Lights Out: Preparing for a Power Outage
Power outages are not uncommon these days and as a result of storms, hurricanes or tornadoes, you may be left without any lights at home. It is therefore advisable to plan for emergency backup power and lighting when there is no electricity supply in your home.
Many homes have opted for generator back-ups. Learn how the generator operates, so that you know how to start it, when the emergency situation occurs. Learn how you can check the fuel and oil in the generator, or where you can fill it, and how you can establish the connection to turn on the electricity in your house.
Once a month run the generator for a few minutes, keep the fuel ready and if the unit is kept idle for a longer period, you can use fuel additives in the gas tank as well.
Battery backup lights are generally connected to your home through a cord. The lights receive 120 volts and the voltage gets changed to 6 or 12 volts direct current. The batteries are hence kept charged, so whenever the power is shut off there is a switch from electricity to battery and the lights are turned on automatically. Use the backup lights in places where you need them most like stairways, hallways, and exit routes and in utility rooms.
A generator can be switched on either through a drop cord or a transfer switch. The switch has three positions: live power, off and generator power. The transfer switch should be installed with utmost care; otherwise it can injure or even kill someone. The generator room should be well ventilated, because carbon monoxide emissions should not be inside a closed room. Fill fuel into the generator carefully, because fuels are inflammable, especially if the generator has been running for a long time.
To make sure you are ready for the next power outage, ask a professional electrician to install a back-up generator and transfer switches in your home.