Power Outage Cleveland & Akron Area
Have you experienced an outage lately?
Are you one of the unfortunate affected homeowners experiencing power outages?
First Energy Outage Map
How do you keep your power on when heavy winds, tornadoes, flooding, and snowstorms wreak havoc on the exposed electrical lines?
There are many preliminary steps you can take before outages happen—and they will again! Here are four simple emergency kits you can use.
Keep at least one flashlight in a safe and easily accessible location. Don’t make the mistake of keeping the batteries in them unless you use them frequently. Ensure a fresh set of batteries are in the same location/drawer as the flashlight. All too often we keep different types of electronics with batteries in them to find that the batteries have died; or, worse, corroded or burst. Leaving batteries in your devices can cause more damage than good and the last thing you want is to be fumbling at night trying to clean the corrosion off your flashlight or looking for new batteries.
Candles are a great source of light and a little warmth. Unlike batteries, they don’t discharge after a period of time. Similar to your flashlight, keep them in a safe and easily accessible location. Matches are what you will want to make sure are available and dry. I like to keep matches and candles in a Ziploc bag in the kitchen by the spices. Typically, we store dry spices in these cabinets; they are out from the reach of children, and we become conscious that they are there in case of an emergency.
- Canned Food and Bottled Water
Especially in the winter months when we are exposed to heavy snowstorms making travel almost impossible, keep at least a week’s supply of canned food and bottled water. According to the USDA, most shelf-stable foods will last indefinitely if they are kept in good condition (meaning free of rust, major dents, or swelling).
- Did I forget to Mention Matches?
Yes…matches again! Why is it important to mention it? For today’s younger generation, having candles stored to be a lighting source is too primitive having flashlights and batteries available! Well…what about when you need heat? Or have to cook food? Even though the power is out we almost never have a gas-outage due to some freak storm. It is overlooked by so many that I need to mention it. The best heat source in an outage would be to turn on the stove and crack open a window. Stoves with an open flame should never be left unattended; and keep in mind that (although seldom) carbon monoxide fumes can accumulate. That is why it is also important to keep a window open a little. But why matches? Most stoves nowadays turn on with an electronic igniter. If there’s no power—there goes your igniter. Turn it on the old fashion way—with a match.
What options do you have for keeping the lights on?
There are a few available options out there, but there is only one we highly recommend—generators! Sure, you can put in solar panels on your roof; store a bank of batteries somewhere in your basement; or maybe install a wind farm. But realistically, what is the maintenance for these energy sources? How long will the power stay on? Is it cost effective? Again, I will not delve into the answers to these questions; I’ll let you investigate them yourselves. But why do I recommend generators?
Cost effective and multiuse, you can actually connect one to your home’s electrical system focusing on key circuits. With a manual transfer switch, you can connect your refrigerator, furnace, and lights. A refrigerator draws about 3-amps and a furnace motor pulls about the same. General lighting draws very little energy as well, so having a 5000-watt generator would handle these circuits. The only drawback would be having to get gasoline to fuel them up. A tank can hold anywhere from 5-8 hours’ worth of electricity (depending on may factors). Remember that the gas is still on for your furnace. Like the stove, it needs the electronic igniter (spark) to make the flames go on aside from the motor to blow the hot air throughout your home. If you have a fireplace, matches would be the way to go since the same principle applies to the igniters. All homes can be retrofitted to accommodate a portable generator and we can help you with the circuit selection and installation.
Standby generators can be either whole house or partial; automatic transfer or manual; load shedding or not! Selection and installation are not as simple as a portable generator. It’s basically a car that you “park” in the back or side of your home and you forget about it—sort of! With an automatic transfer switch, when the power goes out, your power will be restored within 60-seconds or less. There are two drawbacks to standby generators—cost and periodic maintenance; we’ll cover the latter first. A generator should have maintenance done at least once a year; if not twice a year. Just like a vehicle, the oil should be drained, and a new oil and filter replaced. The unit should be exercised weekly to ensure everything is working correctly. During the oil changes, an outage should be simulated to make sure it will respond when the time comes. And the battery should be changed when it is expected to expire—don’t wait until it dies to replace it! The second drawback is that luxury doesn’t come cheap! After all, did you know electricity was only available to the rich when Edison was lighting up Public Square? During the outage of 2003, the Ford power plant provided Parma and Brooklyn, OH (if not more cities) with electricity—thank you Ford; I lived in Brooklyn at the time 😊 A standby generator can cost upwards of $7200+ in equipment and materials alone! That doesn’t include not only the electrician labor but the plumbing labor as well. These units run off natural gas or propane. But the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. It is unsettling when it’s 2°F outside and your house just lost power because a car out on the street hit the power pole and the electric company can’t send a crew out until Monday on a Friday night!
Whatever you choose, AC Electric can help you with your generator questions, selection, and installation. We are both licensed electricians and plumbers so we can take care of your whole house generator installation without having to count on two companies to resolve your concerns. And with the reputation you’ve come to recognize with AC Electric, you can sleep at night knowing it was handled by a company that focuses on quality workmanship, customer satisfaction and knowledge.