trunk.
It’s nice to have a gas BBQ you can use to cook outside when the electricity is out.
Phone Hotspot – wifi from your phone.
This is a feature that you may have on your phone so take some time to learn how to use it. On T-Mobile, the free hotspot is VERY SLOW, but it’s fast enough for email and writing this article.
Phone – keep it charged.
Have your phone charging overnight so it will be ready if you wake up without power in the middle of the night.
Computer with USB-C
While this is not strictly necessary, it’s nice to have a Chromebook which allows charging via a USB battery backup. Couple this with a fast hot spot and you can keep the kids entertained with Netflix. I’m writing this article on my computer linked to my phone’s hotspot.
Another somewhat expensive option, but it may be worth it if it keeps your pipes from freezing. The limiting factor is being able to buy gasoline to keep the generator running.
If you have any other tips to be prepared when the electricity goes out please share them with me.