A windy snow event or ice storm will likely create stress that you can’t control. Fortunately, if you’re prepared, you can protect your precious tech from getting zapped by a brownout or worse.
Here’s my six-step checklist to prevent ‘techtastrophy’ when a storm plays havoc with the power grid.
Avoid Direct Connections to Wall Outlets
First off, just don’t plug your electronics directly into the wall. If you expect the power to fluctuate, that could also include a power surge. Why take the chance of frying your gear? You should always plug your power supplies and chargers for your delicate tech (smartphones, laptops) into surge-protector power strips.
If you happen to have a whole-house surge protection system, then good for you. Otherwise, invest in a few good power strips with surge protection.
Get a UPS for Your Computer
A power strip isn’t going to cut it if you’re using a desktop computer that requires a constant flow of electricity. Any irregular (dirty) power is bad, but when a blackout hits, you don’t want to be working at your computer without some power backup. So, you’ll need a more advanced solution…
Your desktop should always be plugged into an uninterruptable power supply. A ‘UPS’ is essentially a battery backup unit with surge protection and automatic voltage regulation. So, during bad weather, you can type away in relative peace.
Turn Off Your Desktop During Stormy Overnights
Even with a UPS in place, I’d still recommend you turn off your desktop overnight during a big storm instead of just putting your computer into sleep mode.
(Why take any chances?)
Activate Your Portable Power Generator
A battery-powered UPS can only handle your computer for a short while- enough time to finish up what you’re doing and then safely shut down. If you need a more powerful solution, then you’ll have to invest in a portable power generator for your house that can run for hours or days (depending on your fuel reserves).
I own a liquid propane portable generator (which of course, I’ve never had to use since the day I bought it). But I’m happy it’s in place to keep the essentials going during a blackout.
Juice the Backup for Your Smartphone
If you don’t have any beefy power creation solutions in place, then at least invest twenty bucks on a pocket-sized battery power bank. It will give your smartphone an extra charge or two while the rest of your home waits in the dark.
I carry around an Anker Portable Charger.
($25.99 on Amazon)
But a little power stick can’t come to your rescue if it’s not charged! So, make sure it’s juiced up before the snow hits.
(And it wouldn’t hurt to top off your smartphone either)
Keep Your Smartphone Warm
Your particular smartphone model might be water resistant, but its battery is still sensitive to winter. It will drain down faster when exposed to frigid temperatures.
(And that’s why you shouldn’t keep your AA batteries in the refrigerator)
So, if you’re out and about after a storm, try to keep your smartphone as warm as possible. Otherwise, you may find it suddenly needs a recharge.
(Then, please see tip #5!)
Sure, it’s hard to function in the dark. But it’s easier if your critical tech isn’t down for the count. Here’s hoping you successfully weather the next ‘Snowmageddon’ along with your gear!