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Brownouts vs. Blackouts: Why Is Your Power Out?

July 31, 2023      

South Shore Gernerator Sales & Services - Brownout

Power outages, no matter their cause, are an inconvenience. But some may be more significant than others, depending on where you live and what measures your utility company employs to provide more consistent power. Let’s discuss the differences between blackouts and brownouts, and what they might mean for your home’s electricity needs.


With today’s overburdened power grid, some utility companies are employing strategic measures to reduce grid load and prevent grid failure. Brownouts are one such measure—temporary reductions in system voltage that may last for minutes or hours. This intentional reduction in voltage typically does not register as a power outage; brownouts rarely impact your home’s heat and lighting systems. However, smaller appliances or electrical devices may function intermittently during a brownout. Because the majority of brownouts are either planned or deliberately caused by an electric company, homeowners can often prepare for them and continue their activities with minimal disruption.


Many homeowners are more familiar with the term “blackout” and may use it to widely describe any kind of power outage. Unlike a brownout, during which system voltage is reduced and only minor devices are impacted, a blackout is the total loss of power in the affected service area. During a blackout, you will likely lose the ability to light, heat and cool your home using its electrical systems for an undetermined amount of time. Blackouts are usually unexpected and may come as the result of severe weather or damage to the grid. Because of this, grid system repairs are often required, and power may not be restored to your home until any repairs are complete.


So, what can you do to prepare for brownouts and blackouts? We recommend outfitting your home with a backup power source, like a standby generator. Automatically power your whole home during long-term outages with an onsite generator that connects to your home’s electric panel and gas line or propane tank.


With a backup power source from Kohler, you don’t have to sacrifice safety or electric stability during a brownout or blackout. Request your free consultation today and discover the difference reliable backup power makes during an outage.


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