When power outages occur, there are certain things we all worry about. Will the food in the freezer go bad? What will happen if all of the clocks die? And how will we charge our phones?!! 😱
However, if you are a homeowner, you may have other concerns. After all, when you invest in nice appliances, you hope that they will last for a significant amount of time, particularly for expensive products like an AC unit. But can a power outage damage an AC unit?
Today, we’ll be helping you understand:
- The difference between a power surge and a power outage
- How to protect your appliances
- What to do when a power outage strikes
Keep reading to learn more!
What Causes a Power Outage?
Power outages are often unpredictable and can come as a surprise to homeowners. In fact, many of us don’t know what causes them in the first place. Can you prepare for a power outage in advance? The answer is…sort of. If you know what to look for.
Possible causes of a power outage include:
- ⛈️ Severe Weather – Weather conditions such as thunderstorms, tornados, hurricanes, or even just strong wind can break power lines and cause the power to go out.
- 🔌 Mechanical Failure – On occasion, failures on behalf of the electric cables or transformers can occur. This typically happens in moments of high power demand, such as everyone blasting their air conditioners during a hot day.
- 🐿️ Animals – Most electrical setups are designed to be able to withstand interference from critters, but every once in a while, a squirrel, snake, or rodent can cause a short circuit.
- 🌲 Trees – Fallen trees or even branches can severely damage power lines, cutting off the electricity to your home.
Power Outage vs. Power Surge
Before we go any further, it is important to clarify the difference between a power outage and a power surge.
Power outages refer to moments when no electricity is coming into your home. This could be due to the factors above, but it could also have to do with faulty wiring in your own home. Power outages can happen to an individual home but can also be widespread.
Power surges, on the other hand, refers to too much power flowing into your home. Powerful currents can come from a failure along the line, or a more extreme situation, such as a lightning strike.
How It Affects Your Appliances
Power outages and power surges can affect your appliances differently, but both can be damaging.
During a power outage, you will likely find that your appliances are just fine. However, when the power comes back on, it can create a power surge. This excess amount of power can cause a mini blast that can do serious damage to your appliances.
The most at-risk appliances include:
- Computers that are plugged into an outlet
- Charging phones
Larger appliances, such as your air conditioner or refrigerator, tend to be a bit safer, as they generally have surge protectors installed (we’ll get to that in a minute).
4 Things To Do After a Power Outage
If you are concerned about the state of your appliances after a power surge or outage and aren’t sure what to do, don’t panic. Just follow these three easy steps to ensure the safety of your most important appliances!
1) Unplug Devices
If the power has just come on, and you think a power surge has fried your appliance, it is important to quickly unplug it in order to reduce the risk of an electrical fire. A damaged appliance may give off the plastic-y scent of electrical burning, you may hear a pop, or it may not turn on at all.
If the appliance itself is not turning on, follow the next step.
2) Try the Circuit Breaker
Sometimes, when a power surge courses through the home, it can trip the circuit breaker. Circuit breakers are controls that turn the power on and off to sections of your home. You can turn them back on yourself by locating your circuit board and finding the switch that is labeled for the room in question.
Flip the switch to “on” and see if your device comes back to life.
2) Call a Professional
If the circuit breaker doesn’t do anything, it may be time to call in a professional. It is useful to find a home service professional who can care for your furnace and air conditioner, as well as plumbing-related issues, such as your refrigerator.
An HVAC professional should be able to diagnose the problem and tell you whether or not you will need to replace your appliance.
3) Invest in Surge Protection
If your appliance is salvageable, your HVAC system professional may advise you to invest in surge protectors. Surge protectors – sometimes referred to as surge suppressors – diffuse excess electricity that is caused during an electrical surge. This can save your devices in the long run.
Call on Aquarius Home Services
Do you need help caring for your appliances after a power outage? Aquarius Home Services can help. Not only does our team include qualified plumbers, but we also have a full roster of HVAC system specialists who are familiar with a wide range of different types of air conditioners. Additionally, we offer 24/7 emergency service to help keep you and your home safe. Whatever the issue, our team will help you find a solution! Contact us today to book your appointment.