If you have experienced a power surge, you know it can damage appliances and electronic devices. If you have not, you should know that power surges can ruin refrigerators, computers, and other household items. It makes sense to try to protect your home from them. Here are more details on why surge protectors are essential to your home.

How Do Power Surges Happen?

Power surges happen when a sudden flow of electricity comes into the wiring of your home or when the flow of electricity suddenly stops and starts again. Most appliances and electronics use around 120 volts of alternating current, with a range between zero and 169 volts. Power surges can increase voltage beyond the 169-voltage threshold and damage electrical components and internal circuits in appliances and devices.

Power surges can arise from both external and internal sources. Lightning strikes are one of the main external causes of power surges in homes. When lightning strikes power lines, thousands of volts of electricity can flow into your wiring. Lightning can also enter your home through cable and telephone lines. This boost in electricity can short out televisions and computers, along with dryers and air conditioners. This type of power surge can even cause an electrical fire.

Power outages from storms, tree limbs that have fallen on power lines, or car accidents are other sources of external surges. A surge can happen when power is restored to your home because it can send a sudden boost of electricity to appliances and devices, damaging or destroying them.

Most power surges are internal and often occur when large appliances cycle on and off. Usually, these surges do not cause damage right away, but if the spike in voltage is high enough, it can harm electrical household items. In addition, less powerful surges can wear down internal circuits in computers and other electronic devices.

Faulty wiring in your home is another internal cause of power surges. If wiring becomes worn out or is installed incorrectly, it can lead to power surges in your electrical system. Since wiring is inside of walls, it is difficult to determine whether you have damaged wires. You can look for any burn marks on outlets as a sign of faulty wiring. Humming sounds coming from outlets are another indicator.

Bad circuit breakers can also cause an internal power surge. If the circuit breaker is not functioning correctly, it may not regulate the flow of electricity effectively, which could lead to inconsistencies in voltage. Usually, circuit breakers will trip or shut off if there is a problem, but sometimes, they do not trip even when there is an electrical issue. If you notice flickering lights or smell a burning odor coming from the circuit panel, those are signs that your circuit breaker may need to be repaired or replaced.

How Do You Protect Your Home From Power Surges?

One way to protect your possessions from power surges is to unplug electronic devices when you are not using them or after they are charged. These items include laptop computers, mobile phones, and DVD players. You can also unplug small appliances like toasters.

If your home is older, consider replacing the wiring. Aging electrical systems, as described above, can have faulty wiring and also may need to be upgraded to handle larger appliances like refrigerators. If you experience frequently blown fuses or tripped circuits, it may be time to replace your wiring, which will help you avoid a power surge.

You can also consider a professional inspection of your electrical system to make sure circuits are not overloaded. If several power-hungry appliances are plugged into the same circuit, it can cause a power surge. A service technician can set up individual circuits to power larger items like dryers and HVAC units.

Homeowners often use surge protectors to protect electrical appliances and devices from power surges. Also known as surge suppressors and surge diverters, these wall or floor devices limit the voltage that travels to a plugged-in electric device by blocking short-term bursts of electricity that go beyond the 169-voltage limit. These stand-alone surge protectors are used to protect televisions, computers, and other electronic devices.

Individual plug-in surge protectors are usually effective at preventing minor electric surges. Yet, they may be less help with more powerful external surges that can knock out major appliances. In addition, some power strips you can buy in stores may look like surge protectors but don’t actually offer any protection. It is important to read the labeling carefully to ensure the product you buy is intended to protect electrical devices. Quality products will indicate the maximum amount of voltage it can handle from a power surge.

Whole Home Surge Protection

Most homes today have many electronic devices and multiple large appliances. Using standard, stand-alone surge protectors may be sufficient to protect small devices and computers from internal power fluctuations. However, whole home surge protection provides a more complete method of protecting everything in your home from electrical damage.

These systems have a comprehensive surge protector that a professional installs between your electric meter and your home’s electrical system. It is usually about the size of a cereal box and blocks high voltage from entering your home. Whole home surge protectors allow a safe amount of electrical current to travel into your electrical system. Yet, these surge devices can detect a power surge and direct excessive voltage through a wire into the ground. In addition to preventing damage from lighting and the power coming on after outages, they protect your home from internal surges. If you are concerned about frequent storms or power grid outages, or the convenience of whole-home surge protection for smaller electrical devices appeals to you, it may be the right system for you.

Benefits of Whole Home Surge Protection

Whole home surge protection provides a way to prevent fires and protect your appliances and electronic devices. These units react more quickly to power surges than stand-alone surge suppressors. They also head off any potential indoor fires from lightning strikes or other power surges from outside of your home. They also stop them from traveling through your electrical system and into computers, televisions, appliances, and HVAC systems.

With whole home surge protection, your electrical system is also safeguarded. By preventing power surges, these systems keep wiring, circuits, and sockets secure. Replacing your electrical system can be an expensive project and one that can be avoided with these systems.

Whole home surge protectors can also save you money because they help you avoid the cost of replacing damaged appliances and electronics. In addition, these protectors can increase your home equity and resale value, making it more attractive to potential buyers if you decide to sell.

Trusted Electrical and HVAC Services

At Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air, we have been serving the residents of Jerome and Twin Falls in Idaho since 2013. We install, repair, and maintain heating and cooling systems. We are also plumbing experts and provide electrical services, including installing whole home surge protectors. Our mission is to provide our communities with the home services that they need. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert team members.

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