Today, we use a wide array of electronic devices in our homes for everything from cooking to entertainment. When there is a sudden spike in voltage, there is a risk of blowing a circuit or knocking out the power to your home entirely and even causing permanent damage to your electrical devices and appliances. This sudden spike in voltage is called a power surge.
What Is a Power Surge?
A power surge happens when there is a volume of electrical energy that suddenly passes through electrical devices or appliances that is above 120 volts. It causes an arc of electrical current within it, and the heat generated in the arc may cause damage to the electronic circuit boards and other electrical components. Surges are measured in nanoseconds, and even small spikes can do harm to electronic devices.
What Is a Surge Protector?
To protect electronic devices like computers and laptops, homeowners can use a surge protector, also known as a power strip, that plugs into an outlet in their home. You can also install a whole-home surge protector that will protect electronic devices as well as large appliances like washing machines, dryers, and stoves. When voltage crosses the 120-volt threshold, the surge protector blocks excessive current.
What Are Some Common Causes of Electrical Surges?
Electrical overloads happen when too much power is pulled from a single circuit. This can happen from overusing extension cords by plugging in too many appliances. It also occurs in some homes with older electrical systems as a result of turning on multiple appliances that require a lot of electricity at the same time. Additionally, if an appliance like a washing machine or stove has an electrical issue, it can cause a surge in your whole house.
Faulty wiring can be the reason for power surges. This is especially true if damaged or exposed wiring is present. It is not always easy to spot wiring issues, but there are some tell-tale signs. If an outlet has burn marks, that is a clear indicator that there is likely a wiring issue. Other signs include circuit breakers regularly tripping or an unusual, buzzing sound emanating from an outlet. If any of these signs are present, unplug your electrical devices and appliances if it is safe to do so, cut off the electricity to your home if you are able, and call in a professional electrician.
In the unlikely event that lightning strikes your electrical system, it has no choice but to accept the overwhelmingly excessive current. This creates a massive spike, creating a power surge. This is why you may have heard that you should unplug electronic devices and appliances during severe storms.
During a storm or power grid failure, a power outage is expected. However, what you may not know is that a power surge can occur once the power is restored.
5 Benefits of Surge Protection
1. Plug Convenience
A power strip does not just provide safety; it also gives you convenience. The wall outlets in our home typically only come with two plugs. Power strips offer surge protection and give you access to several plugs for your electronic devices. Many modern power strips also include USB ports. It is not out of the ordinary to find surge-protected power strips that have ten plugs or more.
2. Equipment Protection
You work hard to pay for the things that make your life easier and more comfortable, like your HVAC system. Having a whole-home surge protector helps protect your appliances from failure. Like electronic devices, even small power surges can damage air conditioners and heaters over time.
3. Strain on Your Electrical System
One of the biggest problems that can occur from power surges is damage to your home’s wiring. Power surges are also capable of causing issues with your home’s electrical equipment, such as the main electrical panel. A whole-home surge protector will prevent damage caused by a major power surge, as well as deterioration of wires and electrical equipment due to smaller surges over time.
4. Fire Prevention
An electrical disaster due to a power surge can be much worse than one of your appliances failing. You run the risk of having a house fire. When the electrical system cannot withstand the amount of power running through it, wires can literally burst into flames. The higher the power surge, the greater the likelihood of your home catching fire. Installing a whole home surge protector can be an important step in protecting your family’s safety.
5. Peace of Mind
A significant reason to invest in surge protectors for your home is that they give you peace of mind. While power strips protect expensive devices like home entertainment systems, whole-home surge protection can ensure your appliances and electrical systems are also protected.
What Is Whole Home Surge Protection?
Whole-home surge protection is a way to protect your home from power surges in a way that goes beyond just protecting one electronic device at a time. An electrician hard-wires these types of protectors into your electrical panel and operates in much the same way as a plug-in protector, just on a larger scale. They are so effective that most new homes are now being built with whole-house surge protectors included. However, you should be aware that while they offer a lot of protection, they are still not perfect. Even if you invest in a whole-hole home protector, you should still use a power strip with critical electronic devices like a computer you use for work to be on the safe side.
Whole-home surge protectors offer protection from external threats like lightning strikes and surges after the power is restored following an outage. In addition, an electrician integrates them into your home’s electrical system. This means they also offer protection from issues that cause internal surges, like malfunctioning electrical appliances.
Also known as service entrance surge protection, whole-home surge protection units are typically mounted close to your main electrical panel, between it and the power grid. They are usually about the size of a shoebox and are rated to stop a 40,000-amp surge or more.
Talk to a Professional About the Benefits of Surge Protectors
If you live in Winter Haven, FL, or the surrounding area, we would love to talk to you about all the benefits surge protectors provide. Our team is considered a leading name in electrical services in the area, and we have seen firsthand the chaos that can be wrought by not having surge protection in your home.
We are a family-owned company that opened our doors in 2017 with the mission to provide customers with first-class electrical services. With our team, you can always expect high-quality work, and we offer a full range of electrical services, including lighting, wiring, whole-house generator installations, and setting up your home for smart technology. We also specialize in home electrical safety inspections and code compliance. The services we provide are affordable, professional, and reliable. Contact Top Flight Electric today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert electricians.