More than ever before, our homes are filled with electrical appliances and devices of every kind. A power surge or sudden spike in electricity can damage and destroy these gadgets and appliances in an instant.
What is a power surge?
A power surge is when the electrical voltage suddenly increases in the circuit. This often happens as a result of a power outage. Power surges, also called voltage spikes, occur when power suddenly drops and spikes.
This surge can happen in an instant – thousandths or millionths of a second, but it can carry tens of thousands of volts. It is that high voltage that can damage electronics.
Your home is full of items susceptible to power surges. Anything with a microprocessor, such as TVs, computers, microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines – you get the point – is especially vulnerable. The tiny digital components in a microprocessor are so sensitive that even a small voltage fluctuation can disrupt proper functioning.
A large voltage spike can cause a huge amount of damage in an instant. It can fry circuit boards, crash hard drives, melt plastic and metal parts, and ruin electrical equipment of any size. You can imagine the headache this would cause in a residential setting, let alone a business.
A power surge can damage equipment even if it is not powered on, but just plugged in. Smaller spikes can do permanent damage to electronics, by degrading performance and shortening their lifespan. Fortunately, lower level power surges won’t melt parts or blow fuses, but they can cause “electronic rust,” gradually degrading internal circuitry until it fails.
What causes power surges?
Power surges occur for many reasons, both inside and outside the house. The most common cause of power surges is a power outage.
Other causes of power surges include:
- Short circuits
- Tripped circuit breakers
- Nearby lightning storms
- Damaged power lines
- Rolling blackouts
- Winds that cause power lines to touch
- Branches or animals that conduct energy between power lines
- A large appliance turning on or off that pulls too much energy from its circuit
- A nearby factory suddenly increasing or decreasing power consumption
How can I protect electronics from a power surge?
There are a few ways to protect your home from the effects of a power surge.
Whole-home surge protectors
Whole-home surge protectors are located between the power grid and your home. They protect your home from power surges originating outside your house.
Breaker box surge protector
This is another type of surge protector that provides whole house protection, but it is located between your meter box and breaker box. This type also protects your home from outside surges.
Point-of-use surge protector
These are the surge protectors you’re probably most familiar with. They plug into the wall outlet to protect individual devices. This type offers protection from voltage spikes originating both inside and outside your home.
Automatic Backup Generator
An automatic backup generator is, of course, our favorite method of preventing power surges originating outside the home. Because the most common cause of power surges is a power outage, a backup generator is an easy way to protect your home. A backup generator is hard-wired into your home’s electrical system, so it is able to detect when the utility power is cut. It instantly reroutes power to the generator and all lights remain on in the home. This means that there are no dangerous spikes in voltage as a result of a power outage. All electronics are protected, and you even have electricity during a power outage!
Protecting your home from power surges is just one of the many benefits of owning a backup generator for your home or business. Give us a call today to find the right backup generator to meet your needs.