Assuming you’ve paid your electric bill, when the power goes out, you might wonder what to do and who to call. First, make sure you paid the power company.
After that, here’s what you need to know.
Check Your Circuit Breaker
When you moved into your apartment, hopefully the managing company or landlord showed you where it was. If not, it’s not too difficult to find. It’s typically on the wall, often behind a gray cover. Start here. When a circuit is tripped, you’ll usually see the color orange under or near a switch. Flip that switch. If the power comes on, you’re good. If not, move onto the next steps.
Check with Your Neighbors
If you know you paid your electric bill, and flipping a switch didn’t work, it’s time to check with your neighbors. Find out if anyone else is experiencing a power outage. It’s possible that the problem is impacting everyone. If so, you’ll have to wait it out.
Report the Problem
If the problem affects the building, call the power company and let them know the power is out. If the problem affects only you, call building management. But don’t wait around and hope the problem will get fixed on its own. You’re going to have to let someone know.
Unplug Your Electronics
For building-wide issues, unplug your computer, phone charger, TV, and other electronics. When the power comes back on, there will be a power surge as the electrical load increases. Surges can fry your electronics, causing you to have to replace everything.
Leave the Refrigerator Alone
Because refrigerators are insulated, they can remain cold for about two hours after the power goes off. Leaving the doors closed can help save your perishable foods. The more you open it up, the more cool air you let out.
Leave the Grill Outside
In the dead of winter, it’s going to get cold once the power goes out. Bundle up with blankets and extra clothes or go to a friend’s house, assuming they have power and it’s safe to drive. But whatever you do, do not light charcoal grills, kerosene heaters, or portable generators inside your apartment. They will create toxic fumes that will build up inside your apartment which could be deadly.
Fill Your Tub with Water
If you don’t have a tub, use big pots or empty containers. When the power remains out for a while, especially if it’s part of a big storm, potential water contamination is possible. The water in your tap right after the power goes out is still good and drinkable. Filling up the tub or containers gives you easier access to clean water.
Use the Bathroom
You can still flush your toilets even when the power is out so using the bathroom is still an option. You’ll only have a limited amount of hot water, though, so try not to take a hot shower if possible. Cold showers during a summer power outage can be nice. But during the winter, they’re miserable. It’s best not to worry about a shower until the power comes back on.
Watch Your Candles
You’re going to need light when the power goes out. Flashlights are ideal, if you have enough batteries. If you light candles, make sure you don’t leave them unattended. Pets or kids can easily knock them over. You can go from a power outage situation to a fire in your apartment faster than you realize.
File a Claim with Your Renters Insurance
If the power outage was from a natural disaster or a problem with the power company, you might be able to file a claim with your renters insurance for spoiled food, meals you had to eat out while the power was out, and even staying in a hotel until the power came back on. However, if the power outage was your own fault – like not paying the electric bill – it’s unlikely the losses will be covered.
Every renter needs renters insurance. Even if your landlord doesn’t require it, don’t treat it as optional. Renters insurance is designed for moments like power outages that damage your property.
Need renters insurance coverage? Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote. It’s more affordable than you realize.