Category: Power Outage

Troubleshooting a Power Outage

During a power outage, the last thing you want to do is panic. It’s always important to first troubleshoot the situation, as you want to find the exact cause and an estimated time until power is restored. Power outages can happen due to a variety of different situations. While some could just be from a simple utility provider error, others can be the result of an electrical storm or natural disaster. Therefore, troubleshooting a power outage can assist you in terms of planning, preparation, and most importantly, safety.

Roman Electric has assembled a guide detailing some troubleshooting steps during a power outage. Keep this on hand in case your Milwaukee home ever loses power.

Check Your Circuit Breakers

Sometimes, a power outage may just be a tripped circuit breaker. If you’ve suddenly lost power, first check other rooms of your home to see if they’re still receiving electricity. If so, then check your electrical panel for any tripped circuit breakers. You can easily tell when a circuit breaker is tripped when the breaker has shifted to the left and a labeling displaying “off” is shown.

Check Weather Conditions

If all circuit breakers seem to be in the “on” position, your next step is to check the weather. If you’re currently experiencing a lightning storm or heavy rain, then you may have found the culprit of the power outages. Severe, stormy weather can almost always result in a loss of power, be it for a few seconds or even a few days.

If upon checking the weather you’ve found that you’re currently experiencing a natural disaster, such as a flash flood or tornado, contact emergency authorities (911) immediately and click here for information from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

Contact Utility Provider

Although you might already have a strong feeling the weather is the culprit of your power outage, you still want to be sure by contacting your utility provider. Sometimes power outages can be the result of a power grid failure or downed power line, which is information your utility provider is usually able to share. Additionally, if your utility provider can diagnose the cause, then you should receive an estimated time until your power comes back on.

Check if Neighbors are Also Experiencing a Power Outage

Depending on the cause and severity of the power outage, your neighbor’s homes may also be affected. See if any other nearby homes are experiencing a power outage. If you notice that all their lights are off and people are standing outside, this could indicate a situation such as a power grid failure.

If at any point you feel you’ve exhausted all your options for troubleshooting a power outage, don’t give up just yet! Roman Electric is also available as a resource during a power outage. Our troubleshooting services allow one of our skilled technicians to examine and diagnose the situation with a power outage, helping to put you on track toward reclaiming your electricity. If you would like to speak with Milwaukee’s leading electrical experts, contact us at 414-369-3798 to get started.

5 Causes of Power Surges

It’s important that Milwaukee homeowners are educated on power surges. Power surges happen when there is a massive spike in your electrical system’s current. They only last about a fraction of a second, but can cause lifelong damages to any outlets or plugged-in appliances. This is due to the power surge overloading the circuits connected to your electrical system. If an appliance can’t handle the overload, it can be damaged or even completely ruined.

Now that you understand the basics of a power surge, it’s time to learn about its common causes. Knowing the causes can help you avoid them as you maintain your electrical system. Roman Electric has created a guide below explaining 5 causes of power surges.

1. Electrical Overload

As its name suggests, electrical overloads are when you attempt to draw too much power from a single circuit. This can happen when you overuse extension cords, plug in too many appliances, or use an appliance above the circuit’s amperage levels. Electrical overloads can lead to power surges as the overwhelmed circuit may receive a massive spike in current due to the excessive power being drawn.

2. Faulty Wiring

Wiring is essential for distributing electricity. And if it is damaged or the casing is exposed, a power surge is more likely to happen. Wiring that is damaged or exposed offers little electrical resistance, meaning any conductive material can spike the wire’s current to dangerous levels. Since it can be difficult to tell your wiring’s condition without getting behind your drywall, we have detailed a few signs that can indicate the situation.

  • Outlets Have Visible Burns Marks or Burning Smell
  • Vibration or Buzzing Sound Coming From Outlets
  • Circuit Breakers Tripping Frequently

If any of these signs apply to you, contact Roman Electric for further consultation.

