| February 14, 2024 | Medi-Products

Brownouts vs Blackouts: Protecting Clinical Samples

Electricity is an essential commodity. Arguably the most important one. An integral part of our daily lives, it helps by powering almost everything you can think of inside a medical and laboratory setting.

However, power outages are becoming an increasingly common occurrence, and they can be quite disruptive. Especially outages caused by natural weather phenomena, which have nearly doubled in occurrence since 2013.

Among these, here are two main types of power outages: blackouts and brownouts. In this article, we will discuss the differences between the two and the impact they can have on our lives.




Blackouts are usually large scale in nature and occur when there is a complete loss of power to an area. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including severe weather conditions, equipment failure, or system overload. When a blackout occurs, everything that relies on electricity grid stops functioning. This includes lights, appliances, and anything else a medical facility may need to operate as normal. Depending on the severity of the blackout, services may return in a few minutes or could be out for several days.

One of the most significant impacts of a blackout is the disruption. If the blackout occurs during the working day, it can cause businesses to shut down, and if it happens at night, it can lead to a lack of lighting and other security concerns. Blackouts can also impact critical services such as hospitals, water treatment facilities, and emergency services.

In addition to the disruption, blackouts can also cause damage to electrical equipment. When the power suddenly goes out, it can cause a surge of electricity when it comes back on, potentially damaging electronics and other electrical devices.



Brownouts are a type of power outage that is less severe than a blackout. They occur when there is a reduction in voltage to an area. Brownouts are usually the result of an overloaded power grid or power stations operating below capacity. When a brownout occurs, lights and other electrical devices may still function, but at a reduced capacity. For example, lights may dim, and motors may run slower than usual.

While brownouts may seem less severe than blackouts, they can still have a significant impact on our lives. For businesses, brownouts can cause a loss of productivity, as machines may not function correctly. For individuals, brownouts can cause appliances to run inefficiently, leading to increased energy bills.


Differences Between Blackouts and Brownouts

The main difference between blackouts and brownouts is the severity of the outage. Blackouts are a complete loss of power, while brownouts are a reduction in voltage. Blackouts are more severe and can cause more disruption than brownouts. However, both types of outages can have a significant impact on our lives and the economy.


Learn more about protecting vaccines during an emergency power outage. With our new “Planning Guide”
Learn more about protecting vaccines during an emergency power outage. With our new “Planning Guide”


Causes of Power Outages

Power outages can occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes include:

  1. Weather: Severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, thunderstorms, and snowstorms can cause power outages. High winds and heavy precipitation can cause trees and power lines to fall, leading to power outages.
  2. Equipment Failure: Electrical equipment such as transformers, switchgear, and circuit breakers can fail, leading to power outages. Equipment failure can occur due to wear and tear, age, or improper maintenance.
  3. Overload: When the demand for electricity exceeds the capacity of the power grid, it can lead to overload and, ultimately, a power outage. This can occur during periods of extreme heat or cold, when everyone is using their air conditioning or heating.
  4. Animals: Animals such as squirrels, birds, and snakes can cause power outages by coming into contact with power lines and transformers.


Steps for Preventing Power Outages

Battery backup systems offer instant and automatic power for both medical and laboratory appliances alike. As a result, no staff needs to be on-site to keep track of or start the generator, plus, valuable samples and inventory will remain safe—with no extra work required.

Additionally, their vertical, cabinet-like design and leak-proof batteries mean they can be installed in even the tightest spaces and oriented in anyway to make them fit. Plus, if your lab or storage room is truly tight on space, a hardwired backup power unit can instantly supply remote power to your appliance—directly via the outlet its already plugged into.

Regardless of what kind of system is the best fit, they ensure that your entire stock of biomedical and chemical samples are protected from a sudden loss of power (and the resulting temperature excursions) by guaranteeing a seamless transition from utility power to backup power.

Learn more about protecting vaccines during an emergency power outage. With our new “Planning Guide”
Learn more about protecting vaccines during an emergency power outage. With our new “Planning Guide”

Even better, is that battery generators can be outfitted with as much power as you want. So system’s can be designed with enough power to protect a facility’s inventory: 

  • Overnight
  • All day
  • Over a weekend
  • Or even for a whole week.

So, to protect your facility from tens of thousands of dollars in lost inventory speak to a Medi-Products battery backup expert.

battery-on-site-1They’ll help design you a system that both meets your power needs and will fit inside your facility—for a much lower cost than what your vaccines are worth. So a backup power system pays for itself the first time your power goes out.

Designing a system for you is as easy as taking a picture of your appliance’s nameplate, and a photo of the room where it’s in.

Then, you just email both photos to our Product experts, and we’ll provide you with multiple options for backup power protection.

For more information contact: 1.800.7653237

Battery Backup for Vaccine Refrigerators and Freezers.

Our powerful battery backup systems will instantly power multiple appliances during a power outage. These custom sized systems can provide power for up to 72 hours of runtime!