What Are Power Surges and What You Should Know

You’re watching a movie and the TV screen just flicker’s and dies. The microwave suddenly stops working while you are heating up dinner and you are just left wondering what happened. Chances are that there’s been a power surge – but what exactly does it mean and how does it affect you?

Understanding Power Surges

A power surge is one of the four different types of electrical disturbances that can take place and damage you home. A power surge is a sudden spike in the voltage of electricity that flows through the circuits in a home.

Instantaneous power surges happen in and last for milliseconds only, and can happen multiple times a day. During a power surge, for a very brief period of time there is a dramatic increase in the amount of voltage that passes through the electrical wires in your home – much more than the usual 120 volts.

Causes of a Power Surge

Power surges are quite unpredictable and can occur at any given time, without any advance notice. What’s more, there are quite a few reasons which can cause a potentially damaging power surge. Some of them include:

  • Unfavorable weather conditions
  • Utility company originated power surges
  • Home originated power surges

Lightning during a thunderstorm is one of the most common sources of a power surge. A lightning strike can easily cause excessive electrical power to make its way into your home, either through the cable TV, telephone lines, and the satellite dish cable line or even directly from the electrical service wire.

They can also originate from the electrical supply company itself either during a power grid switch, or uneven electrical supply, transformer issues, or even due to a sudden return of power following an electrical outage. What’s more, electrical surges can also originate from within your home. When a number of large electrical appliances such as the refrigerator, air conditioner, furnace, washer or dryer are all used at the same time on weak, faulty wiring, it upsets the balance of the flow of electricity through your home considerably increasing the risk of a power surge.

Protection against a Power Surge

The power surge protection requirements differ for each home and the electrical appliances within. Depending on the type and quality of your home electrical system and appliances, you might need to just install individual surge protectors for the major appliances in your home, or you might need to completely replace the faulty electrical wiring.

Only an experienced electrical expert will be able to accurately gauge the power surge protection needs of your home and help determine whether you need a power strip or would a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) device work best.

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