Charging your phone during a power outage. It might seem impossible.
With summer comes the reality that power outages can happen—possibly more than other times throughout the year. Smartphones, if fully charged, can be very helpful during outages. But if your phone isn’t at least somewhat charged, there’s only so much it can do. The good news is, there are a few hacks for charging your phone during a power outage, and there are ways to conserve the battery life you already have.
Charging Your Phone During a Power Outage
Here are some tips for charging your phone during a power outage:
Go to Your Car
This tip might seem obvious, but in a bind, you can charge your phone in your car. It’s a great power source. Most cars and trucks made in recent years have built in USB ports (sometimes two ports!) that you can plug a phone charger into. If your car doesn’t have any gas in it, you can still turn it on and charge your phone using the car battery, though this is certainly not ideal. Just charge for a few minutes, as you don’t want to kill the car battery. It would be like leaving your headlights on overnight and waking up to a car that won’t start.
And here’s a little something to note for techies and car enthusiasts alike: Kelley Blue Book reports that a new type of USB connection is becoming more common in newer cars: USB-C. It’s said to be a more user-friendly connection that can offer faster charging and data delivery. But hey, in a blackout, just getting that phone charged in your car by any USB means is most important!
Use Your Laptop
Got a laptop hanging around? If it has enough juice, you can plug your phone into the computer’s USB port and charge away. Now, it can take a while for the phone to charge and might drain your laptop’s battery, but it’s likely more important that your phone is charged than your computer during an emergency like this.
Use a Solar Charger
When it comes to emergency preparedness, consider getting a solar charger to keep in the house, and maybe another one in your car. Here’s how to use it:
You leave it in the sun and it charges up and stores the power like a battery. Then, when you need the power from it (any time, whether it’s day or night), you just plug your phone charger cable into it and the stored power charges the phone.
Check out these affordable chargers on Amazon.
Pick Up a Portable Battery Pack
These are small, portable and great to have on hand. Just make sure they’re always fully charged so they’re ready when you need them.
More Tips for Charging Your Phone During a Power Outage: Conserving Battery Life
If you don’t have any means of keeping your phone charged in a power outage, here are some ways you can help conserve the battery life that you DO have:
- Flip your phone to “Low Power Mode” or “Power Saving Mode” to conserve the phone’s battery life.
- Turn down the phone screen’s brightness.
- Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Swipe away any apps you might have open in the background.
- Use text instead of call, if possible. Phone calls use more battery than texting.
For more information about power outages, check out Con Edison’s website, which has helpful information on what to do if your power goes out and how to prepare for a power outage. The site also has an outage map where you can get information about outages reported in the service area, as well as ways to report an outage and check on its restoration status.
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