Power Failure

Power failures can happen any time of the year as a result of electrical storms, high winds or system overloads. In the winter, freezing rain, sleet or high winds can also damage power lines.

Power failures lasting for an extended period of time can be inconvenient. In some circumstances they can have an even greater impact on you and your family, especially if the outage is widespread and lasts for several days.

In The Event of a Power Failure:

  • Fill your bathtub(s) with water for flushing, washing and cleaning
  • Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment and turn the thermostat down to minimum. This will prevent injury, damage or fire upon restoration of power. As well, power is easier to restore to an area when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.
  • Leave one light switch on, so you know when power is restored.
  • Don’t open your fridge or freezer unless necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.
  • DO NOT use charcoal or gas barbeques, camping heating equipment or home generators indoors. They can give off carbon monoxide, which can cause serious health problems, even death.
  • If you have a backup heating unit, turn it on before the house gets too cold. If using a home generator, the installation should only be done by a qualified technician.

After the Power Returns:

  • If the main electrical switch was turned off, check to ensure appliances, electric heaters, TVs, microwave ovens and computers are unplugged to prevent damage from a power surge when the power is restored.
  • Do not enter a flooded basement unless you are sure the power is disconnected.
  • Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse-breaker panels until they have been checked and cleaned by a qualified technician.
  • Turn on the main electric switch.
  • Turn the thermostats up first, and then reconnect the fridge and stove a few minutes later.
  • Close the drain valve in the basement.
  • Turn on the water supply. Close lowest valves/taps first and allow air to escape from upper taps.
  • Make sure the hot water heater is filled before turning on the power.
  • Rinse out dishwasher and washing machine if necessary.
  • Check food supplies for spoilage.

Winter Power Failures:

  • Install a non-electric standby stove or heater. Use only fuel-burning heaters certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Canadian Gas Association.
  • Clean the flue on your wood-burning fireplace in preparation for home heating, and keep a good supply of wood on hand.
  • Avoid opening doors unnecessarily.
  • If the power outage is prolonged and pipes are in danger of freezing, turn off the main water valve and drain the line by running taps. Put plumbing antifreeze in toilet bowls, sinks and bathtub drains.

For more information on power failures visit the Nova Scotia Power website.