3. Lightning

With your electrical system designed to channel electricity, a lightning strike can easily compromise it. When lightning does strike your electrical system, it has no choice but to accept the overwhelmingly excessive current. This creates a massive spike, therefore creating a power surge. This is why it’s recommended during severe storms to unplug any unused devices and appliances if you don’t have surge protection.

4. Power Outage/Blackout

During a storm or power grid failure, a power outage is an expected occurrence. But just because it’s expected doesn’t mean it’s not damaging. Once power is restored after an outage, the sudden jump in current can create a power surge, damaging any previously unpowered appliances.

How are you supposed to prevent power surges when there are so many different reasons they occur? Fortunately, you can equip your Milwaukee home with whole-home surge protection. As its name suggests, whole-home surge protection defends your entire home against power surges. This means whether the cause is an electrical overload, faulty wiring, lightning, or a power outage, whole-home surge protection will still act against power surges. Contact Roman Electric at 414-369-3798 for our surge protection services.

Related Links:

Power Outages – Ready

Homeowners: Respond to Power Outages – U.S. Department of Energy

5 Steps to Take in Case of a Power Outage

Roman-5-Steps-to-Take-in-Case-of-a-Power-Outage

A power outage can be a trying experience, especially for a busy household that relies on power for safety, health and comfort. Wisconsin weather can wreak havoc in the winter, which includes extended power outages (in addition to the negative impact ice and snow can have on homes). Whether your home experiences an outage from a weather-related problem, or something tied to your electrical system, you should always be prepared to act. The experts at Roman Electric are here to offer some practical guidance in case of a blackout. It’s always good to have a plan in place, so takes these steps in the event of an outage:

Find the Cause of the Outage

  • Outages happen for a variety of reasons ranging from winter storms to animals chewing on wires, and identifying the cause is key.
  • First, check your electrical panel for any tripped switches.
  • Contact neighbors to see if the outage is a neighborhood issue. If so, the electric company should be contacted.
  • If you see a downed power-line, report it to the authorities via non-emergency number.

Use Only Flashlights and Lamps for Light

  • During an outage, rely on flashlights and battery-operated lamps instead of candles for light.
  • Use your flashlights efficiently; don’t leave them on, and only light up the areas you need.
  • If your flashlight or lamp requires batteries that you do not have, try using batteries from other electronics such as TV remotes or digital cameras.
  • If you absolutely must use candles, then use them sparingly – and keep them from curtains, furniture or any place in the home that might catch fire.

Unplug All Electrical Appliances

  • Multiple devices and appliances may have been turned on before an outage and should be turned off before the power comes back on.
  • Unplugging your appliances prevents both electrical overloads and power surges when your lights come back on, saving your appliances from being damaged.
  • Turn down your thermostat as well to protect your HVAC system from receiving a power surge.
  • Be sure to leave one light on to let you know when power has been restored. 

Use Your Refrigerator Efficiently

  • With perishables in your fridge and freezer, you must be careful to keep them from spoiling.
  • By keeping the doors closed, refrigerators retain their cooling for about 4 hours with no power, while a freezer retains its temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Only open the fridge and freezer doors when necessary and eat perishable foods first, after which you can begin eating non-perishables.
  • You can transfer items from the fridge to the freezer to preserve them longer but do this sparingly to maintain temperature.

Stay Warm Through Clothing

  • During an outage in the cold, sweaters and blankets are your best friend.
  • Insulated blankets and thick sweaters provide optimal comfort without heating and helps lessen the severity of the Wisconsin cold.
  • Do not attempt to use charcoal or your oven as a source of heat, as this can cause fires and even lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Depending on the length of an outage, you may be required to relocate to a different area, as the severity of the cold in your home will increase the longer the power is out.

Following these steps in case of a power outage will help keep you and your family safe, especially during the worst of our winter weather. If a power outage has caused a surge and damaged any part of your electrical system, contact Roman Electric today. We are dedicated to keeping Wisconsin homeowners safe, and our complete electrical services are performed with attention to detail and superior customer service. Give us a call at 414-369-3798 to schedule an appointment and meet your trusted technicians.