During a power outage, filling your bathtub with water might not be the first thing on your mind, but it’s a smart move. In this blog, we’ll discuss why you should fill the bathtub with water during a power outage. Additionally, we’ll also share a list of some useful things you can do during such outages.
Does City Water Still Work When Power is Out?
Yes, if there’s a power outage, homes usually have access to city water. However, some apartment buildings and condos, especially in cities, might lose water supply without power. During an outage, you can still flush the toilet, but appliances like washers and dishwashers won’t work since they need power. On the bright side, your kitchen and bathroom faucets should still function normally.
Now, after learning that the city water still works when the power is out, let’s see why should you fill the bathtub with water during power outages.
Why Fill Bathtub With Water During Power Outage?
During a power outage, filling your bathtub with water can be helpful for different reasons:
- Water Shortage: When the power goes out, the city water supply may stop, causing a lack of water in your home.
- Contaminated Water: Natural disasters like floods can make water unsafe to use during a power outage.
- Well Water: If you rely on a well for water, the pump won’t work during an outage.
Filling the bathtub with water can provide a backup source for flushing toilets and washing until the power is restored. But remember, don’t drink the water from the bathtub unless it’s treated and purified. Moreover, sealing the bathtub drain is advisable to prevent the water from draining out. This is why you should fill the bathtub with water during a power outage. After learning this, your next question must be: Should I fill my bathtub with water during a winter storm? Let’s understand this in the next segment.
If interested, you can also check out Brownout Vs Blackout Vs Power Interruption-What’s the Difference?
Should I Fill My Bathtub With Water During a Winter Storm?
You already know the reasons why to fill a bathtub with water during a power outage, but is it required to fill your bathtub with water during a winter storm?
Well, yes, if you hear about a strong storm coming, don’t forget to fill your bathtub with water. During hurricanes or storms, the water supply can be compromised, making it unsafe to drink or stopping it from coming out of your taps. Filling your bathtub is a wise move, as it provides a backup water source for various needs during the storm:
- Drinking: If you have a water purification filter, use it first. Otherwise, the bathwater can be a last resort for drinking. You can line the tub with plastic bags to store water for drinking, as recommended by the National Weather Service.
- Washing: Use cups or buckets to carry water from the tub for washing hands, bodies, and dishes.
- Flushing the toilet: If your sinks have no water, the toilet won’t work either. Pouring a large amount of water directly into the toilet can force a flush in these situations.
Additionally, consider filling your top-opening washing machine and getting extra gallons of drinking water if possible. If your home relies on a private well, filling the bathtub is crucial, as the well may become contaminated after the storm. This advice applies to all households, but extra caution is needed for those with small children, as a deep basin of standing water can be a drowning hazard for them. Now, let’s see what to do during a power outage.
Also Read: How to Deal with AGL Power Outage
What to Do During a Power Outage?
Since you are aware of why to fill the bathtub with water during a power outage, let’s go through this checklist of what to do during a power outage:
1. Make Sure the Power is Really Out
When you experience a power outage, verify that the electricity is indeed off. Identifying common reasons for outages can help you understand the situation better.
A) Check Your Main Electric Panel
Look for any tripped breakers or blown fuses. These safety features prevent circuits from overheating and causing fires or damage to devices. If you find a tripped breaker, try to identify the cause of the problem. Before resetting the breaker, disconnect any devices connected to that circuit. If the same circuit breaker trips frequently, it’s best to call an electrician for assistance. They will help you detect the cause of a circuit breaker going bad.
B) Observe the Surroundings
If you don’t find any tripped breakers, the issue might be more widespread. Take a look outside to see if street lights are out or if other houses in the neighborhood are also experiencing a power outage. Communicate with your neighbors to see if they are facing similar problems.
By following these steps, you can determine the extent and possible causes of the power outage, allowing you to take appropriate actions or seek professional help if needed.
2. Contact Your Local Utility Company
If you experience a power outage, the first step is to contact your local utility company. This is the essential action to take when the power goes out. In some deregulated energy markets, you might purchase electricity from licensed Retail Electric Providers (REPs).
To know whom to call during an outage, look for the TDSP (Transmission & Distribution Service Providers), EDU (Electric Distribution Utilities), or TDU (Transmission and Distribution Utility) responsible for your area. These acronyms may seem confusing, but they all refer to the utility company that generates and distributes electricity in your region.
If you are a Gexa Energy user, please take a look at how to deal with Gexa Energy power outage.
