June 3, 2015 Newsletter
June 3, 2015 Eco Electric Newsletter
Preparing for a Blackout
Electrical blackouts can be scary especially if homeowners aren’t prepared for them. Blackouts, extended power outages, can be caused by a variety of circumstances, but most often storms cause blackouts. Read on for tips on how to be prepared to handle a blackout.
A few basic things to always have on hand are:
- Battery-operated radio
- Alternative cooking source
If a severe storm is heading to the area and an extended blackout is a possibility, it is a good idea to stock up some extras like:
- Extra water
- Non-perishable food
After homeowners determine that the power outage isn’t solely affecting their home by checking the breaker box, electrical components, and homes around them, they should switch devices into the “off” setting and unplug them from the outlets. This can prevent surges and damaged electronics when the power comes back on.
Bringing out the candles and matches used to be the norm when a power outage hit, but they are now thought of as more of a safety hazard than a help. Knocked over candles can cause a fire, creating a whole new problem. Flashlights and lanterns work better, and pose less safety issues.
Stay informed by listening to the radio or calling the local power company for updates. Being prepared for a blackout could really help in an emergency situation.
Installing Night Lights
Navigating through a house at night can be dangerous and cause injuries for those who aren’t careful. Parents and children often need to get up in the middle of the night for a variety of reasons such as a bathroom trip, glass of water, or a crying child.
Instead of walking through a pitch-black house, install nightlights to help with visibility. Leaving bathroom or hallway lights on can keep people awake and waste energy, unnecessarily increasing the power bill.
There are many different options when it comes to nightlights. One new option is to hardwire them into an electrical outlet. These replacement outlets have the nightlight built right in to the outlet keeping them flat against the wall surface. Put them in the hallway and bathrooms or whichever path is most used at night and they won’t be in the way during the day.
Dead outlets are frustrating, especially when the solution turns out to be simple. Many homeowners or renters think outlets in their new dwelling just don’t work, until a few months down the road they flip on a light switch that the outlets are connected to. To avoid this, test outlets to see if they have power.
Testing outlets for power can be a dangerous task. Proper tools and knowledge of equipment should be acquired before attempting this. An outlet tester is a device that can indicate if the outlet has power, if it is grounded, and whether or not wires are reversed.
Simple and cost-effective, the device just needs to be plugged into the outlet in question. It will show a pattern of lights, indicating the problem or lack thereof. It has a legend printed on it describing what the light patterns mean.
If the outlet tester indicates there is a problem with the outlet, give Eco Electric a call. They can double-check the problem and help fix it.
Summer Project for Kids
With the kids out of school for the summer, they’re going to need something to keep them busy. A fun and educational project to do with them is making a potato powered light bulb. It’s pretty easy and can help teach kids about electricity. All they need is:
- One large potato
- Two pennies
- Two zinc-plated nails
- Three pieces of copper wire
- A small lightbulb or LED
1. Cut the potato in half, and then make a small incision in each half, large enough to put the penny inside.
2. Wrap each penny with a copper wire before sticking them inside the potato.
3. Take one of the nails and wrap the third copper wire around it and stick it in one of the potato halves.
4. Use the wire connected to the penny that is in the potato half with the nail and wrap it around the second nail, sticking it into the other potato half.
5. Connect the two loose ends of the copper wires to the light bulb and watch it light up!