Even with the best electrical grid available to provide power, power outages can still occur in homes. You’ve almost certainly experienced loss of electricity to at least one house you’ve lived in—maybe for a few hours, maybe for days.
Although you can take steps to avoid losing power in your house because of malfunctions with your own electrical system, there are many external causes you cannot avoid. In these cases, your best tool is preparation, such as having a whole-house generator installed as a backup and having surge protection in place to prevent damage to appliances due to a catastrophic event (weather, downed power lines) creating an outage.
In this post, we’re going to explain in more depth the types of power outages and their sources.
Blackouts, Brownouts, and Permanent Faults
These are the three most common kinds of power outages homes encounter, and each has a different cause.
- Blackout: You might think of a blackout as any time a house loses power. But a real blackout means a complete loss of power to general area. Blackouts usually occur because of damage to power plants from things such as inclement weather and lightning strikes. These are the power outages that can last for days at a time because they’re difficult to fix—and they’re the reason we recommend installing a backup generator.
- Brownout: This is when electrical voltage or the overall power supply drops. It’s like losing water pressure in your house: the water is still coming from the taps, but not much of it. A house won’t lose full power, but it might experience poor performance from several appliances that suddenly don’t seem to have enough “juice.”
- Permanent Fault: When only a small area, or just one home, loses power, it’s likely a permanent fault. This isn’t as scary as it sounds: it just means a power line is down somewhere. The power company can usually locate the trouble and restore power quickly.
Sources of Outages
When it comes to power outages, the number one concern for us here in Western New York is weather. When large storms strike, whether from a winter blizzard to large spring thunderstorm, the strain on the grid can become so powerful that a blackout will occur. Lightning is also a source of trouble during storms, causing power stations to go down. Storms are also responsible for permanent faults by downing power lines. Heatwaves are another weather condition that can lead to blackouts—the power drain from ACs can overload the grid. Other sources for outage include human errors and animals. (Yes, squirrels can sometimes wreck power lines.)
By the way, New York is the state with the third-highest number of power outages in the country. We encounter more than 1,700 each year. Many of our power outages are due to Nor’easter storms that knock down power lines.
If you need electrical repair in Cheektowaga, NY because of a power outage or you want our help with generators, surge protection, panel replacement, or other vital services to help against outages, call our electricians.
Scherer Electric Is Western New York’s Favorite Electrician! Call us 24/7 and always talk to a real person.