do I really need a whole home Surge Protector?
Yes! Almost everyone can benefit from a whole home surge protector. A whole home surge protector keeps your valuable electronics, appliances, and home systems safe from expensive power surge damage.
What is a power surge?
A power surge is an uncontrolled, unexpected, temporary increase in the current of an electrical circuit. In short, a voltage spike.
What are the signs of a power surge?
- Electrical devices do not work or periodically shut down
- Lights or clocks on your equipment are flashing
- Burnt odor around the power source on a device
- Power strip requires resetting
- Breakers trip frequently
In our day-to-day lives, we rely heavily on our appliances, HVAC systems, and electronics. It’s worrying to think that power surge damage could wipe them out completely. Most homeowners have no idea what a power surge is, how to spot one, or what to do to prevent them.
What causes a power surge?
Most people envision smoking or sparking equipment when they think of a power surge. However, not all power surges immediately destroy your electronic devices. Serious power surge damage can also happen from smaller surges if they frequently occur over time.
Power surges can originate from inside or outside your home. External surges account for around 30% of power surges and are usually due to transformer damage, downed power lines, or problems with power companies. Alternatively, internal surges account for around 70% of total power surges, making them much more common. Motors, compressors, and pumps turning on and off from your refrigerator and A/C are common culprits. Also, tripped breakers can contribute to internal power surges. These smaller surges seem mild, but they will slowly damage your electronics and appliances over time, shortening their lifespan.
What kind of damage can occur?
There are three levels of power surges – Disruption – Degradation – Destruction.
Disruption – this is when your equipment malfunctions. You may notice that your computer locks you out or randomly shuts down while in use or that your washing machine shuts down before the end of the cycle.
Degradation – this is when surges shorten the life span of the equipment. Smaller repeated surges over time slowly damage the internal components of your appliances and equipment until they simply stop working.
Destruction – This typically occurs from large external surges that instantly burn up the circuits in your equipment.
(Click Here to see what this type of damage can cost you)
How to prevent power surge damage
Most homeowners rely on power strips to protect themselves. However, the typical lifespan of a power strip is 3-5 years. If you experience frequent power surges in your home, they should be replaced every two years. Here are a few ways to protect your home from power surge damage:
1.) Install a whole home surge protector to get the most protection. Whole home surge protectors are installed in the primary electrical panel. When there is a spike in voltage, the protector acts as a pressure-relief valve to shut off the power and protect your home from a surge.
2.) Create additional protection by utilizing a power strip for sensitive electronics.
3.) Upgrade your AC. Your air conditioner likely restarts several times a day, increasing the current in your home, which can lead to a surge. Newer units use less power to operate, which decreases the excess current when they restart and reducing the likelihood of a surge.
4.) Inspect your wiring. Damaged or exposed wires disrupt the flow of the electrical current, increasing the chances of a surge to the specific outlet they lead to.
How to identify faulty wiring:
- buzzing coming from the outlet
- a burnt smell from the outlet or visible burn marks
- frequent tripping circuit breakers
For all of your home electrical needs, call the experts at A.B. May. We are always available and ready to help!