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Preventing Damaging Power Surges

March 21st, 2018 No comments

How to Stop Sneaky Power Surges from Damaging Your Electronics


motherboard hit by electrical surge

Power surges from different sources can all cause damage to electronic devices.

“Just had it happen to us,” noted Chris Voglund, owner of Artisan Electric. “We had surge protection on all of our devices, but a recent spike through the electric company’s transformer was so fast, it still knocked out a couple of our more sensitive electronic pieces of equipment.  We are now installing surge protection at the outside electrical panel to prevent this from happening again.”

Causes of Power Surges
Although lightning strikes are the most visible examples of what causes damaging power surges, they are not the most common reason.  Other more common sources are faulty electrical equipment from outside the home, and internal power surges caused by larger appliance motors on refrigerators, A/C units, and microwave ovens.

Smaller, repeated power surges may also slowly damage your electronic equipment. Repetitive, small power surges shorten the life of appliances and electronics. Your electronic devices may continue to function following small surges until the integrity of the electronic components finally degrades and your computers, TV’s and other electronics mysteriously stop working.

Types of surge protectors

How to Prevent Damage from Power Surges
Power surges caused by lightning can enter the home through the cable TV or satellite dish cable, the incoming telephone lines or through the electrical service line.

Knowing that power surges can take several paths and do not always enter through the electrical panel indicates a good surge protection system should include:

  • Protection of the incoming electrical service
  • Some type of protection of phone lines and cable TV lines
  • Point-of-use surge protectors at sensitive and expensive appliances

When deciding on what type of and how much surge protection is needed, each house and its contents should be assessed individually. An electrician knowledgeable about power surge protection systems and the history of problems in your area is a valuable resource.

Lightning storm over city

Lightning is the most visible form of power surge, but not the most common.

The Odds Are Not In Our Favor
Many of us think a power surge won’t happen to our home or business, so we are hesitant to spend the extra money on a complete surge protection system.

There are over 20 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes detected per year in the 48 contiguous states of the U.S.  The 10 year average for Indiana is 425, 478 per year. Odds are that it will happen to you at some point.

When you are a victim of a power surge either by lightning or other cause, the consequences can be expensive.  Replacing TV’s, appliances and computers are all high ticket items.  Unless you have additional coverage on your homeowner’s insurance policy, standard policies typically don’t cover damaged items from a power surge.  Renter’s insurance policies usually don’t provide this kind of coverage either, meaning tenants must get compensation from their landlord.

Power Strips Are Not Surge Protectors
It is also helpful to remember that power strips and surge protectors are different.  Using a power strip as a surge protector will not typically give you adequate protection. Power strips are multi-outlet products that allow you to plug-in additional items into one outlet. They usually have a circuit breaker, but most won’t protect your valuable home electronics completely.

Artisan Electric logoFree Site Assessment
Have questions or concerns about surge protection for your home or business?  Contact us today at Artisan Electric and let our licensed pros do a free site assessment.  We can then discuss the best way to protect your valuable electronic devices.