A summer blackout may not be as dangerous as one in the winter,but it still poses hazards to your health and comfort, especially during the hotter weather of recent years. Preparing beforehand for a power outage may be the best way to get through the period, especially if it lasts a few hours or more.
- Always have enough water on hand to drink. You must drink a lot of water to stay properly hydrated. Using water to cool yourself down is also effective. Tepid showers or a wet cloth around your neck can cool you quickly. If you have a gas water heater, it will likely still work during the outage.
- Keep shelf-ready food in the pantry that doesn’t need to be cooked to eat. Staples like nut butters, crackers, energy bars and canned food keep you fed without requiring energy to cook. A gas stove will work in a summer blackout, but the heat inside the house may make it more uncomfortable. Even dry goods should be shifted to a cooler spot, perhaps the basement, if temperatures in your kitchen rise into the upper 80s and 90s.
- Use an instant read thermometer to test the temperature of the food in the refrigerator once the power comes back on. If it’s over 40 degrees, it’s probably not safe to eat.
- Use your basement or half-basement as a place to sleep if it’s habitable. Cold air falls and the temperatures underground are much cooler.
- Have extra batteries on hand for flashlights or portable radios. A cell or smart phone charger that runs off your vehicle keeps you in touch. Never charge your batteries with your car running inside an attached garage, even with the door open. It can bring in carbon monoxide.
- Turn off your HVAC equipment and other electronics. The power may spike as it comes back on, causing electrical damage. You can also protect this equipment with whole-house surge protectors or individual surge protectors for each of your appliances.
If you’d like to learn more about surge protectors for your air conditioner or other appliances, contact Overland Park Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided HVAC
services for the Greater Kansas City area since 1983.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).