10 May, 2023
Posted by Prime Time Electricians
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Surviving Winter Power Outages: How to Prepare, Find Outages, Save Electricity, and Stay Safe

With the cold season fast approaching, it is important to review the dangers of power outages and to know how to prepare for a power outage in winter. An outage itself can be dangerous and it is important to know what to do during a power outage and how to prepare for one, especially during the winter months.

What causes a power outage?

A power outage doesn’t happen for no reason. Though it can sometimes take a bit of effort to find out why the power has gone out, there is always a reason behind it. Common causes of power outages include:

Damage to power lines

It is common that an accident (most of the time wind/winter storm or vehicle related) will cause some damage to power lines, either cutting the power off or forcing it to be shut off while repairs occur. These instances provide an additional danger from the damaged lines as well. Damaged power lines from storms is one of the leading causes of increased power outages in the winter season

Damage to power lines

Scheduled maintenance

A simple one, sometimes the power system in your area will need maintaining. You will be notified well in advance of any maintenance that will affect you, allowing you to adequately prepare or arrange to be somewhere else during that time if need be.

Scheduled maintenance

Faulty appliances

Faulty appliances will trip the RCDs and/or circuit breakers, causing the power to cut out. This type of power outage tends to only affect a very small area, but can be difficult to resolve if you don’t know what appliance is causing the issue. A faulty RCD can also contribute to this, so be sure to ensure you have an electrician conduct RCD testing regularly.

How to find power outages in your area?

It’s actually quite easy to find if there are power outages in your area. If it’s affecting you, you’ll notice it very quickly, but there are also ways to find out about power outages in the surrounding areas.

In Western Australia, the Western Power website has a page dedicated to listing all the outages they are aware of and the status of repairs.

How long do power outages last?

Power outages can last anywhere from a few hours to most of the day depending on how serious it is and how easy it is to fix. Because of this uncertainty it is important that you’re always prepared for one. A long-term power outage can be very dangerous in certain circumstances.

How to prepare your home and business for a power outage

Have a good stock of non-perishable foods

Having food that doesn’t rely on the fridge is vital. A good supply of bottled water is also a help, especially for businesses whose premises don’t have a lot of taps available.

Freeze bottles of water

If you have the freezer space spare at home, keeping a couple bottles of completely frozen water can help with keeping your fridge cool during a power outage. Just shift them in the fridge when the power goes and you’ll have a few good hours of additional cooling for your perishable items. 

Invest in backup generators

If you have a business, you may find it a good idea to invest in backup or portable generators for your premises, especially if you have perishable foods as part of your stock.

Ensure you have battery lamps and fresh extra batteries on hand

Candles will do in a pinch, but battery-powered lamps will be brighter and far less dangerous than candles. Be sure to light any commonly-travelled pathways in the premises to reduce the risk of someone tripping over something in the dark.

Have a backup location ready

In extreme cases you may need to temporarily relocate to somewhere that still has power. It may just be a family member’s house but it’s always good to have the peace of mind of having this arranged in advance.

What to do during a power outage

The moment you become aware of a power outage you should immediately try and find out how much of the surrounding area has been affected. This is mainly to determine if it is affecting just your house, because if it is you will need to be the one to take action to get the issue fixed.

Some tips for staying safe and warm during a power outage are:

->Wear extra layers of warm clothes

->Bring out the extra blankets

->Use your fireplace (if you have one)

->Close off all the doors to the room you’re in to keep the warm air in and conserve body heat.

what to do during power outage

Tips for saving electricity during winter

Close off doors to rooms that aren't in use

Closing off doors to unused rooms reduces the amount of work the heater needs to do to keep your home warm.

Invest in insulation for your home

Insulation is effective in reducing the amount of heating you need to do and will save you money in the long run.

Upgrade your switchboard

Investing in a switchboard upgrade will allow you to run higher electrical loads and higher draw appliances more efficiently and without putting as much of a strain on your power system (which itself can lead to outages).

Upgrade your switchboard

Use your fireplace

If you have a wood stove or gas fireplace in your home it can be an excellent source of heat without having to rely on electricity. This can be very helpful during a power outage as well.

How Prime Time Electricians can help with your electrical needs before and during a power outage

Prime Time Electricians are a team of qualified and licensed electricians who can carry out repairs and maintenance to your home’s electrical system to keep it in tip top shape.

Everyone’s situation and location will be different, and that extra bit of unique advice can really make the difference. So if you’d like to know more about how to prepare for a power outage in winter, or need some electrical repairs in Perth done, get in touch and give Prime Time a call today on 
1300 356 200

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