While you may be familiar with an electrical blackout, you may be wondering about the differences between brownouts vs blackouts. A brownout is defined as an intended or unintended temporary decrease in electrical voltage output. Brownouts occur when an electrical supplier minimizes the voltage to your city or suburb to accommodate heavy electrical usage in your area. If the demand for electricity is exceeding capacity or expectations, an electrical supplier will decrease the total electricity that is sent to each house in your area to avoid a blackout. Moderate to severe brownouts vs blackouts may also be caused by thunderstorms, rain, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
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Common Signs of a Brownout
There are various signs that may indicate a brownout in your home or local city. A common signal of a severe brownout includes a reduction of lighting in your house. This will cause your incandescent, fluorescent, and LED light bulbs to produce less light. If an electrical distributor reduces the supply of electricity to your area, the lamps and bulbs in your house will begin to produce brown color. The reduction of light will make it hard to read, cook, or clean in your home.
Due to the decrease in electricity, you may begin to notice flickering lights during a brownout. This type of electrical issue may also cause your appliances to make weird noises, such as your air conditioning system or water pump. A critical brownout in your local suburb may also make it hard to connect to your Internet. If you notice symptoms of a brownout, we recommend calling your local electrical distributor to confirm the issue.
What Are the Differences Between Brownouts & Blackouts?
A brownout is a temporary decrease in electrical capacity to your house that may be caused by an electrical distributor or a storm. If you’re comparing the differences between brownouts vs. blackouts, a blackout is a loss of access to the power grid or electricity in your neighborhood. A blackout in your city or suburb may range in time from a couple of minutes to a few hours. Small to large blackouts may be caused by severe weather in your area.
Severe blackouts may also be produced by a car crashing into an electrical pole in your area. A blackout that is caused by a car crash is usually able to be fixed quickly because most crashes are reported to local authorities. However, other types of blackouts caused by animals may last our hours. If an animal takes shelter in an electrical transformer and chews a wire, this may cause hundreds of homes to lose power. This type of electrical blackout can be hard to pinpoint since it was produced by an animal at a random transformer in your area.
What is a Rolling Blackout?
A rolling blackout is a temporary pause of electricity to specific areas. This type of blackout is intentionally created by electrical distributors as a response to high electrical demands in your city or suburb that cannot be fulfilled with an existing electrical distribution system. An electrical supplier will usually disperse rolling blackouts to various locations to reduce the severity of symptoms to households.
Negative Consequences of a Brownout
If there is a brownout in your town, the light bulbs in your house will create less light. Most types of light bulbs are engineered to withstand a reduction in voltage and electricity during a brownout. On the other hand, this type of electrical issue may cause damage to your appliances and electronics. There are a variety of appliances that require a specified amount of electricity to operate properly, such as central air conditioners.
How to Respond to a Brownout
Unplug Your Hardware & Appliances
If your computer, television, or refrigerator are not receiving enough voltage, this may cause damage to the internal components and wiring of your electronics. There are various things you can do to protect the appliances and electronics in your household during a brownout. If you notice dim or flickering lights in your house, the first thing you should do is unplug your laptop, television, lamps, and refrigerator. This will prevent damage to the internal components of your hardware that may be caused by variations in voltage. If you are unable to deactivate the power supply to an appliance with a plug, navigate to the electrical panel in your home and adjust the proper circuit breakers.
Invest in Power Strips & A Whole-House Surge Protector
Another thing you can do to prevent damage to your computers or televisions throughout a brownout is invest in power strips. A power strip is engineered to provide your electronics with a steady supply of voltage. The latest energy-efficient power strips will give you a couple of extra minutes to unplug you hardware during a brownout.
While a power strip is an excellent way to protect your electronics during a brownout, they are not designed to accommodate each of the appliances in your home. To preserve all of the hardware in your home, we recommend investing in a whole-house surge protector. This type of system is engineered to safeguard your refrigerator, computers, and light fixtures during a brownout.
Electrical Repair & Installation Services Near You
If you are having electrical issues in your house, we recommend calling your electrical distributor to confirm if the problem is caused by a brownout vs blackout. Next, you may want to consider calling a licensed electrician or HVAC technician at Team Electric. This issue in your house may be caused by a widespread blackout, brownout, or other types of issues with the electrical grid. If your electrical supplier is not aware of electrical issues in your area, the problem is likely isolated to your house. To receive assistance from our team, give us a call by phone at (732) 201-3305 or book an appointment on our site. The emergency electricians at Team Electric provide electrical services such as home rewiring, light fixture installation, appliance replacement, electrical troubleshooting, and ventilation fan installation.