Causes of Power Outages at Home
External Causes of Power Outages
An external power outage often has nothing to do with your home’s electrical wiring and is caused by an outside force. There are two main classifications:
If you’re not the only home experiencing an outage, you may be in the middle of a blackout, which occurs when a whole area is without power.
Several things may cause a blackout:
- Natural events – Storms, lightning strikes, earthquakes, falling trees, and bushfires can damage or interfere with electrical equipment.
- Animal interference – Small animals may find their way into electrical equipment and cause short circuits.
- Human error – Inexperienced arborists may trim a tree incorrectly, a vehicle may crash into a pole, or a gardener or builder may accidentally hit an underground power line while digging.
- High power demand – When the power grid experiences an unprecedented demand for power, equipment may fail.
2. Overdue Electricity Bills
If you have failed to pay your power bills, your provider may disconnect your electricity.
The fix: If you forgot to pay, just settle your bill and you should have power almost immediately. If you’re experiencing financial hardships, there are many options available, including extensions, instalment plans, and government assistance. Speak with your provider to find out what option is best for you.
Internal Causes of Power Outages
When you’re the only house without power, it’s likely due to an internal malfunction. Here are three of the most common causes:
1. Overloaded power boards
Powerboards are a great way to access more electrical outlets, but that doesn’t mean you should plug everything in. An overloaded power board can easily trip your electrical system.
The fix: Unplug anything that doesn’t require constant power, and never attempt to string power boards together.
2. Tripped fuses
If the power flickers and goes out after you’ve turned on or plugged in an appliance or device, you probably just tripped a fuse — a very common occurrence, so don’t worry!
The fix: Flip the switch back on.
3. Faulty circuit breaker
Are you constantly experiencing outages? Your circuit breaker may be damaged, and it’s possibly time for a new one.
The fix: Call in a qualified electrician to diagnose why there’s no power to your home and who can help fix the breaker if necessary.
Problems Caused by Power Outages
A power outage that lasts for a few minutes may be annoying, but some blackouts can last for hours or even days. When it comes to lengthy outages, here are some common problems you may experience.
- Spoiled food due to warming refrigerator or freezer
- Loss of files if a computer or phone dies
- No heating or cooling
- Lack of lighting if power is lost in the evening
- Inability to charge or power devices such as phones, kitchen appliances, or medical equipment
- Damages to appliances (such as desktop computers, televisions, and more) that have a sensitivity to electric fluctuations
You’ve Got the Power
When your electricity fails, the true power comes from knowing what you can do about the situation.
If your outage is caused by an internal problem, you may be able to fix it and regain your power relatively soon. If you’re experiencing a blackout, though, sometimes the best thing you can do is break out the candles and board games and enjoy some quality family time before life returns to normal.