Extreme weather is a part of life, and learning to deal with it is how human beings have been able to evolve from primitive beings to advanced mega minds. Part of living in the 21st century is keeping our trusted appliances running correctly and efficiently when we’re faced with an emergency like an extended power outage or heat wave. Thankfully, I’m here to help arm you with the knowledge to make it through these inconveniences and come out the other end better than you would have otherwise. Together, we’ll go over what to do with your washer when you’re having power surges, how to cope with your refrigerator when a blizzard hits, and much more. Let’s get to it, as the weather never waits.
Preparing for Extreme Weather
When it comes to extreme weather, there’s not much we can do once it actually hits. Wind storms, blizzards, hard freezes, and heatwaves are just a few examples of the things that can cause us major issues in a short amount of time. In the days leading up to these storms, there are some preventative measures we can take so we are prepared when something does hit.
Protecting Electronics from Power Fluctuations
If you live in the rural parts of town or off-grid, you’re probably aware that your power can fluctuate, causing issues with your electrical devices. The best thing you can do if your power does have issues in harsh weather is to unplug or protect your expensive electronics. Things like newer washing machines, computers, and refrigerators are always using some sort of standby electricity. If a power surge happens, it could instantly “fry” your electronic control boards, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. Unplugging them when you know you’re going to have an issue is a cheap alternative to having a service tech come out and repair all your stuff. You can also use a surge protector on your important things. However, you need to buy the correct protector for what you are using. Make sure you are getting the right amount of amp protection to adequately protect your appliance.
Managing Food During Power Outages
Depending on the temperature outside, a complete power outage can become a real nightmare. If you have a freezer full of food and the power goes out, you have a limited amount of time to get your food to a safe place before it begins to spoil. A refrigerator can warm up as much as 10 degrees in an hour with the doors staying shut the entire time. That means in one hour, you can potentially enter the temperature “danger zone” for your food. The best thing to do is to not open your door at all. Don’t even open it to check the temperature; it’s going up, trust me. If it’s hot outside, you need coolers. This is where some preventative measures come in handy. Make sure you have enough coolers on standby to keep your meat, frozen fruit, or other expensive items cold or frozen. Now, if it’s cold, you’re in luck. Just stick your food outside. If there’s snow, even better. You can safely keep your food in the snow without worry, besides maybe the dog eating it.
Using Backup Batteries
Keeping on the subject of power outages, if you have a backup battery with a 110-volt outlet, you can do a few things with it so you can keep using your appliances. Depending on the size of the battery and its output, you may be able to run your dishwasher off of it, as many new dishwashers use very little electricity. In most cases, a backup battery has enough juice to run a gas range. Yes, in many instances, you can light the top of your gas range with a match. However, if you plug the range into your backup, you might be able to use the oven, which uses very little electricity. If needing your oven or cooktop in a power outage situation is important, make sure you have what is needed to get the top going or run the oven.
Energy-Saving Tips During Heatwaves
Heat waves put a lot of stress on us humans and on the power grid. People using their air conditioners non-stop trying to cool themselves and their houses is one of the major reasons for this power deficit. Ensuring your AC filters are replaced at least every 3 months and making sure your outdoor condensing unit is clean are two amazing ways to help you reduce your energy usage. However, that probably isn’t enough in the scheme of things. During hot summer months and especially when we are having a heat wave, is the best time to line-dry our clothes. Not operating your dryer and using the power of the sun to dry our clothes is one of the best things we as humans can do to reduce our energy usage. Not to mention using your dryer 25% less would give you amazing results on the longevity of your dryer.
Extreme Temperatures and Appliance Performance
On really hot or cold days, our exterior walls start to heat or cool to the temperature on the outside. If we have an uninsulated garage, our garage will also do the same thing. In the occurrence of hot garages where most of us keep our spare refrigerators, it can get up to over 100 degrees. This high temp will make your refrigerator run harder and for longer periods of time. Unfortunately, we don’t put our best resources in the garage as a spare. Usually, we have a unit out there that kind of works, and putting it in a hot environment is making it worse. If you have this situation going on, try putting a small fan blowing towards the front of your unit. This extra airflow will help cool the compressor and refrigerant and help the unit cool, so it’s not running longer than it should. In the case of cold garages where some people keep their washers or have a laundry room off of the garage, freezing is a real issue. Cold temperatures can and will freeze the water going to the washer or the drain that allows water to leave the machine. If it’s a really cold day and your washer doesn’t want to fill with water, you most likely have a frozen water valve. If this occurs, try adding a heater or one of those light bulb extensions in the room. The extra heat can bring up the temperature enough to keep you from freezing. If your drain pipe is frozen, you’re going to need a plumber to insulate the pipe. This issue, over time, will bust the pipe causing a major issue inside the wall of your home.
Extreme weather can be a major downer. If you start having issues with your appliances while experiencing extreme weather, it can quickly become an emergency. Being prepared and knowing the potential issues you will face is a great step to overcoming adversity. In this blog, we talked about how to safely keep your medication and food in a power outage, how to save energy when in a heat wave, and how to protect your appliances when a cold or hot snap. But that’s not all we have in store for you. Join us next time as I uncover the tips and secrets of the appliance industry and help you maneuver through the ever-changing appliance landscape.