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Most significant Effects of Power Outages On Homes and Businesses

Effects of Power Outages On Homes

A power outage puts a lot at stake in our increasingly connected world. Loss of power is a significant challenge for homeowners and businesses that rely on technology and power to create products and serve clients.

While the first thing that usually comes to mind when thinking about a power outage is no lights, there’s a lot more that comes with electricity loss.

So how are homes and businesses impacted the most when disaster strikes, and there’s an outage? We’ll cover the main challenges residents and companies must deal with in the face of a power outage and how restoration experts can help solve these problems.

No Air Conditioning Or Heating

Beyond losing lights, homeowners’ most prominent issue is losing central air conditioning or heating power. Depending on the time of year, this could mean a few things.

The home’s internal temperature can rise quickly if the outage happens in the hot summer months.  A rapid temperature rise can potentially cause heatstroke and is also dangerous for family pets.

Outages that happen in the winter months cause temperatures indoors can drop. This can increase the risk of freezing pipes which can cause them to crack and burst. You’ll likely rely on camping stoves, gas ovens, and barbecues for food and warmth. Used too often, however, this equipment can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Lack of Water

Not everyone loses water when they lose power, but those who rely on a well pump for their water may notice the taps go dry once the power is out. For this reason, it’s always important to keep an emergency supply of bottled water on hand. Relying on an electric water heater will mean you can’t boil water for cleanliness until the power is back on, so that’s not a solid backup plan.

While this means there’s no clean water to drink, it also means there’s no water for things like washing hands, showering, or even flushing the toilet.

Read more: Does hot water work without electricity? 

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Refrigeration Loss

A power outage means there’s no more electricity pumping into the refrigerator, which keeps everything cold. When this happens, it’s critical not to open the fridge or the freezer unless necessary. When the fridge door is opened, more cold air is let out, and more refrigeration is lost. To keep your food fresh as long as possible, keep your goods locked up tight in the refrigerator until you need them.

Lost Power to Medical Equipment

One of the most essential parts of life for many people is put at risk when the power goes out. People with disabilities or medical conditions that require equipment like oxygen pumps, motorized stairlifts, C-PAP machines, and the like can quickly move into a state of emergency when these tools no longer work. In these cases, it’s best to keep a backup energy supply on hand like a generator. You should also have contact information for nearby medical facilities should your generator not work.

Electronics Damage

Computers, TVs, and appliances can all experience an electrical surge once the power comes back on, damaging the equipment permanently. To avoid frying the motherboard of your favorite electronics, unplug all of them from their electricity sources until the power is back on. Once it’s safe to do so, you can plug them back in one at a time to preserve their condition.

 

Effects of Power Outages On Businesses

Homeowners aren’t the only ones who suffer. Commercial businesses rely on power daily to run supply chains, manufacture critical products, and serve customers who need help. Without electricity, a company immediately faces outage costs.

Revenue Loss

When a lack of power hinders a business from delivering a product or service, that’s a significant loss of revenue that may take a while to recover from, if recovery is possible. When their regular providers cannot meet their needs, customers may move on to find a new provider that can. That reduces revenue immediately and can also reduce future revenue by losing customers for good.

After damage like that, rebuilding trust in your customer base can take time, and the costs for that effort can add up quickly.

Damaged Equipment or Inventory

If a grocery store loses power, they have the potential to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of product. When a manufacturing plant faces a power outage, electrical equipment can be damaged when the power is turned back on. If a pharmacy is in the same boat, there’s the potential for a significant loss of medication, which can negatively affect many healthcare costs. Large manufacturing plants typically have backup generators to help during power cuts, but they can’t rely on them forever.

Decreased Productivity

On a more granular level, business activities are heavily limited when the power is out. Office workers won’t be able to log on to the internet or even run machines to get work done internally. A call support center won’t be available to support anyone, and many job roles will be effectively rendered useless until power is restored.

Ineffective Customer Care

On that note, customer service can sharply drop off when a power outage hits. Without power, you can’t even communicate to your customers why you’re unable to help them, so they’re left to come to their own assumptions about what happened. This may turn them off from the business entirely, leading them to end up with a competitor who still has power.

Data Loss

When big data centers lose power, they can lose access to silos of critical information for large enterprises and small businesses. Many data centers use cloud computing resources to reduce the impact, but the frequency of outages is on the rise. The cost of data center downtime is staggering, causing an average loss of upwards of $5,000 per hour.

Supply Chain Ripples

A power outage can lead to a domino effect when one business is affected by a power outage. B2B (Business to Business) companies that rely on each other to create a strong power chain can quickly come crumbling down. Think about it. If a manufacturer’s equipment is down, they won’t provide the promised inventory. The logistics company that was supposed to transport the stock can no longer manage and route their drivers through software. The grocery store waiting for that truckload of inventory had to throw out all of its frozen and refrigerated products, making the demand for that expected delivery even higher.

This butterfly effect can be seen in virtually any industry when a widespread power outage occurs.

Conclusion

A power outage is no joke. It doesn’t just mean eating dinner by candlelight and reading a book instead of watching a movie on the TV. For a homeowner, it can also mean burst pipes, which lead to water damage. It could also ruin perishable food and crash valuable electronics that aren’t protected.

Businesses get hurt, too. They instantly lose productivity, let their customers down, and create a negative domino effect for other companies not directly impacted by the outage.

If your home or business has suffered fire or water damage from a recent power outage, the best action is to rely on the experts to get you back to normal as quickly as possible. You can always call the restoration experts at All Dry USA to get your home or building back in shape after disaster strikes.

Ben Suiskind
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