What Happens When You Lose Power

You never want to lose power. It’s dangerous when you’re flying an airplane, frustrating if your phone loses power, embarrassing when you get fired, and a matter of life or death if you’re a dictator.

Losing electrical power in your home is no fun either, but it happens. Before we get into why, let’s look at some things you’ll want to do before there’s an outage.

Before a power outage…

  • Make sure your flashlights are working. Replace the batteries if needed.
  • Put flashlights, matches, candles, and lanterns where they’re easy to find, even if it’s dark.
  • Make sure you have a battery-powered radio on-hand.
  • Try to keep your phone fully charged.
  • If you have room, put a milk jug filled with water in the freezer. If you do lose power, the frozen water in the jug will
  • help keep your frozen food cold. Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours, if the freezer is well-packed.
  • Keep the gas tank of your vehicle at least half full, to help prevent freezing gas lines. If your gas station doesn’t have power, you won’t be able to get more gas.
  • If you have an electric garage door, make sure you know how to open it without power.

Now, let’s see some of the reasons you might lose power. There are more than you might think.

Why you might lose power…

  • You forgot to pay the electric bill or there’s some other payment problem and they disconnected your power. It happens.
  • There’s a blackout in your neighborhood or the whole city. Check to see if other people on your block have power.
  • If the neighbors have power, the problem could be tripped breakers or blown fuses in your home. (You can learn more about breakers and fuses in “All About Home Electricity: Part Two“).

What NOT to do when you lose power

When some people lose power and see that their breakers are flipped or their fuses are burnt out, they immediately flip the switch or replace the fuse. We call them “people who don’t know what they’re doing.” The problem with resetting the circuit immediately is that it doesn’t really solve the problem. The appliance that actually triggered the breaker to flip or fuse to burn out is still plugged in. It could easily cause the same problem again, and then you’d be back to square one.

What people should do is unplug all appliances. (We call them “people who know what they’re doing.”). Then reset your circuit breaker or replace the fuse. Since the appliances are unplugged, your switch won’t trip. After resetting the breaker or fuse, you can go back and plug in the appliances–one at a time. If the circuit trips when you plug a particular appliance in, then you’ve found your trouble maker.

Unfortunately, appliances aren’t the only things that trip circuit breakers. Your circuits could also be overloaded, your plugs could be bad, or your wiring could be broken. If you suspect any of these are your problem, you should call in the pros. Each of these electrical problems is serious and potentially dangerous, so don’t wait!

Next time you lose power, here are a few things you can do if you can’t solve the problem right away:

How to deal with having no power

  • If you lose power in the winter, you might lose your heat. Let your faucets drip a little to keep the water in the pipes moving so they don’t freeze.
  • When the power goes out, don’t forget that your wireless network probably won’t work. You’ll need mobile data to use your cell phone instead of the wi-fi.
  • Of course, if the cell phone doesn’t have power, you can’t recharge it. If you have one, you could use a car charger.
  • You should also consider texting instead of calling, because texts don’t use as much network capacity or battery power.
  • Since there could be a power surge when power is restored, unplug TVs, microwaves, computers, phones, and garage door openers.
  • Leaving a radio on will let you know when power is restored.

Sometimes, we don’t realize how much we rely on electricity until it’s gone! If you lose power and none of these steps work, contact Early Bird. We’ll fix it as soon as possible.