My power is out in my beach home, what should I do? Can you help?

This… depends! Its always a bummer to lose power, whether at home, or at the beach. No AC, no internet, no tv… better head to the beach, or out to dinner, I suppose, but what can you do? Well, again… it depends…

Losing power is no fun. We know. We’ve had it happen to us too of course. Step one, how widespread is the “outage”?

On what does it depend Rick? Well, on whether its a power outage to just a part of your place, or all of it, and if all of it, does it affect homes around you too?

Power is out all over my beach home, now what?

First, if it seems like power is out to the entire home (and possibly ones around you), then this is like an area power outage at home, and its up to the service provider to get it up and running. Do you have to report it? Probably not, especially if you check the outage map below and see one in your area, and Baldwin EMC makes it a little challenging for guests to do so… BUT you can check the area for outages simply by going to this Interactive Outage Report from Baldwin EMC (the provider for the entire area):

Note: if the map doesn’t load in your browser, just click the link. Some browsers will not allow embedded sites to display based on security settings.

So, if there are already reports in the area, you are probably all set and just need to check them from time to time to see if they are resolved. You can try to call them to report the outage but we have found they usually require account info that you won’t have…. (251) 989-6247 (24 hours a day).

Please note loss of power due to an area power outage is NOT AN EMERGENCY and you should NOT call and trigger the emergency call line at the BamaBeachHouses office for such an event. This would ring multiple people at any hour of the day, none of whom can do anything about an area wide outage. The better thing is to check if its reported, and report it yourself too if you want to be sure its in the Baldwin EMC queue. You can also email or text us the situation so we are aware abd can assist.

Note: A power line down across the home is a true emergency that you should call Baldwin EMC and 911: see the next section.

A word about downed power lines

Per Baldwin EMC: Never touch or approach a downed power line. Always assume a downed power line is live and dangerous! Call Baldwin EMC immediately at (251) 989-6247 or (800) 837-3374. If you receive an automated message, please leave a message providing the location of the downed line. Then call 911 and report the line to them.

A few bonus things power providers have to say about steps to take during a power outage.

Your electricity provider is committed to providing you reliable electric service. But situations such as storms, accidents, animals or construction-related incidents can cause power outages. If this happens, they will mobilize crews to get your service safely restored as quickly as reasonably possible.

If your power goes out, check to see if your neighbors have power. If your home is the only one without power, check your circuit breakers or fuses (Hey, we talk about that next!) to determine if the outage is a result of a household problem. Do not assume they automatically know about your outage. Please contact them especially if you do not see your area on our outage report, (251) 989-6247 (24 hours a day).

Protect Your Appliances
Turn off lights and as many appliances and electronics as possible – including heating or air conditioning systems. You will help prevent circuit overload situations when your power is restored. You will also reduce the potential for damage to sensitive equipment such as computers, microwave ovens, televisions and recording devices.

Keep Food Safe
Help protect your food during a power outage by keeping your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. Your refrigerator should keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer should hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours if the door stays closed (about 24 hours if it is half full). Make sure you have items on hand that do not require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on an outdoor grill.

To learn more about keeping food safe during a power outage, visit the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site.

What if only part of my power is out in my Bama Beach House? GFCIs, and circuit breakers are the usual culprit.

If all of your power is out, its probably a power outage. If power is out to some of your outlets, then let’s do some testing, and watch a great video on it!

Tripped GFCIs

This is really just a variation on tripped breakers. Many circuits in a home (especially the kitchen, bathrooms, and outside outlets) have what’s called a GFCI (or GFI). Its a “ground fault (circuit) interrupter”. The GFCI is a device that shuts off an electric power circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, such as through water or a person. That’s a good thing! GFIs can trip for a variety of reasons and they kill the power to the circuit until the GFI is reset.To reset it, you have to find an outlet that has two buttons on it: test and reset. It will also most likely have a glowing yellow/orange light when it is tripped. Push reset.

If it immediately trips again, try unplugging stuff from the area and resetting it. If you find that it doesn’t trip after you unplug something, then there is likely something wrong with that device. It is also possible for outlets or lights to end up with a ground or neutral wire move and touching something else, creating an “unintended path.” If resetting doesn’t fix the issue and you can’t find a problem device, then submit a ticket by sending us a text or email and we can have an electrician come out and check it. Note, resetting a GFCI is like home-dweller 101, basic stuff.

gfci in bamabeachhouse beach house Gulf Shores

GFCI with tell-tale yellow light indicating it is tripped. Hit Reset.

Tripped Breakers

Ah, so, in most cases, if some, but not all, of your houses/apartments power is out, you have most likely tripped a breaker. Perhaps too much stuff was plugged into an outlet, or a surge caused an overload. Find your circuit breaker panel (in the beach homes its often behind a door in a bedroom or laundry area), and see if one of the breakers is partially flipped back. If so, push it all the way off, then all the way back on, and see what happens. It should reset the part of the house without power. If it trips again, then a couple things can be going on. The most likely is that something attached to that breaker is shorting out and caused it to trip. In rarer cases, a breaker can be bad, but this is not very frequent.

This video covers everything from the GFCI to circuit breakers, and a bit more.

circuit breaker beach house BamaBeachHouses Gulf Shores

Circuit panel. Look for a breaker that is either off, or partially off, then push it all the way off, then back on.

Lost Phase

There is also a very rare situation where power can be apparently out in part of your house and it is still the energy provider’s responsibility. Its possible for something to happen to one “leg” of the line (“one phase”) to your home, causing the home to essentially operate on half the voltage. If this happens, most lamps and similar devices will still work, but big appliances that require more juice will not…. Yes, I had this happen on my home…

If power is out for part of your home and you can’t figure it out, just open a ticket by sending us a text or email (be sure to note the exact home/unit, your name, and a brief description of the issue) and we will have an electrician come check it out.