A power surge is a sudden spike in voltage that could have a negative impact on electrical appliances and devices plugged into outlets or extension cords. Power surges are common but don’t have to cause worry if you have a surge protector.
Most home electrical systems operate at 120 volts, with an alternating electrical current that rises and falls between 0 volts and 169 volts. Electrical appliances and devices are built to withstand up to 169 volts, but anything greater can cause an arc of electrical current that could create heat and damage electronic components and circuit boards. Even a small power surge will gradually shorten the life of electrical appliances.
Causes of Power Surges
A power surge can occur when electronic devices with motors and compressors are turned on or off, interrupting the flow of electricity to other appliances. This may often occur with hair dryers, space heaters, power tools, and large appliances.
An outdated electrical system and faulty wiring is unstable and more likely to cause power surges. Older homes are at increased risk.
Lightning strikes are a common cause of power surges that could instantly ruin plugged in electrical devices. The electricity from lightning strikes could enter through a satellite dish cable or electrical service lines.
Fallen tree branches, car accidents, and wildlife that take down or interfere with power lines can cause power outages. Once the power is restored, the excess electricity can cause a power surge.
- Purchase and install a surge protector.
A whole-house surge protector is designed to shut off power during a power surge and redirect the excess current to the underground wire. This protects devices and eliminates the risk of damage.
- Unplug devices during a storm.
If there’s a lightning storm in your area, simply unplug electrical devices to eliminate the risk of damage from a power surge.
- Schedule an electrical wiring inspection.
Look for signs of faulty wiring, such as buzzing sounds coming from the outlets, constantly tripping circuit breakers, and visible burn marks or smells coming from outlets. Damaged wiring will offer little resistance to a power surge and potentially transfer the energy to plugged in devices.
If you have any questions about selecting or installing a whole-house surge protector, give us a call!