JANURARY 28, 2022
The power goes out, and while you likely have your usual stash of flashlights and batteries in a convenient spot, have you considered alternative energy sources for your alarm system, security cameras, and motion sensors? If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfalls in winter, large amounts of rain in the summer, or local electric grid issues throughout the year, make sure you and your security system are prepared when the lights and the WiFi go out.
A power failure can be a real bummer, especially if you have an electric-powered and WiFi-enabled home alarm system — or if you’re in the middle of bingeing your favorite show. Netflix aside, is your security system prepared for a power outage? Do your security cameras have a battery backup? And what about those outdoor motion-enabled lights or glass break sensors? Having the right equipment in place means it’s easy to keep your home security system up and running during a blackout.
Wired and wireless home alarm systems
If you want your home security to remain fully operational during a power failure, you may be in luck. Both wired and wireless systems that include battery-powered security cameras remain steadfast during a power outage. Most systems rely on 12-volt batteries that can keep your system up and running anywhere from a few hours to an entire day. These batteries generally last about three to four years, but regularly check or recharge them to make sure they’re ready to go.
Wi-Fi routers and modems
Keep in mind that even if your home security runs on backup batteries, your WiFi routers and modems that help the system communicate may not work. Add a WiFi or router battery backup and surge protector combo to your power outage kit. These options aren’t built for extended power outages, but they can bridge the gap during a power failure that lasts a few hours.
Z-Wave battery-powered devices
Z-Wave devices, which may include thermostats, light bulbs, garage doors, and smoke detectors, operate on similar radio wave frequencies as your home’s WiFi. However, they transmit from individual, standalone units directly to your system’s control hub, essentially bypassing a modem or the internet. That means when the power goes out, your system’s transmission may still work. As an added bonus, the standard Z-Wave battery or device typically lasts multiple years.
Landlines and cellular
Traditional wired telephones are becoming a thing of the past. Unlike their modern counterparts, landlines do work during a blackout. Cutting phone lines is an easy way for burglars to disarm a security system, but a landline is a great method to power your system during a power failure. And, since most homeowners are phasing out this low-tech method, some burglars may not even look for landlines.
You probably have flashlights, candles, and a battery-powered radio, but here are a few additional items to put in your power outage kit or to keep your home running smoothly during a power failure:
Invest in a generator. These gas- or propane-powered machines can power air conditioners, fridges, fans, and charge your devices during a power outage.
Store water for emergencies. A good rule of thumb is to store three gallons of water per person for three days, both for drinking and sanitation. Keep water in a cool, dark location, such as a crawl space or garage, and away from electrical wires and outlets.
Purchase a portable power station. These units can be pre-charged electrically or via solar energy. Look for backup power options that include a variety of outlets to help power your home and your devices.
Stock up on additional items. Have canned fruits, vegetables, meats, and other nonperishable foods on hand. It's also a good idea to keep items like books, board games, or a deck of cards in your power outage kit, so you can pass the time, especially with kids in the house.
Visit the Brinks Home™ Blog to learn more about keeping your home safe and secure no matter the situation.
Jason Stevens is a senior writer for Brinks Home. He is a "tech guy" who enjoys sharing home security and automation tips with others.
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