The Power Outage Survival Guide

When you're struck by a blackout, brownout, or sudden power surge, follow these tips to safeguard your home's electronics and appliances—and your family—until the lights come back on.

  1. In the Dark

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    power outage tips

    While it's not possible to know ahead of time when a power outage might strike, you can still be prepared. Keep reading to find out what you need to do in the event your house loses power, so your goods—and family—stay safe. 

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  2. Flip the Switch

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    turn off lights during power outage

    Set all light switches in the off position except for one. Leaving one light on will let you know when electricity has been restored.

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  3. Manual Labor

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    manual garage door opener

    All electronic or automatic garage doors have a bypass that allows you to open them manually. Make sure you know how to open your garage door by hand in the event of a power outage—or a lost remote.

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  4. Don't Play With Fire

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    candles power outage

    If you choose to light up your darkness with candles instead of flashlights, place them on a solid, stable, noncombustible surface, and make sure to have a fire extinguisher handy. Never leave a burning candle unattended.

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  5. Have a Backup

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    battery backup for power outage

    Battery backups (like this one from Amazon) absorb high amounts of energy to protect your electronics, feature plenty of extra outlets, and can even display warnings and diagnostics. In the event of a surge or outage, these handy devices will keep your electronics running until you are able to shut them down safely.

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  6. Suppress Those Surges

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    Surge Protection

    Install surge protectors (like this option from Amazon) to help suppress surges and voltage fluctuations, which will protect equipment from damage during power disturbances.

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  7. When in Doubt...

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    cleaning out fridge after power outage

    . . . throw it out. After a power outage, never rely merely on smell or appearance to determine if food is safe to eat. According to foodsafety.gov, food should be safe if the power has been out for no more than four hours. Discard any perishable food, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers, that has been above 40 degrees F for more than two hours.

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  8. Consider a Generator

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    Home Generator

    Many homeowners install generators to ensure continuous power availability. If you think you might want to run your house (or a portion of it) on a generator, take the time to do some planning first.

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  9. Protect Your Data Line

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    Data Line Protection

    Surges and spikes can travel over data lines as easily as they can over electrical lines, so be sure to connect Ethernet, telephone, and cable lines to devices capable of data line protection.

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