How to Alleviate Power Outages During Severe Weather

older woman looking out foggy wet window

While we may be the Sunshine State, that doesn’t mean Florida always has good weather. In Pinellas County, we have intense tropic thunderstorms and severe winds that can take down power lines leaving homes in the dark. During a power outage, backup generators can protect your appliances and home from electrical surges and broken pipes. Stay safe and comfortable with these power outage tips.

What to Do During a Power Outage

Losing power due to severe weather can cause damage to your home. Not only can extended time without electricity spoil the food in your fridge or freezer, but it can also burst your pipes, or make conditions unsafe—either too hot or too cold—for you and your family. Here are some power outage safety tips to minimize damage and keep your family safe.

  • Prevent food spoilage. In the event of a power outage, food safety is critical. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. According to the Red Cross, an unopened refrigerator can keep food at a safe temperature (below 40° F) for four hours. And a half-full, unopened freezer can keep the temperature for 24 hours—if full, it can keep the cold for 48 hours.
  • Refrain from cooking or heating with gas. It may seem like an innovative idea to bring the camping grill into the house to cook dinner, but don’t try it. The fumes can be deadly. Leave all gas and charcoal-fueled cooking outdoors where it is well-ventilated. This will help keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Unplug electronics to avoid electrical surges. During severe weather, it’s not uncommon for a surge of electricity to run through your lines. The burst of energy can fry your appliances or spark an electrical fire. Removing your expensive and delicate appliances from electrical outlets protects against damage and prevents the need for repair or replacement.
  • Keep warm or cool with a generator. In hot or cold seasons, you may need generator power to keep your home at a safe temperature.If you don’t have a whole home generator that can run your heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system, you will want to evaluate if you and your family should seek a warm or cool shelter in your community.

Related Content: How to Winterize Your Home

The Difference Between Portable and Whole Home Generators

There are two main distinctions between backup generators: Is it portable? Or is it equipped for the whole home? The answer will determine the size you may need, how it’s fueled, and where it should be installed.

  1. Power. In general, a portable generator will be less expensive and provide less power than a whole home generator. Portable generators can handle essential electronics, while whole home generators (also called standby generators) can run larger appliances, such as your HVAC system or refrigerator.
  2. Fuel. Although a whole home generator is more expensive than a portable generator, it is also more stable. Because it connects directly to your home’s natural gas line—rather than an internal tank that needs regular refueling—it produces less carbon monoxide than a portable generator. Exposure to the colorless, odorless fume can cause symptoms such as dizziness, headache, fainting or even death.

For this reason, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association) requires a list of safety regulations for operating a portable generator.

  1. Location. For safety, both generators must operate outside. Portable generators should be in a location protected from rain or flooding. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, the generator must remain at least 20 feet from windows or doors. Whole home generators should ideally be installed between your gas and electrical meters.

Advantages of Having a Whole Home Generator During a Blackout

The purpose of a portable generator is to run essential appliances during a power outage. However, a whole home generator can keep you and your family safe and comfortable while minimizing damage to your home. There are several benefits of a backup generator equipped to run your whole home.

  • Keep the lights on and the AC running. A whole home generator allows you and your family to stay comfortable during a severe thunderstorm. Keep the lights on to prevent trips or falls. You can also keep the house at a comfortable temperature by running your air conditioner or heater.
  • Ensure medicine stays at a safe temperature. If you have temperature-sensitive medicine you keep in the refrigerator, a whole home generator can put your mind at ease during a power outage, knowing that the medication doesn’t spoil from temperature fluctuations.
  • Stay hydrated. Equipping your home with a backup generator will keep your water pump working despite a power outage. You can continue to stay hydrated, keep the dishes clean, and use the bathroom and shower as usual.

Whole Home Generator Installation in Pinellas County

The strong winds that burst through Clearwater can cause power outages and a great deal of damage to your electronics. It’s important to add protection for your expensive appliances and delicate devices during severe thunderstorms. Equipping your home with a backup generator can put your mind at ease. However, simply installing a generator is only part of the process. You also want to make sure your generator works properly.

At Fast of Florida, our expert team of technicians installs and maintains backup generators to ensure they operate correctly when you need them most. You can schedule an installation or maintenance checkup with us online, or call (727) 273-7810.