Skip to Content

Difference Between Power Brownout and Blackout

Difference Between Power Brownout and Blackout

Are your lights dimming all the time? How about strange times that make no sense? Are you wondering the difference between power brownout and blackout?

On Average a power brownout is when your power utility can not keep up with the demand to generate enough power. This is due to high demand load on the grid. This causes your lights to go dim or appear to be brown. A Blackout is just that, when the power goes out all together.

1.What Is The Difference Between Power Brownout and Blackout?

The difference between a power blackout and a power brown out.

A power brown out is when there is an excessive load on the utility grid.

This causes a drop in voltage on the powerlines.

Because of this you will see lights dimming which is why it’s referred to as a brown out.

This happens in larger cities and areas that have very large demand load during peak times and then enough power generation to satisfy it.

A power blackout exactly that.

It’s when you have an actual power outage either personal or complete porridge. This is usually due to bad weather or problems with utility service line going down. Storms can cause this issue and even a power loss event.

2.How To Tell Difference Between Power Brownout and Blackout

Where the power brown out he will often see lights browning out or diiming.

You will also hear things like your fridge not working properly.

Or other appliances being sluggish.

This is due to the voltage drop of the brown out.

As the characteristics and voltage are not there to meet the requirements of the devices that are hooked to them.

With the power black out obviously if it’s a full black out then you’re in the dark.

If you have a portion in a black out or a personal loss of power to your home, then this is where it gets strange.

If you lose one leg or 120volts of your 240 volts coming into your home.

You will notice that somethings work and other things do not.

This is due to the way the circuitry divide it up in your home.

You will notice that maybe some lights work and others don’t and as well as plugs switches in appliances.

3.Difference Between Power Brownout and Blackout

How Often Can A Blackout Happen?

The amount of times at blackout can happen really depends on your power utility.

It also depends on the weather.

Obviously large wind storms or lightning storms can affect it.

In addition to this if your power utility does not do the proper maintenance on the lines this can also cause more frequent frequent blackouts.

Tree trimming is another important factor into determining blackouts.

If proper tree trimming or funding is not supplied for tree trimming by your two utility then every time the wind blows the lights will go out.

Trees on powerlines are the number one cause for blackouts.

4.Difference Between Power Brownout and Blackout Why Is It Called A Brownout?

An actual brown out is exactly what you think this was term the coin brown out before LED light fixtures and LED bulbs were mass produced.

A basic old style incandescent lightbulb when you apply less voltage would actually appear to be brown and the term brown out.

And example of this on a smaller scale if you have insufficient power supply in your small neighborhood or you’re at the end of a powerline.

The guy up the road turns on his AC you’ll notice your lights dim down.

This is common and this is why it is referred to as a brown out.

If you were experiencing brownouts then you should contact your poke local power utility to address the issue.

5.Difference Between Power Brownout and Blackout-Will a Brownout Hurt My Electronics?

Yes brownouts will hook hurt your electronics.

Electronics are very sensitive to variances in voltage.

Things like TVs, computers, microwaves or anything with an electronic digital display can be affected by this.

It is recommended to have search bars or proper search protectors installed to help with this issue. Surge protectors can protect against minor variance is like brownouts and voltage deviances.

6.What Can I Do To Stop A Brownout From Happening?

The only way you can really stop a blackout or around it from happening is to contact your local power utility and tell them that this issue was happening.

You may need to stay consistent on this matter is different local power utilities have different regulations.

It may be beneficial for you to get your insurance company involved as well or report the issue to your insurance company so that they can contact your utility provider as well.

7.What Causes A Blackout?

A blackout or a complete power loss is caused by two primary reasons.

Lack of maintenance is usually the number one reason to the power distribution system.

Due to his lack of maintenance it makes the electrical lines more vulnerable during wind storms.

Trees can lay over powerlines and caused the issue to black out.

8.What Is A Rolling Blackout?

A rolling blackout is when the infrastructure of the electrical system or distribution system is in adequate. This usually happens when their generator or generation problems at the power plant.

This results in rolling blackouts in areas if the demand is too high and they cannot keep up.

They do this rather to avoid brownout situation when they can not keep up with the demand.

9.Will A Surge Protector Help My Electronics?

Surge protector is a great idea either individual surge protectors or whole home surge protection.

A surge protector can help with minor deficiencies in the electrical distribution system.

This will protect against voltage variances are voltage spikes to the brown outs caused by your electrical distributor.

This will save your sensitive electronic equipment which can be costly to replace.

