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The Devastating Effects of a Power Outage (& What You Can Do)

Imagine waking up in the morning, rolling over and setting your feet down in a centimetre of water resting comfortably atop your bedroom carpet.

That’s a big problem. 

For thousands of people in Vancouver’s lower mainland, the symbolism rings true. Over 100,000 people were left without power at the height of the storm on November 17th, as winds gusting at over 100 km’s per hour and surging rain battered the province. 

Harsh weather is part of the deal in the Pacific Northwest. The rain is going to fall no matter what, and it’s up to us (our company, but also you, loyal reader) to take preventative action. It’s tough to preach at times like this, but the attention we’re paying to the weather right now will no doubt stir some of you to action. 

Why No Power is No Fun

Every street in North Vancouver has homes built into some sort of slope or bank that has gravity working for it on one side, and gravity working against it on the other. Some homes are built deep in the ground or below the level of surface water flow, so they have rain water coming at them from all angles. 

This is why homes have sturdy pumps to send water away from your basement and into the city’s drainage system. During and after big rainstorms, homes have to pump water every 20 seconds or the basement will flood in 5 minutes. 

These pumps are electrical. If the wind knocks a tree into your power line, a common occurrence in storms like last night’s, and your power goes out, your pump goes out and water can have its way with your basement. 

The Aftermath

We know it’s no fun when your kids lose their wifi (alright, when you lose your wifi), but there are devastating effects incurred in the aftermath of a flooded basement. Not only are personal belongings destroyed, but your home could be at risk to gas leaks and contaminants in the water such as chemicals and bacteria along for the ride in the floodwater. 

Plus, your home itself could incur structural damage, either to your frame, the drywall or the integrity of your foundation itself. We’ve been called to houses with three feet of water in the basement where everything was destroyed and the entire house needed to be gutted. 

So yeah, a flooded basement is bad news. 

What Can You Do?

Look, it’s going to be tough for families in the lower mainland if they incurred flood-related damage, but the inly way to avoid the problem is through education. 

Emergency generators are an absolute must for homes susceptible to floods. 

These systems use a programmable logic controller, or PLC. In the event of a power outage, the PLC is triggered and sends a signal to a backup generator within 15 seconds that keeps your home’s pumps operating and pumping out water even though BC Hydro power is out. 

Once power returns, an automatic transfer switch senses the electricity and switches back to BC Hydro power from the emergency generator.

16 kilowatts of power from the generator is all it takes to keep your pumps pumping, your freezer freezing and your wifi … operating. Newer homes include emergency generators but most older homes don’t know they exist. With these systems, everything happens automatically so you don’t have to run out in the middle of the rainy night in your boots to start up your backup generator. 

And that’s not even the worst case scenario.

We’re going to be busy over the next week or so, so please keep dry and give us a call if you need a hand. 

Call Perimeter Today!