A power surge can strike at any time or place. It only takes one bolt of lighting or a click of your air conditioner to cause irreversible damages to some of the items that matter to you most.
With 60-80% of power surges starting from an internal source in your home or business, it’s very possible to prevent this damage from occurring. From surge protectors in your outlets to surge protecting your whole home, there’s several ways to keep your electronics safe.
Looking to learn more about power surges? Keep reading to find out how power surges start, and what you can do to stop them in their tracks.
What is a power surge?
Simply put, a power surge is when the amount of power in your home surges to a level that exceeds the capability of your appliances. The electronics in your home are likely to only be built for handling 120 volts, fluctuating from 0 to 169 volts in a way that powers your devices evenly. During a power surge, the number of volts will increase beyond this maximum. This influx of power can cause damages, or even start a fire if severe enough. Smaller surges can be harder to notice, but can still shorten the lifespan of your electronics.
Any appliance that is plugged in is at risk for being damaged during a power surge, but some are at a greater risk than others. These include:
- Space heaters
- Incandescent light bulbs
What causes power surges?
There are two main reasons that a power surge may occur:
- Issues with appliances. Some appliances will use more electricity than others, and, upon starting up, can cause surges. Devices like air conditioners, space heaters and refrigerators can be starting points for surges when they are turned on or turned off. If the wiring in your home or business needs work, this may also be a risk factor. Even with the best appliances, faulty wiring can make for an electrical disaster.
- Lightning strike. The voltage distributed in a lightning storm creates the possibility for a power surge to happen. This can be from either direct or indirect strikes. Direct strikes, which hit your home or business directly, have the greatest potential to cause damage. Indirect strikes can impact the surrounding area around it, and, though not receiving the brunt of the hit, there can still be a great deal of electrical damage.
How can I prevent power surge damage?
The vast majority of power surge damage is preventable. By using the proper power surge protectors, you can avoid some of the worst that can come from a power surge.
Surge protectors can be plugged into your wall and used as a channel to power many of your devices at once. Be wary of purchasing a power strip instead of a surge protector, as power strips will not protect you should a surge occur. As time passes, or if a major surge strikes, surge protectors will need to be replaced to ensure that your appliances stay safe.
If you’d like to up your safety, consider a whole home surge protector. These must be installed by a trained electrician, but can do wonders to prevent damage to your home. Whole home surge protectors work by picking up any changes in the electrical current and stopping the surge in its tracks. An interesting benefit of whole home surge protectors is that your light bulbs will last 4-5 times longer thanks to the fewer smaller surges that take place!
While surge protectors are great for preventable surges, situations like lightning strikes can cause damage that surge protectors cannot stop. If a storm is coming in, be sure to unplug any major appliances. Though your surge protectors can’t prevent harm, unplugging your devices can!
Interested in installing surge protection in your home? Contact Complete Electrical.
Our electricians will help you to prevent damage seen from electrical surges.