I don’t know why but it always seems to happen at the worst possible time, one minute you are sitting there enjoying the latest Game of Thrones episode, the next you are sitting there in the dark with no noise except for the howling wind and rain outside.
What do you do now? Well don’t panic, these are the first three things I do when the power goes off.
Remember, safety first, it is a good idea to have a torch with new batteries in an easily accessible location, most mobile phones can work as a torch but remember that you can’t recharge your phone without power so it’s better to just use the phone to find your emergency torch or candle stash. Make sure everyone is OK and is safe, so you can move on to understanding why the power is off and if you can get it back on again.
There are many reasons why your power has gone out and most of them are beyond your control. There are some things that you can do to get your power back on and save the cost of an emergency electrical call out or to work out when it might be back on.
After making sure that everyone is OK, here are three things you can do straight away.
1. Identify what you were doing at the time
Just a quick check that may be helpful later when you are trying to find out what has caused the outage. Have a think about what was happening at the time, are you the only one home and are just sitting there minding your own business or did someone just decide to put the kettle on. You want to identify what was going on at the time so that if it is a faulty appliance you have a good idea about what it might be when it comes to trying to get the power back on, maybe you can get do it yourself.
Sometimes if it is the main supply, the power will flicker before going off or go off, come back on and quickly go back off, in this case it is probably a general blackout and there isn’t much more to do but it is good to check the next steps to be sure.
2.Identify how much power is out
All homes are divided into different circuits and depending on the age and state of your home it can be relatively easy to work out what is going on. Most of the time the electrical circuits are divided into 5 main categories
Hot Water Service (HWS)
This means that you can easily check if the problem is with just one part of your home or more widespread.
Simply put, if the lights are out but the TV is still working then its just the light circuit that is the problem. If the TV, kettle or microwave is not working but the lights are still on then it is a power circuit problem. For these cases you know its not a blackout and you will need to check your switchboard to see if you can get going again(more about that in another post).
If nothing is working, then it in most cases it will be a more widespread blackout rather than a problem with your home.
3. Check outside and see if you are the only one with a problem or check with your local energy provider using their online app
If you have no power at all and it is night time, then it is easy to look outside and see if there are any lights on. Are the street lights on or off, are your neighbours outside checking as well? If it is daytime, then it’s a bit harder to check everyone else so you can either check with your neighbours directly or do what I do and check with my service provider Endeavour Energy using their free app. This way I can see if there are any unplanned outages in the area and when power is expected to be returned.
You need to know who your service provider is, they may not be who you pay your bills to, they are responsible for supplying the power infrastructure, for my area it is Endeavour Energy. If I can see it is not just my home that has no power I go straight to the app and check if they have any notifications, they are usually very quick to update so within 5 or 10 minutes I can see that they are aware of the problem and when they think it will be fixed.
At this stage if it is everyone there isn’t much more you can do other than find a book and wait for the power to come back on, however if it is just your home then there are a number of next steps to take but they are for another post.
Remember safety first,
- Think about what happened
- Is it part or all power in your home?
- Is it just you or also your neighbours and streetlights?
Integreen Electrical is a licensed Electrical Contractor in NSW Australia, if you have any questions feel free to contact us using our contact page or reach out on Facebook @IntegreenElectrical