Load shedding is back in our lives, which means an increase in risk to homeowners. Whether you’re worried about burglaries because your security system is down, or fear your electronic equipment might be damaged by power surges, the best plan of action is to prepare for all possible eventualities.
Here are 9 tips on how to protect your home from load shedding damages - without needing a generator or solar panels.
- Get back-up batteries for your alarm and gate system: Ensure that your alarm system is in a working condition and the back-up battery is fully functional to provide power to the system in the event of load shedding. Similarly, check that your garage door motor or electronic gate can function without power.
- Be safety savvy with extra lighting: Keep a torch or headlamp in your car if you arrive home at night during a power outage. Most smartphones have built-in torches or torch apps which come in handy during unexpected power outages.
- Always stay charged: Ensure your cellphone, laptop and tablet devices are fully charged ahead of scheduled blackouts. Be sure to charge them again as soon as possible after the power returns. It's also a good idea to have an emergency phone charger close by. This comes in handy during extended power outages. Here are some more ideas on charging your phone without electricity.
- Plan to stay connected: Staying connected to the internet is a great way to keep in touch with what's happening as well as for regular updates, so ensure that your mobile data stays topped up. Remember to use devices sparingly during outages so that you don't drain the battery completely before the power returns.
- Know your emergency contacts: Save emergency contact information on your phone but also keep a printed copy closeby. This should include emergency services such as the fire department, police and medical services. Also include contact information of friends and family along with your insurance information.
- Gas for cooking and lighting: Invest in a small gas bottle and lamp. It gives good quality lighting for a large area and can also be used for cooking and boiling water. It's a good idea to keep hot water in a thermal flask so that you can make hot drinks. Prepare meals beforehand if you know there's going to be a scheduled blackout.
- Stock up on bottled water: Keeping emergency water stored is easy when frozen. This frozen bottled water will help keep food cold during a power outage and will also not spoil.
- Unplug your cables: Consider any electrical connection as live during a power outage as power can return at any time. Unplug any electronic devices or equipment or switch it off at the wall, including telephone cables. This is due to the surges in power that may occur when electricity is restored.
- Back up your data: If you save important data on our home computer, consider backing it up over the internet in case of a hard drive crash or unforeseen electrical fault. Online cloud-based backups are very convenient and are mostly automated, which means that you have one less thing to worry about.
Planning for electric surges
Electric surges are one of the biggest causes of damage to equipment during a power outage. Installing a surge protection device can help minimise some damage in unforeseen situations. Have a surge protection device fitted to your electrical distribution board or alternatively at the power outlet to the electronic device.
How Santam can help during load shedding
We know that this can be a frustrating time for homeowners so we want to do everything in our power to safeguard your belongings. Consult with your broker to find out if you require any additional cover. As a Santam policyholder, you can opt for Accidental Damage cover, which covers damage caused by power surges. Santam's personal house contents section further provides cover for deterioration of contents of refrigerators but only if the load shedding exceeds 24 hours.
You can also protect fixed machinery from power surges by increasing the limited cover provided. By taking out additional power surge cover under your building insurance, this will provide peace of mind that fixed machinery – such as swimming pools, jacuzzis, boreholes, sprinkler irrigation systems and electric gates – will be covered in the event of power surge damage.
To prevent unforeseen damage and losses, it’s always a good idea to regularly review your household insurance cover. If you have any questions about your insurance cover, speak to your broker or call us on 0860 444 444.