Also known as voltage surges, electrical power surges are quick and temporary spikes in voltage within an electrical circuit. The occurrence of these surges is unavoidable and happens when something boosts the circuit’s electrical charge at some point. This particular boost increases the current that flows into or within your home’s electrical wiring thus affecting the appliances, lighting as well as other electrical equipment in your home. Power surges can be as a result of many different factors including lightning, faulty electrical wiring or even sudden turning on or off of a high power electrical appliances such as a large electric motor or your HVAC.
It is estimated that more than half of household electrical power surges are internal. Such surges occur a couple of times, especially when your home devices with motors either start up or shut off, diverting energy to and from other devices. In this regard, air conditioners and perhaps refrigerators are the biggest casualties, even though other smaller devices such as hair dryers can equally cause problems. On the other hand, external power surges, which commonly stem from outside your property, are usually caused by a tree limb touching a power line, a small animal getting trapped into a transformer or lighting striking a particular utility equipment.
Why should you worry about electrical power surges?
Your home contains lots of items that are susceptible to power surges. As such, anything that has a microprocessor is especially vulnerable since they are incredibly sensitive that even a small power fluctuation of a 10-volt can potentially disrupt its normal functioning. Microprocessors are found in some household items such as cordless phones, refrigerators, washing machines, computers, as well as TVs. Large power surges caused by lightning strikes might cause massive damage such as frying circuits and the melting of plastic parts. Simply put, power surges can lead to cases of fire.
How can you protect your home appliances from incidences of power surges?
First and foremost, it is crucial to note that even the typical surge protector is not adequate to protect your appliances and electronics from a lightning strike. This means that the best thing you can always do is to unplug all your electrical devices during raging electrical storms. However, if you are residing in an area prone to faulty wiring, you should invest in a surge protector.
Point-of-use surge machines for surge protection, integrated with excellent grounding system can potentially protect your electrical appliances and electronics from even the most damaging power surges. It is worth mentioning that surge protection devices do not either arrest or suppress a surge, but typically diverts the surge successfully to the ground
Possible approaches to surge protection.
- Point-of-use devices can provide protection to your appliances in your house, but for a more practical and effective approach to an adequate protection is to integrate point-of-use protection devices with another device such as a service entrance a power panel surge protector. By using two-tier surge protection, you’ll probably protect your entire home from the dangers of even some of the most powerful electrical surges.
- Surge entrance protection devices typically mount on your primary power panel or even at the base of your electrical meter. This particular approach provides protection for the whole of your electrical system, including appliances such as light switches, outlets, motors, etc.
What should you look for when choosing the most efficient surge protector?
It is imperative to note there are numerous and different surge protection devices on the market, and this implies that the prospect of choosing the best that fits the needs of your home can be an awful experience. However, the general rule is always that the bigger the device, the better. In this regard, large refers to the Joule ratings, and this is the capacity of the surge protector to absorb electrical spikes.
For maximum protection, you should look for a device that lists at least six hundred joules or higher. If you didn’t know, anything lower than that might not be sufficient especially if your home usually experiences regular power spikes or you are planning to plug several devices into the strip. The most effective type of surge protection should be a whole house surge protector. It refers to a single device which connects to your primary electrical panel, thus protecting your entire home. These devices reduce the surge that occurs when lightning strikes your home or even if spikes happen in your main electrical line.
As always, you should contact your local electrician who has adequate knowledge regarding the installation of electrical surges.