Thursday, February 05, 2015

Blackouts Are About to Be Common: How to Get Ready

Electricity is a lot like air in that you probably only think about it the moment when you don’t have any. And while the planet isn’t on the verge of having an unbreathable atmosphere in the foreseeable future, some reports suggest we may soon have to deal with blackouts with alarming regularity before too long. The steady rise in global population coupled with the fact that an increasing percentage of that population will be using modern electronics means there will be an unprecedented strain on the grid, resulting in lots of blackouts.

These blackouts, of course, don’t just mean you’ll have to settle for reading a book by candlelight rather than watching a movie on Netflix. No, the results will be far from a minor inconvenience. Blackouts happening as frequently as experts predict can throw systems as diverse as water purification and traffic management out of whack.

That being said, just by reading this article you’re already a little bit ahead of those people who will only start thinking about this problem when the lights start cutting out with some regularity. Now, when things are relatively stable, is the best time to prepare for the time when you won’t be able to rely on that wall outlet working every time you want it to. Here a few tips to get you ready.

Make Sure You Have Surge Protectors

Blackouts are one of the biggest causes of voltage spikes, which can seriously damage your electronics. It’s still smart to have surge protectors right now, but when blackouts are a common occurrence rather than a relatively rare thing resulting from storms or other natural disasters, they’ll be indispensable.

Keep Cash On Hand

Online banking has made everybody’s lives much more convenient, but if all of your money is tied up in an inaccessible bank account when you need to be able to buy key supplies, you’re going to be up the proverbial creek. Barring a total collapse of the U.S. government, cold hard cash is going to be especially valuable when a big percentage of people can’t get to their money.

Store Frozen Water in Your Freezer

You don’t want all your meat to spoil and all of your ice cream to melt every time you lose power. If you keep jugs of frozen water in the back of your freezer, the ice will keep everything in there cold for longer when the freezer is no longer working. Just remember to open and close the door as little as possible to keep the cold air in. If you have space for more than one, move one to the refrigerator the minute you lose power to create the same cooler effect there as well.

Consider Investing in a Generator

As soon as these blackouts become a part of daily life, you can bet generators are going to get a heck of a lot more popular and therefore a heck of a lot more expensive. This, of course, means the time to look into these potentially lifesaving machines is now. Here’s a good place to start if you’re only interested in knowing the ins and outs of renting a generator and aren’t ready to buy one yet. However, remember not to run a generator inside your home; the fumes can cause a buildup of CO2.


Alicia grew up in Alaska where she earned her hunter and wilderness safety license at age 13. She now works as a content coordinator for a tech company in Pennsylvania and blogs in her free time at Homey Improvements.

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