Expand Images

4 Ways to Protect Your Appliances During an Outage

SCE offers tips to keep you safe and guard against appliance damage when your power is out.

Your electronics and appliances are vulnerable to power outages and improper care of the equipment during electrical disruptions can cause damage and make appliances unsafe to use afterward. To best keep you safe — and protect your appliances from damage — follow these important guidelines:

Turn off and unplug small appliances
Televisions, computer equipment, game consoles, fans, lights and all other smaller appliances should be unplugged, especially if they were in use when the power went out. Larger appliances, such as refrigerators, should not be unplugged. Keeping smaller appliances turned on and plugged in can cause the power to go out again after it has been restored.

Use surge protectors
While it is strongly recommended that expensive electronics be unplugged during an outage to protect them from power surges when electricity is restored, that is not always possible. Surge protectors help prevent damage to electronics such as computers and televisions by blocking excess power that comes through the power grid when power is restored. You can also upgrade your outlets to those that have built-in surge protectors. All of these devices have a limited lifespan and experts recommend replacement every 3-5 years. Some units have a light that may alert you that the protection is no longer active following a power surge, so check your unit once power is restored.

Keep the refrigerator and freezer closed
Make sure food stays as cold as possible by keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Refrigerators can keep food cold for four hours, and a full freezer can stay frozen for up to 48 hours. If possible, place blocks of ice inside of both to further protect your food. Make sure to throw away any food that reaches a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Turn out the lights
Turn all light switches and lamps off except for one, so you will know when power returns. If the power is still out when you go to sleep, leave a bedroom light on to wake you so you can safely check your home.

For more information about electrical safety, visit sce.com/safety/family.