Heavy storm seasons often lead to dreaded power outages. If you find yourself in this situation and need further assistance, electrical contractors in your area are a great resource.  

Here are a few tips for preventing brownouts while staying cool this summer. 

What is a brownout?

A brownout, also referred to as a voltage slump, is a drop in voltage in an electrical system. The name comes from the color of the bulbs which turn brown when the voltage drops.

Brownouts typically occur during heavy storm seasons and summer months and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. 

Are brownouts dangerous?

Generally, brownouts are not considered dangerous. However, because electrical damage may occur, it is important to unplug your TVs, computers, printers, and other devices that require electricity.

Doing this will protect your devices from the surge of power after the brownout. 

Installing power strips, a whole-home surge protector, and simply turning off devices during a brownout are other good ways to protect your devices when the power is fully restored.  

How to prevent a brownout

According to the Chicago Tribune most brownouts can be prevented by following a few simple steps:

  • Turn up your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher when you leave your home or go to sleep. This will make the unit cycle less and reduces power consumption. 
  • Postpone heat-producing and heavy power-producing tasks such as cooking, ironing, washing clothes, or running a dishwasher until the cooler temperatures arrive, typically during the evening hours. Because most businesses and industries are closed by this time, the demand for electricity is greatly reduced.
  • Shut off unused lights during peak demand times

What if a brownout happens anyway?

Growing populations, spread out over a wider area, have led to staggering increases in power outages during severe weather events. However, utilities have become relatively good at restoring power. 

There are some tips to follow to help you survive the inevitable summer power outage

  • Get backup power. Portable generators vary in size, price, and quality so you are sure to find one that works for your home. If you choose this option, it is vital that you position your generator far away from your home and air conditioning unit. Typically, generators need to be positioned at a minimum of ten feet from your home or business, but should be placed around the twenty-five foot mark for added safety.
  • Just like when a natural disaster occurs, water supply may be cut off. If you have advance warning, stock up on drinking water or fill every available sink, tub, and bucket with water. 
  • During a brownout you should go through all the food that spoils first, making sure to not open the freezer unless you have to. When all the food from the refrigerator is gone, move to the freezer food, and eventually through the canned food. Because you are without power, utilizing your outdoor grill is a great way to cook your food. 
  • Using cooling towels, ice, and fans can also help you beat the heat until the electricity powers back on.

For help with brownouts and other electrical issues, you can contact the electrical contractors at Elite Electric for more information.