Power Surge

How to Protect Your Home From a Power Surge

Updated: 10/5/2021

It takes less than a second for a power surge to damage your devices. This sudden spike in energy can destroy your laptop, computer, television, and so on. While you’re powerless against power surges caused by the weather, you can reduce the risk of your things getting fried.

What causes a power surge?

There are several reasons why a power surge can happen:

  • Lightning strike. Stormy weather? Don’t be surprised if lightning strikes your electrical system. A lightning strike discharges millions of volts of electricity at once -- enough to fry your electrical devices.
  • Power lines. The moment that power lines are toppled down by trees, there’s going to be a sudden surge of electricity. After that, expect the power to go out.
  • Poor wiring. Pinched and frayed wiring are also common causes of a power surge. If you hear a faint humming in your wiring, you’re also at risk of an electrical fire.
  • Excessive electrical load. Never plug multiple appliances into the same outlet and use them at once. This can cause your circuits to overload.

How can a power surge cause damage?

Power surges last less than a second, but they can still cause serious damage. During a power surge, the electrical current skyrockets. Since electrical appliances and electronic devices aren’t designed to handle such a high voltage, a power surge can permanently damage their components.

“Small” power surges shouldn’t be underestimated, either. They can accumulate over time. For example, if your hairdryer causes a power surge each time you plug it in, eventually, it will damage the device for good.

How can you prevent a power surge at home?

Unplug everything electrical. Protect your expensive PlayStation from a power surge by unplugging it, along with other electronic devices, during a storm. It’s the easiest way to protect your possessions from being fried.

Inspect your wiring. If you have outdated wiring, there’s a greater chance that it will cause a power surge. If you live in an older home, you may want to have your wiring inspected every three years or so. If you live in a newer home, you can arrange an inspection with a licensed electrician once every ten years.

Install a surge protector. Surge protectors stop excess energy from reaching your devices during a power surge. You should plug your sensitive electronics (e.g. computers, laptops, and televisions) into a surge protector to avoid damage. You should also invest in a whole-home surge protector. It’s similar to surge protectors for small devices, the main difference being that it’s installed on your breaker box. This way, you don’t have to install surge protectors on every outlet. As the name suggests, it protects the whole home. It should always be installed by a licensed electrician, such as Beeson Mechanical Service.

Don’t overburden your outlets. Avoid plugging multiple devices into a single power strip or extension cord. Instead, distribute your appliances. For example, use one outlet for the television, and one another for the computer.

Conclusion

If you’re concerned that your home isn’t “surge-proof”, you should contact a licensed electrician, such as Beeson Mechanical Service at 317-535-9338. They can pinpoint problem areas and suggest how you can save your devices from being damaged during a power surge.

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