Thursday, March 31, 2016

Power Outage-5 Things To Put In Your New Home To Protect Against A Power Outage

When planning your new custom home you should think about what essentials you will want in it, one of the essentials that often gets over looked is how your home will perform (or not perform) when you have a power outage.

With today's weather getting increasingly more unstable, storms becoming larger and more severe losing power for longer amounts of time is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. A lot of things can go wrong in a house that is without power for extended amounts of time and a lot of hardship can be inflicted on people inside these homes.

Here are 5 things that you should have in your new custom home to help you in a power outage:

  1. Generator: This might seem like an obvious thing but there are a lot of different types of generators. They all cost different amounts and they all work in varying degrees. Generators can run on gasoline, propane or natural gas. They can be hardwired in so that the loss of power triggers them to activate or they can be controlled by a switch. Other generators that are portable have to be pulled over to the house and plugged in and started. True portable generators will sit outside your home and you will have to run extension cords into your home to power up certain things in the home. Since you are building a new house it's not much more to have the electricians install a generator panel that controls certain parts of the house that are critical to it's operation and your comfort. Being able to at least plug in a generator to run your sump pump, kitchen plugs and fans will save you a lot of time, trouble and will help give your family a level of comfort that can be difficult to achieve when you are without power. The prices of generators varies greatly depending on their quality, what fuel they require and how they operate.
  2. Gravity Drain: Even if you are lucky to have a generator you can still run out of fuel for it or have a mechanical failure as generators are not used all the time. One of the most important things in your house is your sump pump, if you don't have power to run your sump pump then you could be risking a flood in your basement. If this happens then you could have way more problems once the power is restored. One way to help avoid flooding in your basement is to have a gravity drain installed in your new house. A gravity drain connects to the weeping system that runs around the base of the footings of your home. The weeping system connects to the sump pump inside your home bringing excess water to it to be pumped away from the house before it can invade the basement and cause damage. When you attach a gravity drain to the weeping system it gives the water another place to flow then your sump pail. The hydro-static pressure of the water around your basement will force water to flow down the gravity drain and away from you new home. This should help keep the water from overflowing the sump pail and your basement keeping the water pressure down around the home. Your gravity drain needs to slope away from your home to an area where the water will not seep back towards the area of the home.
  3. Fireplace: No matter if the fireplace is wood burning or a gas burning fireplace having at least one fireplace in your new custom home will keep precious heat in your home. Heat is by far one of the most important things you need to keep in your home. If you don't have heat then you could have major damage to your home; water pipes freezing, taps freezing, pipes breaking and causing minor floods. If you don't have heat in your home then your family will not be able to stay in the home, it could end up being a life threatening situation. If you can get a fireplace with an optional fan that will move heat around your home then you can plug the fan into your generator. With this setup you should be able to heat your entire home throughout the power outage.
  4. Insulation: Every home has insulation and newer homes have more insulation. If you make the insulation a priority in your new custom home and you maximize the amount that is installed then when you do lose power your home will stay warm (or cold) for longer periods of time. A super insulated home with little to no air leaks can stay warm without power for days. A home that is extensively insulated does not allow a lot of air exchange and thus does not allow the cold air into the home. This also helps in the summer with holding the air conditioning when the power is out allowing your home to stay cooler longer.
  5. Solar panels: This is not a cheap option, but with today's technological advances solar panels are a viable option for people. Whether you are installing a large complex solar system that will power most of your home during a power outage or a single solar panel that is installed to keep your sump pump running when the power fails it is now possible to pre-wire a home for solar panels. With the grants that are available for people to sell solar energy to the grid being so lucrative it pays to sell your power while still buying power from the grid at a lower amount. You can have systems designed that will switch over when the power fails to power most or all of your new home. This option is already becoming popular on farmers that require constant power to keep livestock feed and watered during power outages.
Whether you can afford these options or not it's worth a conversation with your home builder, a little time and money spent now can save you a world or worry and frustration when the lights go out. You don't have to pick all of the them but having at least a couple will help you when the lights go out again.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders inc. 

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