Summer is well and truly here in Australia. With temperatures reaching the 40’s across the country, there is a lot of talk about how to keep cool during a heatwave.
The simplest and most effective answer is to find solace in your houses air conditioning, but what happens if you don’t have that option from a power outage?
Electrical outages from heatwaves have been a serious problem over the past few years in Australia, with over 200,000 Melbourne residents and 30,000 properties in South Australia having been without power, between 45-49.5 degree Celsius during Jan 2019 alone.
With our Summers getting drier, and hotter every year, Australians are at greater risk of power outages due to heat.
If not prepared for these heatwaves, residents are at risk of heat related injury or even death.
These heat related health issues are preventable with the right amount of planning, preparation, as well as having the following tips and tricks up your sleeve, in the case that your power ever does fail during a summer heat wave.
Why is it Common for the Power to Go Out During a Heatwave?
Before we get into the tips and tricks, it’s important to understand why it is common for the electricity goes out during a heatwave in the first place.
The simplest way to explain this is that on warmer days, people tend to use more electricity by running air conditioners and fans, on top of using their other everyday appliances.
When too many homes are generating too much electricity, the electrical generators that feed these areas can begin to experience overloading and shut down, or in the worst-case scenario, explode.
This is just one scenario in which your home could end up in the dark during a heat wave.
The second way that a power outage occurs is when power companies do something called “load shedding”.
This is essentially a forced power outage by these companies, to prevent the above scenario of the entire generator breaking down and causing more damage.
This is the most common reason for a power outage during a heatwave, and typically does not last too long.
While this type of power outage is planned and not long term, it is still inconvenient and can cause serious issues if residents are unprepared.
The Power is Out, What Do You Do Now?
So, you’re sitting at home in your Air conditioning on a 44-degree Summer day, and your power suddenly goes out.
Here are a few things that you can do to beat the heat and keep yourself, your loved ones, and your home safe:
1) Don’t panic: The first thing and most important thing is to not to stress out. Getting yourself worked up, is going to increase your heart rate and body temperature, and when you don’t know how long you’ll be without power that can be a bad combination.
2) Give your local power company a call: If you can, call your power company to find out what the issue could be, and report your outage. Chances are they are already aware of the problem but may be able to provide you with additional details and a timeframe that your power will be back up.
3) Stay hydrated: Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during this time and avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverage if possible. These types of drinks will cause dehydration, so try and stick with water till the heat dips down.
4) Keep your Fridge closed: If your power is out, minimise opening your fridge and freezer. You have about 4 hours in your fridge and 48 hours in the freezer before food will begin to go off. Don’t open either unless absolutely necessary and look at having an eski with ice at the ready in case you need to start transferring some of your perishables over to it.
5) Wear loose fitting, light clothing: Stay away from tight or thick clothes that will stick to your body. Wear light cottons, singlets and other light items that will breath and keep your body temperature down.
6) Throw on a wet bandana: Take a wet cloth or bandana and hang it around your neck. Its refreshing and will provide some relief from the heat of the day.
7) Seal off any windows and Keep doors close to warm rooms: Cover any windows to seal them off and prevent additional sunlight from coming in, which heats the house up more. Make sure you also close any doors to the warmer areas of your house, to prevent more heat from reaching the cooler areas.
8) Open your windows at night: If your power outage goes into the night, open all the window in your house so the heat can escape. This will help cool your house down and make sleeping a bit more comfortable. Make sure that you close them as soon as you wake up in the morning, to trap the cool air in.
9) Sleep downstairs: If you have an upstairs, try to avoid it for the duration of the power outage. Heat always goes up, and therefor the upper floor of your home will be especially warm during this time. Block this area off by shutting a door and try and sleep some wear in the lower floor of your house.
Now that you have a few things that you should do to stay cool and calm during a heatwave, here are a few things you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t Cook Inside
- Try to Avoid Hot foods
- Don’t do any strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day
- Don’t Eat during the hottest part of the day
- Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine
- If you’re overheated, don’t throw yourself into cold water
- Can these power outages be prevented?
Until there are serious advancements in our electrical grid systems the chances are that they will keep happening.
What Can You Do to Prevent Power Outages From Occurring in the Future?
However, you can help improve the chances of them happening less by installing energy efficient appliances and watching the electrical intake in your home.
With advancements in electrical installations, there are plenty of ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home and help reduce the overall overload on the generators.
Potentially helping reduce the number of power outages during these Summer heatwaves.
The team at KNP electrics have extensive knowledge and experience in ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home, reducing your bills and electrical foot print.
For more information on how we can help you with creating a more energy efficient home, visit our website or contact us today.