A power surge, which occurs when there is a spike in voltage, is a common electrical problem that can cause damage to appliances inside your home. During a power surge voltage typically exceeds 169 volts and usually lasts for only a few milliseconds. Although brief, the effects of a power surge over time can harm the electrical appliances in your home.
A spike in voltage usually occurs as more heat is generated, which is the main source harming your electronic circuit board of appliances during a power surge. Before you can protect your equipment from power surges, you should understand the sources of the problem and how to take steps to keep your appliances safe.
Common Causes of Power Surges
Power surges occur because of various reasons, including lightening. Lightning is actually one of the most common sources of a power surge, however other causes exist as well. For example, the likelihood of a power surge occurring increases when appliances that consume too much power are turned on or off, such as refrigerators, motors, or air conditioners.
Additionally, sometimes a power surge comes from the electric supply company, which often happens when there’s a power grid switch. If your home was built before the 80s, old wiring could also be the cause since wiring before that time period was not designed to handle large loads of electricity. You can often tell whether or not your house has inadequate wiring if your circuit breakers trip frequently or if you have a blown a fuse. Another common sign of inadequate wiring includes the flickering or dimming of lights when large appliances are turned on. You definitely should not ignore problems caused by poor or outdated wiring as these are significant fire hazards.
Tips to Avoid Power Surge Problems
There are a number of steps you can take to avoid damage to your home appliances because of a power surge. Consider unplugging electrical appliances when not in use since items that are plugged in can be damaged in the event of a power surge even if they are turned off.
Also, consider upgrading the old wiring inside of your house. A professional handyman can identify whether the house has old wiring and replace them if required.
Another important piece of advice to protect the appliances from getting damaged is to install Point-Of-Use Surge Protection Devices (SPDs). SPDs are devices that protect the appliances from getting damaged by power surges. The devices do not suppress the surges, but rather divert the surge to the ground so that no harm is done to your electrical appliances. The SPD looks like a regular plug cord but features power surge protection.
You can also install special electrical outlets with surge protections. These type of outlets are particularly useful in areas of the room where it’s not safe to use the plug strip such as in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink.
When purchasing surge protectors, make sure that they are listed as UL Standard 1449, which means the national benchmark specifies the product has been thoroughly tested. Also, you should consider selecting a surge protector with an indicating light or an audible alarm to know when it needs replacement.
Additionally, don’t hesitate to call T&Z Handyman Services for any other electrical problems you may have!