3. Unplug Your Appliances
When facing a power outage, one of the first actions to prioritize is safeguarding your valuable appliances and electronics. Whether the outage lasts for a few minutes or several days, the risk of damage remains the same. To protect your appliances from potential harm, treat the situation as you would during a brownout. Turn off or unplug all appliances for the following reasons:
- Power surges can damage sensitive equipment like TVs, computers, and tablets when the power returns after an outage.
- It’s easy to forget which appliances were in use during the outage, like stoves or irons, leading to safety hazards when the power is restored, especially if you’re not at home.
- If all the appliances in your home switch on simultaneously when the power returns, it can strain the electrical system and potentially trip the breakers.
To prevent these issues, be cautious when the power is restored, unplug sensitive equipment before the power comes back, and gradually reconnect appliances to avoid overloading the electrical system.
4. Keep Your Refrigerator and Freezer Closed
One important step to take during a power outage is to save the food from getting stale. To do this, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Opening these doors allows the cool air to escape, causing your food to spoil more quickly.
Here’s what you can do to maintain the quality of your food during the outage:
- Refrigerated Food: You can safely consume refrigerated food for up to 4 hours after the power goes out. Beyond that time, it’s best to pack perishable items with ice in a cooler to keep them below 40°F (4°C).
- Frozen Items: In a full freezer, frozen items can remain safe for about 48 hours without power. However, if your freezer is only half full, this time reduces to approximately 24 hours.
By following these guidelines, you can minimize food waste and ensure the safety of your perishable items during a power outage.
Also Read: Will a 750 Watt Inverter Run a Refrigerator?
5. Using Flashlights for Light During a Power Outage
When the power goes out at night, you’ll need a reliable light source. While candles are an option, they pose fire risks and can make hot weather even more uncomfortable. A safer choice is to use flashlights and battery-operated lights or lanterns.
You can even get light bulbs with built-in batteries that stay charged in your light sockets until needed. These can provide up to 6 hours of light during an outage. To be prepared, always keep extra batteries handy so you can use your lights for an extended period if needed. You can also use a solar flashlight, like the one mentioned in our blog 22 best solar products for everyday life.
6. Ensure the Safety and Comfort of Your Family
- Prepare for Power Outages: Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do when the power goes out, as weather-related events often cause outages.
- Address Extreme Temperatures: During power outages, extreme cold or heat can be a risk. Gather your family in the most comfortable part of your home. In summer, it could be the basement, while in winter, an inside room with fewer windows and drafts may be better.
- Dress Appropriately: Dress in suitable clothing to stay comfortable during the outage. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and eat carefully to avoid foodborne illnesses.
- Special Consideration: Pay extra attention to the needs of infants, toddlers, older family members, and those with medical conditions to ensure their safety and well-being.
7. Practicing Generator Safety During a Power Outage
Using power generators can be a helpful solution during a power outage, as they keep essential appliances running and power critical medical equipment. However, it’s essential to use them safely, especially gas- and diesel-powered generators, as they can be hazardous if not handled properly. Even solar or wind-powered units require caution. Here are some safety measures to consider:
- Avoid Indoor Use: Never operate a gas- or diesel-powered generator inside your home, garage, or closed spaces. Doing so can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which is extremely dangerous.
- Direct Connection: If the generator is portable, connect it directly to the devices or appliances you need, rather than plugging it into the home’s electrical system.
- Allow Cooling Time: Let the generator cool down before refueling to prevent overheating.
- Keep Dry: Place the generator in a dry area, away from water, to avoid electrical hazards.
- Handle Solar-Powered Units with Care: Even with solar-powered units, be cautious not to damage the battery, as it can leak harmful toxins.
- Stay within Limits: When using any generator, don’t try to draw more power than it’s rated to supply. Overloading can cause overheating and fire risks.
By following these safety guidelines, you can make the most of your generator while keeping your family and property safe during a power outage.
Also Read: Charging Battery Bank with Generator
8. Staying Connected During a Power Outage
Communication is crucial during a power outage for your comfort, safety, planning, and peace of mind. Remember that home phones, WiFi, and even your cell phone might need electricity. To conserve your cell phone battery, use it wisely. Walkie-talkies can be helpful to connect with family and neighbors. Additionally, having a battery-operated or wind-up radio is recommended to stay informed and connected to the news. With this, you know what you need to do during a power outage.
In times of power outages, having a filled bathtub can be a practical and valuable precaution. It can address water shortages, contaminated water, and well pump failures, ensuring you have water for crucial tasks until the power is restored. For more amazing FAQs, explore our specified section for the same.