Power Outage Caused Phone Failure

Power Outage Caused Phone Failure can Often be Prevented


Every year in the mountains near me, they have local power outages.  These can occur at anytime of the year, but are more common in the winter.  Cell phones aren’t reliable in many areas, due to the terrain.  It seems like every year I encounter someone who has had their landline phones fail during a power outage.  Every time I encounter this, I check to see why the power outage caused phone failure.

Ninety-five percent of the time, it is the type of phone that the person owns.  The other 5 percent is downed phone lines. The phone lines provide the electrical power to operate older style phones.  The problem is with wireless portable phones that require normal household electrical current to function.  The phone lines provide a much lower current than your household power.  The simple rule is, if you have to plug your phone into your homes electrical system, it will not work during a power outage.

Get an old-fashioned phone, you can find them cheap in garage sales all the time.  They will operate off the electrical power supplied by the phone company.  The phone company keeps battery backup and generators for this purpose.  This will not last indefinitely during a large prolonged blackout, but for local interruptions, you can often avoid power outage caused phone failure.

I personally feel that as the infrastructure continues to deterioration, intermittent power failures will become more common.   Getting an old phone will not solve all your communication problems but it will be one more tool in your kit.


4 thoughts on “Power Outage Caused Phone Failure can Often be Prevented”

  1. I have done this for years, and have only once had a power outage that was in concert with a phone line outage. 99% of the time, it’s just the power that’s out, and the old phone plugs in fine- I just keep it in a drawer next to the phone jack and take it out as needed.

  2. During storms or power outages, we have used CERT or Neighborhood Watch with pirtable CB, FRS, GMRS or 2-meter ham radio to stand “fire watch,” conduct welfare checks and shut-ins and to relay requests for assistance to a public safety answering point by relaying the radio call to a neighbor having a working phone. Our volunteer fire department monitors CB channel 9, and FRS1 as well as 146.52 on 2-meters, by having a volunteer listen to a scanner at the station console. If your locality has a radio amateur civil emergency service, or other citizen corps group, they may be able to assist you with training and organization. Recommended practices are posted at the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Clearing House under the search parameter CERT Radio Training Course.

  3. I’ve got one just like the one picture. Keep a good spare phone cord and handset cord for backup. I also use it to trouble shoot the phone lines. I’ve had repairmen claim our cordless system is bad and used it to prove the problem is in the line. You can also go out to the interface box on the side of your house and plug it directly.

  4. This will only work for as long as we have copper wire phone lines. Once the nationwide conversion to fiber optic is finished, you will no longer have line power available. Parts of Great Britain have reached this point and the discussion is now, who will pay for the battery backups necessary for each home to have landline phone service.

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