Load shedding isn’t going anywhere, and it’s not getting any better any time soon. While we could spend our time complaining about it and blaming the government, that time could be used far more productively by ensuring that all possible precautions are taken to protect our homes and appliances from the negative impacts of load shedding.
How to protect your appliances from load shedding
Let’s take a look at some practical ways you can prevent your appliances from being damaged by load shedding.
- Implement surge protection measures: As mentioned, load shedding itself is not the sole culprit. Electrical surges are the main causes of damage to appliances resulting from a power outage. As such, it makes sense to install surge protection devices and plugs to minimise damage. Have a surge protection device fitted to your electrical distribution board or individually at the power outlet for the electronic device.
- Switch off and unplug before a scheduled outage: Switch off your most important appliances ahead of load shedding. This means turning off your air conditioning, televisions, gaming consoles, washing machines, and the like. Switch off any devices that might pose a fire risk when power is restored, such as heaters and electric pans or grills. Unplugging appliances at the wall is the most effective way to ensure they’re safe from surges.
- Switch appliances back on carefully: Wait for 10 – 15 minutes after the power has been restored before restarting your devices and appliances. Plug in and switch on appliances one by one.
- Make use of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS): These should be used not as back-up power sources, but to provide the time for you to safely switch off your electrical appliances if there is any interruption in your power supply, protecting them from damage.
- Stay informed of the load shedding schedule: The stages change frequently, so make sure you’re always one step ahead of Eskom by having push notifications to remind you when load shedding is due to start, so you can prepare your house.
How to protect your home during load shedding
- Make sure your home isn’t in the dark completely: having adequate back-up lighting is a good way to ensure you aren’t taken by surprise. This can be a few high-wattage solar powered lights in the garden, paired with battery-operated LED lights for inside, to deter potential burglars.
- Stay charged: Keep your cell phone charged along with a power bank so that you can call for emergency assistance if necessary. Consider a panic button service on your phone.
- Have back-up at hand: If you have to open and close gates manually when you arrive home, ask for someone in the household to meet you at the gate, or request an escort from your security company.
- Use the old-school tools: Padlocks, burglar bars, deadbolts, and guard dogs provide a level of protection that does not rely on power for effectiveness.
- Get back-up batteries: Your most important home systems are the alarm, garage doors and electric gates. Make sure these haved adequate batteries to ensure operation during power outages.
- Keep spares on hand: Keep a torch or a solar or battery powered light that is charged beforehand in multiple, easily accessible locations around your home with spare batteries.
- Use your generator safely: It is essential that generators are never used indoors or in an enclosed area. Generators produce carbon monoxide, which can be fatal if inhaled and is highly flammable. The last thing you want is a generator-related home fire.
- Keep emergency water supplies on hand: Keeping bottles of frozen water in the freezer is a good way to ensure that you have water on hand if there is an interruption in water supply. These frozen water bottles also keep the food in your freezer from defrosting, and they can be temporarily placed in the fridge to maintain cooler temperatures and help prevent your food from spoiling.
Be proactive to protect your appliances and your home from load shedding
Making sure your home is prepared for load shedding is one of the most effective ways you can protect your appliances and ensure the safety of your family. It is also important to review your home insurance to make sure you know what you’re covered for, and speak to your insurance provider about additional cover to make sure you’re not adversely affected by load shedding related damage.