Millions of people are affected by power outages each year. Reports show that the number has been growing continually for the last few decades. Between increasing instances of severe weather and the nation’s aging power grid, outages are expected to become even more frequent during the years to come.
In some cases, those outages only last a few hours. Many times, though, they stretch on for days before the electricity is back up and running. Those lengthy stints without power can be particularly trying for people who don’t have backup generators, such as those offered by companies like alltimepower. Though some may believe that extended power outages are mere inconveniences, consider the following serious issues they can cause.
1) Total Darkness
Having no lights is an obvious problem during a power outage, but it can also be a dangerous one. When you can’t see where you’re going, your family is bound to experience numerous bumps and bruises. At the same time, taking a tumble down the stairs may result in broken bones and other severe injuries.
2) No Way to Cook
Though your family can, technically, survive on cold sandwiches and canned soup during an outage, those supplies only last for so long. In a situation like this, those tend to be the first things the supermarkets run out of, so restocking could be virtually impossible. Having a gas-powered stove isn’t necessarily a solution because many modern models require electricity to power their clocks, timers, and igniters. That means they still may not work when the power is out.
3) Food Spoilage
Chances are you have at least a couple hundred dollars worth of food in your refrigerator and freezer right now. These might include sandwich fixings, condiments, fresh produce, meats, milk, eggs, cheese, and numerous other necessities. If the power goes out, opening the freezer and refrigerator doors as little as possible can help keep the food from thawing out as quickly as it might otherwise. Still, that cold air will dissipate over time. If the electricity doesn’t come back on before that happens, all that food could go to waste.
4) No Hot Water
We rely on hot water for bathing and cleaning. When the power goes out, so does your continual supply of hot water. As is the case with the stove, if you have a gas water heater with an electronic igniter, you’ll end up in a bind during an outage. Cold showers are painful, to say the least especially during the winter months, and not having hot water for washing your hands and cleaning can pave the way for countless illnesses and infections.
5) No Working Phones
Our phones, tablets, and other devices are our lifelines to the world these days. Without electricity, you can’t charge any of them. That means you’ll have no way to connect with friends and family members or even call for help if an emergency arises. At the same time, with no lights to see how to play a board game and no television or electronic devices to keep the kids entertained, even a temporary outage seems to drone on forever. You could take turns using the car charger, but that might run down your vehicle’s battery, which causes yet another problem.
6) No Way to Recharge Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries offer numerous advantages. When you have them on hand, you don’t have to worry about running out of batteries, and you can save hundreds of dollars by not having to constantly buy new ones. Of course, without electricity, there’s no way to recharge those batteries, so your flashlights, radios, and other items will still only serve you for a limited amount of time.
7) No Home Security
An increasing number of homeowners in America are equipping their homes with security systems. Those systems come in several varieties, and they’re becoming more advanced with each passing year. That being said, most of them require electricity and internet connections to function properly. If the power goes out, not only will the system not work but remote monitoring and operation will be impossible.
8) Malfunctioning Medical Equipment
If someone in your household relies on medical equipment, keeping him or her safe and healthy depends on having a constant source of power for those devices. From nebulizers and oxygen pumps to stairlifts and CPAP machines, they all require electricity. Some have battery backups, but those only last for so long before the devices need to be plugged in.
9) Lack of Water
If your home gets water from a well rather than the public water supply, a power outage could be particularly detrimental. Wells rely on pumps to get water into homes, and those pumps run on electricity. Having no power means having no running water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, or any other need. While you can stock up on bottled water for such an emergency, keeping enough of it on hand to survive an extended outage isn’t easy.
10) No Heating and Air Conditioning
Having no heating and air conditioning can be incredibly uncomfortable. This is particularly true if the temperatures outside are dropping or soaring to extremes. This can make for a dangerous situation as well. Excess heat and humidity may lead to mold and mildew growth in your home. Being without heat and air conditioning can also cause or exacerbate many medical conditions. At the same time, many homes rely on their HVAC system to improve indoor air quality. If your HVAC system isn’t working because of a power outage, the air in your home could become increasingly riddled with allergens, pathogens, chemicals, and other harmful particles.
11) Computer Crashes
Unexpected power outages are common causes of computer crashes. In turn, they can result in any number of problems. From damaged hardware and corrupted files to lost information and digital family photos, your computer may never fully recover from an outage.
12) Damaged Appliances
Not having power going to your appliances won’t necessarily damage them, but the surges that often occur with outages certainly can. Your stove, microwave, television, washer, dryer, and dishwasher are only a few of the appliances that could be negatively affected by a power surge. Having them repaired or replaced after the fact could cost thousands of dollars.
More Than a Mere Inconvenience
Being unable to watch television or peruse social media because the power and internet are out can certainly be frustrating, but that’s only the beginning. Power outages may bring about several significant problems as well. From leaving your home vulnerable to intrusion and causing widespread appliance damage to opening the door for serious health issues and beyond, losing power can be a major issue. That said, there are several measures you can take to help avoid all those potential problems.