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Why Do We Experience Power Cuts?

Electrical power has become an essential part of life all over the world in the past two centuries. A power shutdown has the ability to shut down cities and put a stop to several services like healthcare, transport, transportation and so on. Although electricity boards across the world have tried to eliminate any form of power shortage or power cuts, they tend to happen. In some places, it is experienced more frequently than in other places.  This is why backup power is made available in different industries like healthcare, businesses, manufacturing, mining and so on.

Rather than looking for an alternative power source during a power cut, it is essential to understand the possible reasons for power failure and find a solution to these issues. Identifying the root of the problem can help protect people from the devastating effects of unexpected power failure.

Different Causes Behind Power Shortage

  • Weather-Related

With climate change being a current threat rather than something far off in the future, the planet has been witnessing unexpected natural weather phenomena like rain, lightning, ice, snow, wind and even dust storms. The changing climate patterns had made it next to impossible to prevent power failure, especially during floods and thunderstorms. The damage caused by heavy rainfall is enough to lead to a power shortage. Water has the ability to cause short circuits and destroy electrical equipment like switchboards, circuits, and wires. People living in high humidity areas need to invest in special sealed circuit protection devices.

The dust brought forth by unexpected dust storms can also wreak havoc on electrical systems by causing short circuits and power failures. In case you live in an area where dust storms are common, you need to invest in sealed circuit boxes that can help protect your equipment and even prevent power failures in the event of a dust storm. Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent power failures due to major natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes tsunamis, volcano eruption and so on.

  • Short Circuit

Another commonly seen cause behind power failures is short circuits. A short circuit is observed to occur when the electric current travels in the opposite of its intended path in the electrical circuit. It causes excessive electric current in the circuit leading to damage, explosion or even fire. In fact, reports show that short circuits are one of the leading reasons for electrical fires across the globe.

A short circuit is often caused due to the sudden introduction of an external conducting material like water onto the circuit. This sudden influx of extra electric current leads to a short circuit. In order to safeguard your electrical equipment from short circuits, you need to make sure that you install high-quality materials that meet the codes and requirements set by the law. Although the initial installation might seem like a heavy investment, it will save you from potential losses caused by short circuits. It also offers you peace of mind and additional security.

Wires that are used in your electrical system need to be of the highest quality. This will prevent electrical circuits from overloading. Experts advise installing high-quality fuses and circuit breakers so that the power is immediately disconnected as soon as a short circuit is detected. This protects your equipment and also prevents electrical fires from getting started.

  • Brownouts

A brownout can be described as a drop in the electrical power supply. It causes a drop in the voltage, which results in your lights turning dim. Although brownouts cannot be described as power cuts, they can still cause damage to your electrical equipment. If your main power supply is seemingly erratic, this can lead to frequent brownouts, which will play havoc with your electrical devices and cause them to break down before they reach the end of their lifespan. In such cases, installing a backup power system will help protect your equipment from unexpected brownouts.

  • Blackouts

The term blackout is used to refer to a complete power loss in a geographical area. It is one of the more severe power outages seen across the world. Restoring power after a blackout depends on the root cause of the power loss. Recently a major blackout was reported in North America due to a problem in the power grid. It resulted in entire cities shutting down as a result of the power cut. If the cause behind the blackout is complex it might take a longer time than expected to get the power back up and running.  Check out some great tips which will make it easier to get through a power outage if you do not have a standby generator.

  • Power Surges

A power surge can be described as a sudden increase in the voltage. This can lead to sudden heating of electrical equipment and even lead to the loss of expensive and critical electrical equipment. Fortunately, using surge protectors and circuit breakers are a great way to protect your equipment from unexpected power surges. In fact, Karen Lao from Kruger Power says that inverter generators are better at providing safe energy for electronics such as cell phones, laptops, and tablets.According to the experts in the industry, surge protection needs to be integrated within the main power switchboard. This helps protect your entire electrical system from power surges. 

  • Electrical Trees

Electrical tress is a phenomenon that is common among high power installations like transformers, high voltage power cables, substations and so on.  According to the experts in the industry, any mechanical defects or impurities in the equipment used in high voltage installation can cause partial electric discharges. This builds up into a tree-like pattern over time. If left undetected, it can degrade the equipment and ultimately cause it to result in a complete breakdown.  This is why high-quality materials need to be used in high power installation. Regular maintenance is considered mandatory to detect any issues like electrical tress before it causes a major breakdown of the power supply. 

Have You Planned For The Upcoming Winter Season?

With weather being unpredictable as a result of climate change, it has become critical to be prepared for long and harsh winters every year. So the first point is to decide which generator to pick for the winter season to make sure that you are ready for the next winter season. This includes ensuring that your standby generator is ready in case of power outages. With freezing weather resulting in major blackouts over large geographical areas, it has become essential to have a standby generator ready to go at your home and at your place of business. Here are a few tips from experts to gear up for winter season:

  • Inspection

Make sure that the standby generators are inspected before the onset of winter. Sing a check sheet with a list of all things to be inspected like battery cell levels, coolant levels, battery specific gravity and so on can make the job a lot easier.

  • Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your standby generators ready for winter. Remember to plan for scheduled maintenance well before the start of winter. The usual maintenance includes preventing the fuel from gelling, making sure that the coolant heater or block heaters are running, checking the batteries and so on. The fuel tank also needs to be cleaned, polished and treated to ensure optimal performance when its need arises.

  • Testing

Experts recommend testing the standby generators prior to winter to check its functioning level as well as the fuel quality and quantity.

  • Supplies

Always ensure that you have plenty of back up supplies for your standby generator. This includes fuel, lubricants, fuel stabilizers, coolant, batteries, spare parts and so on. You can also install an oil heater if your generator does not come pre-equipped with one. If the generator is outdoors, installing a snow hood is a great way to protect it during the harsh winter.

  • Access

Once winter starts, the snow will probably block access outdoors. So, if your standby generator is installed outdoors, make sure that you always have a pathway to it that is easily accessible, even during heavy snow.

  • Documentation

In case you run into any trouble while using the generator during the winter season, remember to note it all down. This will make it easier to get it looked at once the winter is over. 

Once you manage to make it through the winter season, it is time to deal with the maintenance of the generator. This includes an oil change, filter replacements, coolant change out and so on. You will still need to conduct regular maintenance of the standby generator during the summer season to make sure that it stays in optimal condition for the winters to come. 

With extreme weather conditions being reported across the world, it is a good idea to install high-quality electrical equipment that can withstand these changes. It is also wise to keep some candles, solar-powered flashlights, a radio, a battery pack, etc. on hand in case the power outage turns out to be longer than expected.

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