Although individual search protectors or power bars can help on individual appliances they are still not as good as a whole home surge protector.

A whole home surge protector that mounts right in your electrical panel and hardwire under a breaker.

These will take instantaneous surge to protect everything in the house and the whole panel.

Keep in mind that surge protectors generally do not protect against lightning strikes, only small fluctuations in the electrical line coming in from the utility.

9.What About Alternative Energy?

Alternative energy meeting solar wind power or Hydro power is taking matters into your own hands.

Alternative means you have an alternative energy source to the grid.

This would mean you would be your own power supplier.

In most cases this is not always the best option although viable more main stream these days.

The upfront cost to get an alternative energy system installed for your home could be greatly if you were off grid.

On grid alternative energy will not save you in a power outage. It needs or required to shut down during a power outage so you’ll get no energy from the system if you have a blackout or brownout.

10.Can I Use A Generator?

You can use a generator during a power block out however this can be cumbersome.

If you have a manual start generator then you’ll have to keep an eye on it. If you have rolling blackouts or intermittent blackouts this big can become a nuisance.

Typically if you were going to use a generator is a backup power supply and we recommend having an automated generator with an automatic transfer switch.

This instantaneously will check to see if there is any power loss on utility line and transfer over to a generator.

Typically the style generators are much larger from 15 kW and up.

They’re usually permanently mounted generators which have a source of propane or diesel.

Permanently mounted auto start generators can become very costly very quickly.

Check with your local licensed electrician to see what kind of rate you will be paying for a back up generator.

Where back up generators are instantaneous we recommend an inverter driven generator so that you do not have any fluctuations in the voltage on line coming in for the generator.

If you like this article then you can find out more on our recommended products page on what we recommend for search protectors and generator systems.

11.Should I unplug my refrigerator during a brownout?

Short answer: Yes

A power brownout is when your power utility can not keep up with the demand to generate enough power. This is due to high demand load on the grid. This causes your lights to go dim or appear to be brown. A Blackout is just that, when the power goes out all together.

The Short-term effects of a brownout are minimal, but more importantly, you will end up with a possible freezer burn effect if you do not unplug it during this time. A power brownout lasts around 3 hours and usually happens in the evening or late at night near 11pm and midnight.

In order to avoid this effect make sure that you unplug your refrigerator before leaving for work or school during a power blackout event.

If you do not want to take any chances on this matter make sure that you plan ahead and remove your fridge from the circuit breaker box (this should ideally be done during an electrical inspection).

12.Can a brownout damage PC?

A power brownout is when your power utility can not keep up with the demand to generate enough power. This is due to high demand load on the grid. This causes your lights to go dim or appear to be brown. A Blackout is just that, when the power goes out all together.

A brownout does not damage your PC, but if you have a desktop computer and it needs a surge protector, then this could be damaged by the brownout. If you have a laptop computer and it needs that surge protection as well then it could be damaged by this too.

13.What should I unplug during a brownout?

When you have a power brownout, it’s important to unplug anything that’s not used in your home or office. This includes things such as computers, televisions, and chargers.

If you’re away from home during a power brownout, then there are other things to consider. It’s important to turn off all the inside lights and any electronics that will draw power while you’re gone. These include things like the refrigerator and oven. And if you have outside lights on, make sure those are turned off too so that they don’t draw power when the grid can’t keep up with demand.

If you have an emergency generator, be sure not to overload it by using too many appliances at once or turning on more than one at a time. Once your electricity comes back on, reset everything back to its original settings before using again.

14.Can a brownout damage electronics?

It depends on the type of electronics. A Blackout will not damage a laptop or tablet, but a power brownout can damage them.

If your laptop does not have surge protection, it may be affected by a brownout. If your computer has a battery backup system and you cannot get it to turn on, this could be an early sign that your system has been damaged from the power brownout.

Power surges will also cause damages to electronics if they’re not properly protected; such as when you are using a printer with no surge protector connected to the outlet.

If your computer is plugged in and powered on before the brown out starts, there is a chance that it will protect itself from harm.

15.Can a brownout damage air conditioner?

A brownout (also known as a blackout) is when your power utility can not keep up with the demand to generate enough power. This is due to high demand load on the grid. This causes your lights to go dim or appear to be brown, and will cause any electronics that run on electricity to shut off.

Yes, a brownout can damage an air conditioner if the air conditioner runs solely on electricity (or uses electric motors). It’s important that you have enough power in your home or business so that it doesn’t shut down during one of these periods of low power output.

Bottom line, you can protect from brownouts with surge protectors. here are some we recommend.