Power surges can be caused by a variety of factors but, regardless of the specific reason behind the event, the outcome is usually the same; excess power flowing into a home’s electrical circuitry fries sensitive components in appliances, computers and other electronics.
In catastrophic events such as lightning strikes, where voltage can range from 100 million to 1 billion volts, the extreme surge of power can melt the computerized aspects of every unprotected appliance, TV, and computer in the home with the outcome being expensive repairs and/or the need for replacements.
While lightning strikes may be the most dramatic cause of power surges, they are actually pretty rare when compared to the frequency of surges that occur when power is restored after a blackout or after energy-intensive appliances or equipment draw power to start up or send small bursts of energy through the home’s circuitry when they are shut off.
While relatively small in terms of voltage, these internal surges can have a cumulative effect that breaks down electronic components, such as microprocessors, over time.Whether the objective is to defend against small or large power surges, there are several specific steps you can take to protect the appliances and electronics in your home.
1) Buy surge protectors
Surge protectors ground excess electric currents before they travel to the appliances and electronics that are plugged into them. Rated surge protectors can defend against externally caused surges from the grid and can also serve as an ideal solution for protecting against long-term deterioration of microprocessors caused by smaller household surges that can occur multiple times per day as air conditioners, refrigerator motors, etc., cycle on and off.
2) Whole house protection
This solution, in which protective devices are installed on phone and cable boxes as well as the main electrical panel, is suitable for households with large numbers of expensive appliances, computer equipment, TVs, etc., due to the relatively high cost of installation.
3) Unplug unprotected appliances, devices, and other components
The sheer brute force of a lightning strike can overwhelm even the strongest surge protector so in the event of an oncoming electrical storm the most secure form of protection will be to unplug appliances, video gear, and computers until the storm passes.
If you don’t have surge protectors, doing the same unplugging routine during a power outage can protect against a surge when power returns.Whether power surges are subtle or sensational they can have substantial consequences. Following these steps can ensure that your appliances and electronics are protected and help to avoid the expense of doing repairs or replacements as a result of cumulative or catastrophic damage caused by power surges.