Preparing for a summertime power outage caused by a storm or from excessive demand for electricity will help you protect your home and health. Staying cool, keeping hydrated, assuring personal safety and food safety, and protecting home appliances and electronics need to be addressed before the outage occurs.
  1. Staying cool - An increased reliance on air conditioning means that you're likely to become uncomfortable quickly during an outage. Small, battery-operated fans will help cool you, are inexpensive and quiet. Each family member should have such a fan, especially if the outage lasts into the night, when sleeping in warm temperatures can be uncomfortable.
  2. Keeping hydrated - In the event municipal water delivery is interrupted or becomes contaminated, it's a good idea to have at least one gallon of drinking water on hand for each family member. When your home warms, each family member needs to drink more water to avoid heat stress.
  3. Assuring personal safety - Have fresh batteries on hand for your flashlights and learn how to open the automatic garage door manually.
  4. Maintaining food safety - It's always good to have an extra cooler that you can fill with fresh or frozen food in the event the power outage lasts more than a few hours. Any frozen or refrigerated food that rises to 40 degrees F or higher should be discarded.
  5. Appliance safety - Identify the breakers in the breaker box so that any responsible family member knows which to turn off. When power is restored, it's common for it to surge through the lines coming into your home. These surges can burn out low-voltage components inside appliances and electronics, including cooling systems, rendering them inoperable. Show family members where and how to unplug the surge protectors for electronics. If you're away from home a good deal, consider having a whole-house surge protector installed or individual units for those appliances that are costly to repair or replace.
For more information about protecting your home in the event of a power outage, contact Gilman Heating and Cooling. We've provided trusted HVAC services for the Richmond, Ashland, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover and Glen Allen areas since 1917.

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