When there is an interruption to the power supply, or if power returns after an outage, there can be a surge. Surges range from low voltage surges (approx. 5-10 volts) up to 1000’s of volts due to lightning.
When we plug in any equipment that uses a lot of power, power is diverted from other sources that are plugged in, and when these high power devices are turned off, there is a surge of power when the supply is returned to other plugged-in devices. These surges don’t cause major damage but can cause a little damage, which over time could diminish the lifespan of household appliances, especially any advanced technology. Power surges can occur at any time and it is best to take preemptive action to secure your equipment and home.
Some of the common questions asked about power surges are:
Are power surges dangerous?
Power surges could damage equipment and higher surges can be dangerous. When there are small surges, over time they can cause gradual damage to devices that are plugged in. However, if there is a larger surge of electricity, then it could cause some electronic devices to overheat and even catch fire.
Usually higher power surges are external and could occur because a transformer blows, a lineman is working on high voltage wiring nearby or lightning hits a pole in your vicinity. These surges can cause damage to equipment in the house and to people if they are holding or touching the equipment if there is no proper grounding.
What kind of damage could occur due to power surges?
When it comes to low power surges, the damage is imperceptible. However any device with microprocessors or microchips is especially vulnerable because these surges cause small amounts of damage and impact micro conductors.
Over time, they will slow down and stop working. One needs to take special care to ensure these kinds of devices are secure from any kind of surges. A lot of higher quality power strips come with in-built surge protection especially for computers, smart TV’s, phone chargers etc.
High power surges can cause a lot of damage. There have been instances when power surges caused by lightning have fried circuits and melted plastic and metal components. Surges from external sources other than lightning can still cause significant damage to any equipment that is plugged in at the time.
How can I prevent damage from power surges?
One of the most effective ways to protect your home is to install a surge protection unit for your main power supply. This will help reduce the impact on any equipment inside the house. However, this may not impact internal low power surges caused by plugging and unplugging high power equipment inside the house.
Unplug vulnerable devices
Unplugging devices with any microchip or microprocessor can help reduce damage caused over time.
Power strips with surge protection
These strips with in-built surge protection can help reduce damage to your electronics.
Loose or frayed wires can cause short circuits which can alter power flow and supply. This can cause damage to equipment and can even cause a fire. Have your home inspected periodically to ensure any wiring that is in the walls, and any connections are secure, and that your home is safe.
There can be an overload in one phase of your home because a greater number of devices and equipment are plugged into one electrical branch. This overload would usually cause the circuit breaker to trip. However, if the circuit breaker is old or malfunctioning, it may not do its job, and there could be damage to your equipment.
Have your office or home inspected and tested by a professional electrician, and install the necessary equipment to safeguard your home and equipment from power surges. Our licensed electricians are available any time to help you. Call our helpline today. Our team can meet you for an assessment and provide all the options available to you.