Tips to Get Your Home Ready for a Power Outage

Here in the North Bay, PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs have become commonplace, especially during fire season. With a little preparation, life can carry on without much disruption during these public safety events. 

Consumables

The difference between a short, two-minute or two-hour power outage often comes down to the food. No one wants to have to throw food away. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to prevent food spoilage the next time you know the power will be turned off.

Refrigerated and Frozen Food

The number one rule to keeping your perishable food cold during an outage is to keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. According to the FDA, a full freezer will keep its temperature for 48 hours, and a refrigerator will hold a safe temperature for four hours. If there are essential items that you will need out of your fridge or freezer like perishable medications or pet foods, move them to a cooler with ice in advance.

Before you lose power, you can also maximize the number of hours your food will stay frozen or refrigerated with these tips:

Refrigerators: Turn your refrigerator to the lowest temperature before the outage. The colder you can get the inside of your fridge, the longer your perishable foods will take to thaw or possibly spoil. 

Freezers: Freezers run more efficiently when they are full. If it’s not full, placing containers (clean milk jugs work great) of water in them reduces the energy required when you have power, and keeps things frozen longer when you don’t. 

Non-perishables 

While it’s a good idea to keep your pantry stocked in case of an emergency, it also comes in handy when you can’t open your refrigerator during a PG&E PSPS. You may want to add a few easy meal items, in advance of the outage, that do not require electricity to prepare. Especially if you have an electric range. With a barbecue or camp stove (kept at a safe 20 feet from your windows), you can heat canned foods and boil water for dried camping food. Also, make sure you have a non-electric can opener for canned goods and any canned pet food. 

Electronics

Most households have several handheld electronics that we use every day, and in the event of a power outage, these devices can become even more essential.

Start with a Full Charge

Whether it be a mobile phone, wireless gaming system, or an eBook reader, make sure these devices are fully charged before the PSPS. To help conserve their power for as long as possible during an outage, turn the screen brightness down as low as possible when they are on. Don’t forget to charge your electric vehicle and any backup battery packs, as well, if you have them. 

Protect Against Surges

When electricity is restored after an outage, some households can experience power surges, which can damage electronics. Before the PSPS, unplug your computer, TV, and other major appliances to protect them from possible power surges. 

Safety

The main concern, during any power outage, is safety. Here are some PSPS safety tips. 

Alerts

To ensure your home remains protected during an outage, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are battery operated and that the batteries have been changed on a regular basis. 

You may also want to invest in an emergency weather radio with battery backup, to continue to receive emergency alerts if your cell phone battery dies. Similarly, a battery-operated radio will assure continued access to your local news channel and radioed alerts. 

Lights

Prior to the PSPS, make sure you have fresh batteries in your flashlights and strategically place them where everyone in your house knows to find them. In addition, placing electric candles, or other battery-powered lights throughout the house can help prevent injuries. 

Standby Generators

With a residential standby generator, you can keep your refrigerator, lights, and your phone working during any type of power outage. Don’t forget about the family pet! Households with fish tanks, reptile aquariums, or any exotic pets that require strict climate control or water filters can benefit from a standby generator. These generators can also be a lifesaver when it comes to keeping critical medical equipment running and essential medications at their required temperatures.

If you already own an automatic generator, make sure it’s in perfect working order when you need it most with regular maintenance and annual inspections. 

Consider a Generator

Residential backup generators are the perfect way to keep appliances, lights, air conditioners, and essential systems in your home working during a power outage. In addition, they can ensure essential medical life-support systems will remain uncompromised during critical times.

Schafer Electric Services, Inc is a family-owned business with deep roots in the greater Sonoma County area. When it comes to keeping the power on in your home, we never cut corners and always make sure we get the job done right, and done well. 

Don’t wait for an unexpected PG&E power outage to seriously affect your life at home. Contact Schafer Electric to install a residential backup generator today.

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