Should I Use My Plumbing in a Power Outage

Have you thought about what will happen if you lose power during a storm or lose power period? The US Energy Information Administration reported that in 2017, the average power outage time across the US was 7.8 hours which doubled over 2016. The fact of the matter is, no one wants to sit in the dark for any amount of time. Unfortunately, sitting in the dark is just the beginning of the repercussions of no power. 

What you should do immediately when you have lost power

If your power goes out, you want to first call your electric company to determine how long they are expecting the outage to last. This will give you a good idea about how bad your situation can become. Then, you want to call whomever supplies your water. This applies to those not on well water. If you are not on well water, the company that supplies your water will either have a generator that they run their pump systems that supply your water off of, or they will have reserve tanks. If they have reserve tanks, the water will only last for so long which will depend on how many people are accessing the reserves. 

If you live in a city like Frederick, they run their water pumps off of generators so you will still get water to your house and can continue to use the toilet, shower/bathtubs, and sinks, you just won’t have hot water. If you live in Frederick County, you most likely have a well but some towns in Frederick County have small water plants that run off of generators as well. 

What you can expect during a power outage

When most homes lose power, they lose refrigeration, cooking capabilities, lights, and hot water. All appliances like your refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, and stove/oven are run off the power so you will not be able to use them at all. During a power outage, it’s a good idea not to open your refrigerator or freezer to help foods stay colder longer. 

Not only will your appliances not work but your toilet may also not work.  As we previously stated, this all depends on where you get your water from. If you run off of a well, the well has a pump in it that sends the water into your house. This pump is run off of electricity, therefore, when your power goes out, you will only be able to use the water that’s left in the water lines. Once that is used up, that’s it. You won’t be able to use your toilets, sinks, or showers/bathtubs. 

What you should do when your power comes back on

When your power comes back on, you can begin to use all appliances and plumbing again. While your electricity and plumbing are two different things, they often work together in many different ways to get things working optimally again. For instance, your hot water heater is run off of electricity and supplies hot water to your entire home. When your electricity comes back on, your water heater will begin to heat the water again. Since the water was not running during the power outage, it’s a good idea to run the cold water first because you don’t want any settled dirt to go through your water heater and damage it. 

What you should do to prevent not having power again

The easiest way to prevent not having power is to purchase a generator. This is something you want to consider doing before you need it because if there is a power outage in your area, it will be difficult to find a generator and when you do find one, it will be more expensive. A generator can be hooked up to your well pump and major appliances to ensure that you are able to stay in your home and be more comfortable than you would be without power. 

As always, if you have any questions on how to be prepared for a power outage or when to not use your plumbing, you can contact us on the web or give us a call at 301.208.8896.