10 Steps You Need To Take When Your Power Goes Out

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Power outages are a fact of life, and every homeowner will have to deal with one sooner rather than later. Whether it’s a blown fuse, a power outage across the block, or inclement weather, your home’s power is not 100 percent immune to natural causes or every day wear and tear.

Follow the 10 steps below and you and your family will be safe and ready no matter how long the outage lasts.

1. Check the Circuit Breakers

Always check the circuit breakers first. All breakers should be on the “on” side, but if a breaker tripped, it would have moved to the “off” side. Make sure all breakers are in the same position. If all the breakers are in the “on” position, turn off the main breaker and then switch it back “on.” If all this sounds like gibberish, you may need to call an electrician.

2. Check With Neighbors

If your power is still off, chances are, there was an outage in the neighborhood. Go outside and check. If you see other houses with no light, chances are, there was a power outage. Either way, go knock on a few doors to make sure. If they do have power, an electric line may have gone down. If you see it, do not go near it. It could still be live. Call your local electric company if you see a downed line.

3. Call Power Company

If you don’t see a downed line and your power is still out, call your local power company and let them know of the outage. Chances are they already know but either way, they can give you an update. With the power out, you will have to use your cell phone. Make sure it’s charged and only use it when you must.

4. Stay Warm

Depending on your location or time of year, it may start to get cold. Make sure you stay warm and bundle up. Dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves if need be. If you’re really cold, you could also take a warm shower. Hot water heaters can stay warm for hours even after a power outage. Additionally, this would be a great time to utilize that wood-burning fireplace. Hopefully, you stored some extra wood in case this outage last awhile. You could also use your stove.

5. Preserve Food

Try and avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer to preserve the cold air in there, but if you must, remove all perishable food items. The air in the fridge will remain cold for a limited time after the power outage. The more you expose it to room temperature, the faster it will warm up and the faster your food will spoil.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Food Preparation

Always have canned and non-refrigerated foods available. If you must, you can cook with an old campfire stove, but hopefully, you have other readily available foods. Many gas stoves use electric igniters, but you can still light them with a match and cook your food. However, be very careful as you are likely working with very little light.

7. Pile Up Water

As many of you know, water is more important than food. Many homeowners have numerous bottles of water available, but others will have to use the resources available. If you can, fill your bathtub with water. Fill your sinks. Fill anything you can in case this outage last awhile. Water supplies may go out, which is why it’s important to always have alternate sources of water available. For more, check out the CDC’s tips for water safety during a power outage.

8. Unplug Major Appliances

Do not unplug the fridge. However, you can unplug the microwave, surge protectors providing power to multiple electronics, and so on. When the power comes back on, a power surge could damage some of your major appliances if they are plugged in.

9. Don’t Be Glued to Your Home

Just because your power is out doesn’t mean that’s the case all around town. Go out and grab a hot meal or stay cool in a local movie theatre. As long as the fireplace and stove are not on, your home will be in one piece when you return.

10. Sleep

One of the best ways to pass the time is by going to sleep. If temperatures are adequate, you should sleep just as you would any other night. Who knows—when you wake up, your power could be up and running.


While they’re not common, every homeowner goes through a power outage or two. As long as you take the necessary steps above, you can rest assure that you and your family will be safe until the power comes back.

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