What Exactly is a Brownout? | Lancaster Electrical

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What Exactly is a Brownout?

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Every summer, you hear the term "brownout" thrown around when it gets too hot out. You've heard of blackouts,
but are brownouts something similar or different?


A brief interruption of power service where the electric power is either
reduced or restricted.

How it Compares

Since a brownout only sees a reduction in power, all power is not lost.
There is a low-level supply of electric power still available to most,
unlike a blackout where all power is cut for everyone in a specific vicinity.
A brownout is also considered to be the opposite of a power surge since
it is a sudden reduction of power rather than a sudden spike.


The most common cause of a brownout is when the electrical grid becomes
overloaded with requests for power. During the summer, many people stay
inside and run their air conditioners for extended periods time. In addition,
they will also be inside using their everyday electronics and appliances.
Sometimes the utilities will sense that a blackout will occur so they
will intentionally reduce the power to prevent one. This will allow for
reserves of power to begin building up once again.

When it Happens

When a brownout occurs it can be just as dangerous to your electronics
and appliances as a power surge can be. When these pieces of technology
receive too little or too much power, damage to them can occur. Turn off
all power strips and begin unplugging all electronics and appliances,
not in use. This is also a good way to see if the brownout is affecting
your city, or if you're just using too much power in your own home.

Knowing what a brownout is can help you protect your home when one does
occur. If your home's electrical system is damaged during a brownout,
blackout, or power surge, contact the pros at
Lancaster Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 717-207-8198.

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