If a power outage occurs, Rama Fire and Rescue recommends that you turn the thermostat(s) down to minimum and turn off all appliances, electronic equipment and tools to prevent injury, damage to equipment and fire. Power can be restored more easily when the system is not overloaded. Do not use barbeques, camping heating equipment or home generators indoors.
Use a flashlight. If you must use candles, be sure to use proper candleholders.
Never leave lit candles unattended. Generators are an option for backup electricity, however:
- They should never be used indoors.
- They require frequent maintenance (including frequent oil changes).
- They must be installed and connected to your main panel (not directly to your wiring system) by a qualified electrician. Get any such installation inspected by the Electrical Safety Authority.
Using Food When the Power Goes Off
- First, use perishable foods, including those in the refrigerator.
- Second, use frozen foods from the freezer. To minimize the number of times you open the fridge and freezer doors, post a list of contents on the outside of the door.
- If you have frozen water containers in the freezer, move them into the fridge to help keep it cool.
- Third, use canned and dried foods.
Alerts: Cooking Without Electricity
*Never use-cooking equipment designed for outdoor use indoors. This could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
*Before using a fireplace after an earthquake, have your chimney and flue inspected for cracks. Sparks may escape through a small crack and start a fire in the wall or attic.
Winter Power Failure
If the power outage leaves you without heat for some time, and there is a threat of pipes freezing or bursting, drain the pipes and shut off the main water supply. As you drain your pipes, you may want to collect the water in clean containers for drinking and cleaning purposes. Open all faucets including your water heater. If your water heater is electric, drain the hot water heating system by turning it off and leaving the valves open. Add plumbing antifreeze to the toilet and other pipes with standing water. If you have a septic tank, antifreeze could damage it so make sure you pump the chemical from the plumbing fixtures and pipes before they are refilled with water.
Energy Conservation Recommendations
To conserve power to help avoid a blackout, the power industry recommends:
- In heating season, set the furnace thermostat at 68-degrees or lower. In cooling season, set the thermostat at 78-degrees or higher. Consider installing a programmable thermostat that you can set to have the furnace or air conditioning run only when you are at home. Most power is used by heating and cooling, so adjusting the temperatures on your thermostat is the biggest energy conservation measure you can take.
- Turn off lights and computers when not in use. This is especially true about computer monitors. Avoid using a “screen saver” and just simply turn the monitor off when you won’t be using the computer for a while. Turn the computer off completely each evening. It is no longer true that computer equipment is damaged from turning it off and on.
- Close windows when the heating or cooling system is on.
- Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly.
- If you have to wash clothes, wash only full loads and clean the dryer’s lint trap after each use.
- When using a dishwasher, wash full loads and use the “light” cycle. If possible, use the “rinse only” cycle and turn off the “high temperature” rinse option. When the regular wash cycle is done, just open the dishwasher door to allow the dishes to air dry.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights.
- Use one large light bulb rather than several smaller ones.