What Happens to Water When the Power Goes Out? 4+ Essential Facts

water during power outage

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Oh no! The power went out in your area. You can’t enjoy electronic entertainment, and now you have to take measures to save your perishable food. You may be wondering if you have access to running water during a power outage. 

Does water go out when the power goes out? This phenomenon depends on specific factors, so let’s highlight three essential facts to understand how a power outage will affect your access to water depending on your water connection. 

Well Water Pumps Run on Electricity 

If your water is sourced from a well, this is the only way that electricity powers a water supply. Water well pumps get water from how the hose is connected to the ground.

The pumps work only when electricity works. Hence, if you have well water, you will not have access to running water if the power goes out in your area. 

Studies show that 18% of electricity in the United States powers various appliances such as water well pumps. This equates to about 1600 kWh per year for every home in the nation. 

If your home gets water from the city’s main lines, you can still have access to running water during a power outage. However, it’s not going to be hot water. 

Well Water Recipients Need To Take Precautions

Homeowners with a well water connection should heed precautions if the power goes out. Switch off the main circuit breaker to prevent an electrical surge when the power turns back on.

Turn off the main valve so that no stored water comes into your during the power outage. 

Electric Hot Water Heaters Do Not Work When the Power Is Out

Some water heaters run on electricity. If you have an electric-powered water heater, you will only have access to cold running water during a power outage as long as you do not have well water.

An electric water heater cannot provide you with hot water without a proper electrical connection. 

However, if your home has a gas-powered water heater, you and your family members will have access to hot water during a power outage. 

Water Purification Systems Could Be Down

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cautions people experiencing power outages in their area that the local water purification systems could be down during that time. Hence, do not drink tap water directly from your faucet during this time, as it could make you sick. 

Instead, boil your water before using it for cooking and drinking. Alternatively, you can purchase bottled water from your local grocery store for drinking and cooking.

If you have access to it, use a water purification system that is directly connected to your kitchen faucet to get clean water for cooking and drinking. 

Tips for Effectively Using Water During a Power Outage

What should you do to gain access to your water well during a power outage? What should you do if you still have access to hot water that runs on city main lines? Let’s find out with some of these tips highlighted below. 

Use Hot Water Source Sparingly 

You do not know how long the power is going to be out, whether for a few hours, many days, or multiple weeks. Power outages depend on how long a natural disaster or storm lasts, the availability of electricians in your area, and how many down power lines need to be repaired. 

If you have a gas-powered water heater, keep your showers quick and do not run hot water for extended periods, such as when you wash dishes.

Use only the hot water you need without wasting it because your gas-powered water heater can only provide so much of it. 

Get a Back-up Electricity Source

WEN DF475T Dual Fuel 120V/240V Portable Generator with Electric Start Transfer Switch Ready, 4750-Watt, CARB Compliant

Have a generator charged up and ready to go in your garage or a designated location in your home, so it’s prepared for use during a power outage.

If it is a gas-powered generator, then have backup fuel tanks ready to power it once the first tank runs out. 

Depending on how many gallons of gas the generator can hold at once, it can last for a couple of thousand hours, which is about 83 days.

Of course, every generator will last for a specific capacity depending on how much gas is in one tank. 

Running a backup generator means you can still have access to water if you run on a well and hot water if you have an electric water heater.

Plus, you have an extended time frame of what life is normally like with the power on. Of course, if your generator goes out before the power is back on, you may have to charge it via a car charger if it has that capability. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does water go out when the power goes out? We gave you the pertinent facts about what happens to run water during a power outage. Here are answers to your frequently asked questions about the topic to learn more. 

Can you shower when the power is out?

As long as your home does not run on well water, you can take a shower when the power is out. It may have to be a cold shower if you have an electric-powered water heater. However, you are in luck and can have a warm shower even during a power outage with a gas-powered water heater. 

Can you flush the toilet during a power outage?

If your water is connected via city main lines, you can safely flush the toilet when the power is out. However, you will not be able to flush your toilet like normal if you have a well water connection. Those with well water can manually flush away bodily waste by pouring a bucket of water down the drain. 

Why is there no water when there is no electricity?

Well pumps utilize electricity to work. Hence, homeowners with a well water connection will not have access to water if the power is out. 

If the power goes out, do you still get water?

If there is a power outage, you can still get water as long as your home is connected to the city’s main water lines. As long as your water source does not rely on electricity, such as a water well pump, you can still enjoy running water during a power outage. 

What is the best way to get water if the power goes out?

The best way to get water while the power is out depends on your situation. 

If you have well water without access to a generator, get gallons of water from your local grocery store to use for drinking, cooking, bathing, and manually flushing your toilet. If you have water from the city’s main lines, the best way to get water would be to utilize the running water already coming into your home. 

Why do you fill your bathtub with water during a power outage?

If no one is showering, fill your bathtub with water as a temporary supply source. Fill buckets with water from the tub to dump into the toilet to manually flush it, if necessary. Boil some of the water in saucepots and let them cool before bottling them up for drinking. 

Does water flow when power is out?

Water still flows when the power is out, although the availability may vary depending on the water source. In homes connected to the local water supply, cold water should still be accessible through the faucets. However, individuals relying on an electric pump to draw water from a well may experience a temporary loss of water during a power outage.

Why do I lose water when I lose power?

When you lose power, you lose water because the electric pump in your well, which is responsible for extracting water and bringing it into your home, becomes inoperable. If you are on a municipal water supply, you will only lose water when the power goes off if the outage affects the municipal water treatment.

How long does food last in fridge without power?

The food in a fridge can last without power for up to 4 hours if the refrigerator doors are kept closed. In a full freezer, the food can stay safe for up to 48 hours, while in a half-full freezer, it can last for 24 hours.

Can you use gas stove when power is out?

Gas stoves cannot be used when the power is out, except for older models. However, it is important to check the manual of your gas stove to determine if it has an interlock feature. The interlock feature ensures that no gas enters the appliance unless there is electricity.

How does a water heater work without electricity?

Gas water heaters can operate without electricity by utilizing a constantly burning pilot light. In the event of a power outage, the gas water heater will still function as long as the pilot light remains lit. The pilot light is initially ignited by an electric spark, which is generated by the connection between the electric power and the gas water heater. However, once the pilot light is successfully lit, it will continue to burn without the need for electricity.

Can I flush the toilet when the power is out?

The toilet can be flushed even during a power outage as it does not rely on electricity for operation. However, it is important to note that a functioning toilet does require water to operate effectively. Therefore, if the water supply is temporarily shut off, it may pose a challenge in flushing the toilet.

How long will food last in fridge without power?

The food in a fridge will last for up to 4 hours without power if the refrigerator and freezer doors are kept closed. In a full freezer, the food can stay safe for up to 48 hours, while in a half-full freezer, it can last for up to 24 hours.

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