How to Prepare for a Winter Power Outage

Worker trying to repair outside electrical lines after a winter storm.

There are few things more inconvenient or dangerous than a winter power outage. Not only are you unable to go about your days like normal, but you’re also in danger of freezing if you don’t have a backup heat source. Unfortunately, a winter power outage survival kit isn’t going to keep you and your family warm. It’s extremely important to be prepared for winter power outages, since that’s one of the main times the electrical grid experiences problems. In this article, we’re going to look at generators, transfer switches, and surge protection. Each of these components are essential to properly prepare for a power outage in winter.

Install a Generator

Having a whole house generator installed is the best and most thorough way to prep for a winter power outage. No matter how big or small your home is, there’s a generator that can meet your needs. Generators are the best and safest way to keep the lights on during an outage, and they’re so powerful you’ll forget that the powers even off.

If you’re wondering how to stay warm during a winter power outage, a whole house generator is the best way to ensure a reliable source of power. They’re powerful enough to keep your furnace, hot water heater, dryer, and anything else that you desire, running. The most important thing is to purchase one that’s large enough to meet your needs and keep you safe. Consult with a local electrician to determine the right size generator for your home.

Related Topic: What Size Generator Do I Need for My House?

Maintain Your Generator

As with most appliances, generators are only as good as the care that you give them. Generators are durable and stalwart machines, but they require regular maintenance checks. You should perform regular oil changes, power checks, and practice runs to make sure everything’s working as it should. The last thing you want is to have a power outage, only to discover that your generator isn’t working.

Automatic Vs. Manual Transfer Switch

One of the most important things to consider when having your generator installed is whether you want a manual or an automatic transfer switch. The purpose of a transfer switch is to transfer the power supply to your generator when the main power goes out. Without a transfer switch, your whole house generator is just a big piece of metal sitting in the cold.

Automatic Transfer Switch: As the name implies, an automatic transfer switch automatically switches power from the main supply to your generator when the power goes out. The switch happens so quickly that all you’ll notice is a quick blink of the lights when the power initially cuts out. The transfer switch will then automatically switch back to the main power as soon as it’s available and turn your generator off.

Manual Transfer Switch: A manual transfer switch does the same thing that an automatic one does, but with one big difference. You have to flip the transfer switch yourself when the power goes out. That means if the power goes out during the night, you’ll have to grab your flashlight and bump around in the dark until you find the switch to restore power. Manual switches are cheaper to install, but they’re also less convenient. For example, if you’re not home when the power goes out, your generator won’t kick on until someone turns it on.

Whole House Surge Protection

A whole house surge protector should be on your primary list of supplies for a power outage in winter. A surge protector is advantageous for several reasons and a power outage is one of the main ones. During a power outage, the sudden loss of power followed by the sudden surge of power being restored is enough to overload your electrical system. Without a whole house surge protector, there’s a good chance that the electronics in your home can get fried. This includes everything from TVs and microwaves to your large appliances. Nothing is really safe without a whole house surge protector.

Also, when the power goes out, the whole home system recognizes "Utility Power Loss", triggers the generator to start, and once stable voltage is present, transfers the load from utility to generator. This typically takes like a minute. Once “utility” is back and present, in the blink of an eye it transfers back.

Get Professional Assistance

If you’re ready to take the next step in preparing for winter power outage, then contact the professionals at Mr. Electric. We can handle your electrical needs from start to finish. We’ll help you choose the right size generator for your home, install it, maintain it, and make sure your electrical system is ready for the next big storm.

We can also install a transfer switch of your choice as well as a whole house surge protector if needed. We’ll make sure you know how everything works and what to expect during a power outage. Don’t get caught in the dark ever again. To get started call (844) 866-1367 or visit us online to schedule an appointment.