With summer in full swing, some thunderstorms are likely to start blowing in. These storms can knock out power; sometimes for just a few minutes, and sometimes for hours or days. Power outages due to mechanical failures can also happen at any time. Regardless of why the power is out, it's important to know what to do in this situation. Follow these guidelines for your own safety and sanity.
Do: Keep some battery-powered lights on hand and use them, if needed, during a power outage. This is a lot safer than lighting a candle.
Don't: Go anywhere near downed power lines if you happen to see them. If they're touching water on the ground, that water could be electrified. Stay far back, and call the power company to inform them of the downed lines.
Do: Check news websites on your smartphone to stay up to date on the weather and the expected restoring of service. If you have a phone charger in your car, you don't have to worry about your battery dying.
Don't: Use your grill or generator indoors. If you have these items and want to utilize them outside, make sure they're far away from any doors or windows, so their fumes, which contain poisonous carbon monoxide, do not leak into your home.
Do: Keep a lamp plugged in and turned on somewhere in your home. This way, when the power goes back on, you'll be alerted to it. Unplug any other major appliances that are not on surge protectors, so they don't suffer surge damage when the power goes back on.
Don't: Open the refrigerator repetitively. If you leave the door shut, the food will stay cold for much longer. According to the FDA, a refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours if left unopened. A freezer can keep its temperature for 48 hours if it's full and 24 hours if it's half full.
Do: Keep your doors and windows shut to keep your home temperature down while the air conditioning is out. If it cools down at night, open your windows to let some cool air in, and then shut them again before it heats up in the morning.
Even with the best power service, power outages are bound to happen occasionally. Be prepared to follow the steps above, and check out our post "5 Energy Tips for Summer" for more helpful summer advice.