Apartment dwellers can find themselves in the dark just as easily as homeowners. As a result, you should at least have a flashlight and batteries on-hand so you can maneuver around your place.
You should also have your property manager or landlord’s number and contact information for the power company. However, we suggest you start with the following tips before you do anything else.
Check the Neighborhood
If you look outside and can’t see any lights in your neighborhood, you know it is something to do with the grid.
However, if neighboring apartments in your building have power, there’s clearly something going on in your unit.
Check Breaker/Fuse Box
Most apartments have a separate breaker box in the unit. If you don’t know where this box is, find it before there’s a blackout.
Check for a metal door on one of your walls. Unlatch it and peer inside, but don’t touch anything. A breaker looks like a big switch, and if it trips, it is easy to spot. The switch could be in a different position than the others with red showing on one end. Either that, or you will see a series of small windows. If one is orange, that’s the one that tripped.
Just switch the breaker back. If it won’t switch or trips again, you may have too many things plugged into one circuit or a problem that requires your landlord’s attention.
If your phone is charged you can monitor the power company’s alerts. If you don’t see anything mentioned in your area, contact them.
Weather-related issues such as evacuation announcements are easily monitored on news feeds.
Unplug Electronics & Appliances
If you know neighborhood power is out, unplug your electronics and any appliances with electronic controls. When the utility company fixes the problem, you don’t want a power surge to blow out these items.
Keep Fridge/Freezer Doors Closed
The food in your freezer will stay frozen for a long time, providing you keep the doors closed as much possible. A half full freezer will keep your food safe for up to 24 hours. A full one for up to 48 hours
However, perishable food in your refrigerator will only last a few hours, unless you pack them with ice. If the food temperature goes about 40 degrees, you’ll need to throw it out.
Don’t Use Your Barbeque Indoors
If it’s cold and you have an electric stove, you might be tempted to barbeque indoors. Don’t do it.
Charcoal and gas grills will emit toxic fumes within your apartment that could kill you. Besides that, they’re a fire hazard.
Check Your Renters Insurance Policy
Your renters insurance policy may cover losses caused by power outages beyond your control. However, you need to understand what your policy provides and what it excludes to avoid unwelcome surprises. For instance, losses caused by your own negligence probably won’t be covered. All policies also include limits.
Nonetheless, many policies provide valuable protections. For instance, the food in your fridge and freezer might spoil and your policy may help you recoup your losses.
Your policy may also pay for a hotel, meals, and other expenses if you can’t live in your apartment due to a disaster.
As mentioned, it is very important you understand your insurance coverage. If you’re not sure what type of coverage you have, give us a call. We’re happy to review your policy with you and can help you get the best coverage at the best possible rates.