What is an Electrical Brown Out?

Have you ever experienced a time when your lights seemed dimmer than normal or you couldn’t get the kettle to boil? What you were experiencing may have been an electrical brown out.

Brown outs often occur during storms, high winds or heat waves when the grid is put under abnormal stress. The effect you experience in your home is due to a loss in voltage. Most appliances are used to working at 240v so when they receive less than this it can affect the way they function.

So what should you do in an electrical brown out?

Unplug your appliances!

Some appliances can be damaged if they are used while the voltage coming into your home is reduced. When the issue is resolved in the grid the power can return with a surge which can also cause irreparable damage to your appliances. So unplug as many appliances as you can – particularly the big ticket items that would be expensive to replace such as the fridge, computer, and TV. If you can’t get to the socket to unplug the item you can always turn off the circuit in the switchboard.

You should be ok to run a few lights and this can actually help you recognise when the power has returned to normal.

Sit back and ride it out.

As the issue is with the electricity grid there is not much you can do to get your power back to normal. You can try contacting your local electricity distributor to alert them to the issue and obtain an estimated time for repair. Other than that you will just have to wait it out and hope your power is restored as soon as possible!

If you are concerned that the issue you are experiencing is because of a fault in your home rather than due to a brown out you should contact your local electrician. If you are in Melbourne you can call Captain Electric on 1300 445 996 for advice and assistance.