In most cases, a temporary light-out is not much cause for concern, especially if you own our best solar generator of the year, and other handy equipment. However, electricity outages can sometimes have devastating effects, such as causing damage to equipment if you don’t have the proper surge protection.

The summers, especially, are prone to blackouts and brownouts in hotter areas. But do you really understand what happens whenever the lights go out? What is brownout vs. blackout electricity?

A brownout is a drop in electric voltage caused by a higher consumption load than the supply. Brownouts can be a result of natural causes or intentional interruptions by power suppliers to avoid a blackout. On the other hand, a blackout is a total power loss, sometimes on a large scale, that stems from equipment failure or bad weather.

Read More: 11 Tips for Living Without Electricity (Survive & Thrive Off-Grid)

How to Prevent Electricity Blackouts Vs. Brownouts

Brownouts and blackouts can damage equipment and electrical appliances. As such, it is vital to take precautions to avoid or mitigate outages. Here are some of the things you can do to prevent a brownout or a blackout.

City with Blackout Effect

How to Prevent Blackouts

According to the SGIP, blackouts can be brought about by natural courses as well as electrical faults that may not be preventable. However, to play your part in preventing blackouts, here are some things you can do.

  • Reduce energy consumption, especially during the summer. You can achieve this by turning off lights and switching off appliances that are not in use. Additionally, switch to energy-saving bulbs and energy-efficient equipment, like our top-rated solar attic fans, solar-powered gate openers, and solar pool heaters
  • Trim trees and get rid of anything that might damage power lines during a storm. Work with your local council or energy provider for advice and directions
  • Get a smart meter to keep you informed on your home’s voltage and current.
  • Create a schedule for your home consumption. For example, when it is shower time, it is best to pre-heat the water and store it hot. That way, if you need to make breakfast while other family members take showers or iron clothes, there will be a stable energy consumption rate

Precautionary Measures to Take During a Blackout

  • Turn off all devices and only switch them on when your service provider restores power
  • Always have energy reserves like an off-grid refrigerator to keep your food from going bad, or proper solar fence chargers if you’re a farmer looking to keep your livestock safe during an outage

How to Prevent Brownouts

Brownouts sometimes result from a problem with the electrical grid system. If the grid system is the issue, there is nothing much you can do to prevent its occurrence.

One thing you can do to prevent a brownout is to reduce electricity consumption in your home.
To avoid being in the dark, you can transition to renewable energy options such as solar. Stanford University researchers proposed a shift to renewable energy sources (1). This 100% shift would keep the grid’s consumption lower than the amount generated, reducing chances of brownouts
In addition to easing the pressure on the national power grid, alternative renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are up to 75% cheaper! (2)

Precautionary Measures to Take During a Brownout

There are some precautionary measures you can take in the event of a brownout to prevent damage to your electrical devices. Here are some tips.

  • Unplug all devices with the first flicker. If you have a voltmeter, it will give you the early signs of an impending brownout.
  • Install electrical surge protectors, power strips, and for those with more sensitive equipment like computers, check out our best pure sine wave inverters. These devices help to stabilize your power supply with a constant, clean voltage despite an impending problem. These measures allows you to safely shut down or switch off all sensitive devices to prevent damage.

You might want to get alternative energy sources if you are in an area that is prone to brownouts and blackouts. There are times that brownouts result in long term blackouts. In such cases, you must have a backup energy source, such as propane. If not, you can use our best solar oven of the year, and other nifty solar equipment available to help you stay productive during a brownout.

Blackout Vs. Brown Out: What the Government is Doing

The US government has put in measures to ensure that citizens receive protection in case of blackout vs. brownout energy supply interruptions. According to Steve Hauser, who is the VP of grid integration at NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), the government has some power plants that generate power non-stop. In contrast, other plants are used as back up.

Since brownouts increase when the consumption is higher than production, these backup power plants boost generation, ensuring no brownouts or blackouts.