A power surge is a fairly common occurrence and could happen at any given time. In most cases, power surges can be very brief and small for homeowners to notice them. But, that does not mean that the damage is not taking place. Small frequent power surges can wear on your appliances internal components which can significantly shorten their lifespan.
While it can be unavoidable, you can take some measures to prevent the damages caused by power surges and every homeowner should take this opportunity. Read on to find out how you can ensure that your home is protected when a power surge occurs.
What is a Power Surge?
A power surge refers to the sudden or abnormal spike in the flow of electric current in your home. It can be a very brief occurrence but may still cause a considerable amount of damage to your home, gadgets, and appliances.
Some of the common sources of a power surge at home are the following:
- They can originate from the electric service provider, typically during a power grid switching.
- When major appliances like refrigerators and air-conditioning units are turned on or off. High-power equipment demands a bigger amount of energy to power on or off its components such as the motors and compressors and the switching creates abrupt, rapid demands for energy which in turn upsets the steady voltage flow in the electrical system.
- Lightning. During a lightning storm excess voltage may enter your home through existing power or cable lines that can cause an electrical surge.
- Downed power lines and faulty transformers
- Faulty electrical wirings that can cause uneven flow of current.
How Do Power Surges Cause Damage?
A power surge can deliver excess amounts of voltage in the electrical circuit which generates heat in the electrical components. A strong burst of power surge can instantly burn or scorch circuit boards and sensitive appliances such as computers. At the same time, even smaller power surges that don’t seem to cause immediate and noticeable damages can be the source of wear and tear and slowly damage the electronic components of your appliances, ultimately decreasing their lifespan.
How to Avoid Power Surge At Home
Our appliances at home have helped make our lives easier and more convenient. Frequent power surges can shorten the lifespan of these valuable appliances. Below are some of the ways you can protect your home from power surges:
- Invest in a whole house surge protection system.
A whole house surge suppression unit works by automatically shutting off the power and redirecting the excess voltage to the ground wire. These units are typically installed at the service entrance or load center of your home and a licensed electrician can help install it for you to protect your home from power surges.
- Use of SPDs or Point-of-source Protection Devices.
While SPD’s won’t actually suppress electrical surges, they can prevent most damage from an electrical surge by diverting the surge to the ground.
- Ensure your home has a good grounding system.
This is an important feature since most surge protectors work by redirecting the surge into the ground line.
- Install surge protection outlets and power strips
Even with a whole house surge suppressor, there can still be a tendency for a power surge to affect sensitive appliances that are susceptible to power surge damages. To enhance your surge protection, you can install power strips to sensitive appliances such as your computers.
- Be smart about where you plug your devices.
As mentioned earlier, high-power devices can cause energy fluctuations when turned on before settling at a lower wattage. To protect your delicate appliances like your computers, it is best that you plug them in separate outlets. In other words, you should avoid plugging your large appliances and sensitive devices together in a way that they are sharing the same power in the outlet. This puts your sensitive appliances at risk of electric surge damage coming from the large appliances.
Choosing the Best Surge Protection for Your Home
It only takes one major power surge to bring costly damages into your home. Investing in a good surge protection for your home far outweighs the cost and the hassle in the aftermath of a damaging sudden power strike. Installing an entire house surge protector can offer protection and give you security and peace of mind knowing that your whole household is covered.
When choosing for the right surge protector for your home, check out its Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rating and expiration date. UL is the oldest independent nonprofit organization that tests products and technologies for safety before they are marketed. Also, check if your surge protector can handle at least 600 joules. Look for surge protectors that have some sort of an indicator that will notify you of surge protection failure. Finally, to get the most out of the benefits of these surge protectors, it’s a good idea to have a licensed electrician install them for you.