There’s nothing worse than sitting in front of the TV when the electricity suddenly decides to fail on you. Or when you’re busy cooking and suddenly your stove and microwave no longer work.
Prevent this from happening with the following list of expert tips:
1. Buy yourself a couple of battery-powered torches and extra batteries and have these handy in case of emergency - and don't put them away under the kitchen sink or in a drawer. Mount a torch onto the wall in a convenient place that is easy to reach. Place one torch by the front door and one by your bedside. If you have a double-storey home, mount one torch upstairs.
2. Get to know your main distribution board (DB) and take the time to label the switches. You can do this by switching all the switches off and then on again - one by one - to determine the region that responds to each switch. When the power goes off, check your DB board first to determine if the problem is local or a municipal fault.
3. If the power outage is local - only your home is affected - and the main switch has tripped, it could be the result of electrical overload on a plug point, a faulty appliance or - if no obvious problem is found - something more serious, in which case you will need to call in a certified electrician.
4. With a cold winter on the horizon and heaters being pulled out of storage, make sure you are ready for anything. Prepare an emergency pack - a picnic hamper - of items that you will need. Store food that is not perishable and does not require cooking. For canned food, be sure to include a non-electrical can opener. Get into the habit of filling a vacuum flask in the morning and afternoon so that hot water is available. Have plenty of blankets on hand for cold nights.
5. Mount dot-it or tap lights at strategic points around the home - in the bathroom, on a staircase and next to a telephone. Battery-operated, these will see you through quite a few power failures and you won't have to worry about accidents during black outs. If you make use of a cellphone, make sure that it is always charged in advance of any planned power outage.
6. If you are unsure how long the power will be off, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold for longer. Both can maintain the temperature for an estimated 4 hours if unopened.
7. Fish tanks and aquariums need to be kept aerated during long power outages, especially those that last longer than 4 to 5 hours. Fill up a bottle with water from the tank and pour this into the tank repeatedly to aerate from time to time.
8. Switch off any appliances that were on before the outage, as these create a drain when the power comes back on. To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off computers, TVs, stereos and other unnecessary electronic equipment at the power source. Leave a light on so you'll know when the power is restored. Wait a few minutes before turning major appliances back on because a surge could cause another power outage.
9. If you use electrically-operated medical equipment at home you need to be prepared at all times with back-up power generator that is professional installed to provide for such emergencies.
10. Take the time out to relax and have some down time. In my family this is the only time we get to play games and it can be fun to play I Spy in the dark!
Go to home-dzine for more expert tips and tricks for the in and around the home.