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The 3 Reasons You Should Be Turning Off Devices During a Brownout

We don’t believe in ghosts, so when the lights start flickering, we know what it usually means:  an electrical brownout.

Unlike blackouts that wipe out all the electricity to your home, a brownout means that a lesser amount of electricity is being provided. The name comes from the brownish tint that your home’s lights give off when the amount of power they have is diminished.

Why do Brownouts Happen?

Just like blackouts, brownouts can occur due to problems with power lines or from severe weather. However, brownouts can also be instituted intentionally by power companies. When the power grid is being overloaded with high demand–on really hot days, for instance–electrical companies will sometimes initiate brownouts in certain geographic areas to conserve electricity and prevent a full-out blackout.

The good news about a brownout? Your home does have some electrical power coming to it, which means you aren’t left totally in the dark. The bad news? Just because you have power does not mean that you should use it during a brown out.

The Three Reasons You Should Be Turning Off Devices During a Brownout

1. In order to shorten the length of the brownout

As we talked about earlier, one of the main reasons for a brownout is to allow the utility companies to save energy and regroup when the demand level is high. The sooner demands decrease, the sooner full power can come back on. Therefore, it is in your best interests to turn off everything that you can safely in order to reduce electrical demands on the power grid.

2. To protect your devices

When brownouts occur, the power supply coming into your home is less consistent than it usually is. As Texan power company Payless Power explains, “When power levels change dramatically, certain devices are unable to handle the shift and may be ruined.”  Big appliances such as the refrigerator, television, and computer should all be turned off and unplugged.

3. To prepare for a power surge

If your home is not equipped with a whole-house surge protector, you want to be aware of the danger of a potential power surge once the electricity comes back on. These surges of electricity can fry electronics. Therefore, keeping devices unplugged and waiting to plug them back in a few minutes after the power comes on will help to protect them.

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