“Did you see the lights flicker?”
Our electricians can help protect your home from electric surges and prevent costly and destructive power surges. A power surge occurs when the line voltage goes higher than it is rated for and stays there longer than ten milliseconds. In today’s high-tech world, computerized appliances and electronics can be damaged or destroyed by surges in electrical lines. Every day appliances are zapped by an average of 20 power surges. These surges are power fluctuations that go unnoticed except by your appliances. The end result can shorten appliance lifespan by as much as 30%. That’s like paying full price for an appliance, then getting to use 2/3 of what you paid for.
Two Kinds of Protection
There are basically two types of electric surge protection: point of use and whole house. Point of use surge protectors are designed to protect sensitive electronic equipment and major appliances in the home at their electric source. Point of use suppressors are usually devices that plug into the wall outlet and can handle surges up to 6,000 volts.
A Whole House surge protector is designed to protect homes again transient surges that enter through the home’s electric supply, but does not protect from surges created internally in the home when motors turn on and off. Whole House protectors are devices that are installed at the meter or electrical panel. These devices require the installation by a licensed electrical contractor.
In both cases, the surge protector attempts to regulate the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or by shorting to ground voltages above a safe threshold.
The Need for Surge Protection
There are a number of reasons why power quality has become such an important issue. For one, today’s computer chips are far more dense than they were even a few years ago, and subsequently, much more sensitive to even slight surges. Secondly, most homes and offices are using more equipment than ever before. Each time an electric device is turned on, transient voltages may be generated. Additionally, more microprocessor technology is being used than ever before. Microprocessors are showing up in personal computers, TVs, stereos, DVRs, refrigerators, washers, dryers, microwave ovens, dishwashers and just about any electrical device manufactured today.
Internal surges occur when devices with motors such as refrigerators and hair dryers shut off. Suddenly the energy these devices were consuming is redirected elsewhere in the form of excess voltage. Surges can also occur when the power company switches power from one geographic area of the grid to another to meet their system demand. And, thunderstorms and lightening are the most dramatic and destructive causes of power line problems and electric surges.
Call our experienced team of Gregg’s Home Service electricians to go over all of your options with you and evaluate your needs.