Home Power Surge Protection for Arlington, TX
Most power surges go unnoticed, but over time they can damage sensitive electronics and appliances. That’s because the amount of electricity coursing through your home’s circuits cycles up and down depending on which major appliances are running. If you notice the lights flicker bright and dark when the air conditioner turns on, for example, that is a power surge because the large appliance is pulling power away from the lights. When a serious power surge happens, appliances and electronics may be damaged. If you have surge protection, you won’t have to worry about repairing or replacing appliances before their time.
Power Surge Causes
Major appliances such as HVAC systems, hot tubs, ranges, ovens, refrigerators and freezers require more electricity because of their powerful compressors and motors. When these major appliances turn on, the home’s electrical system pulls more power from the main electrical line in a surge.
Other issues with your home’s electrical system can cause power surges, such as faulty electrical wiring or an old electrical panel. Right before a power outage, there can be a major power surge due to downed power lines or blown utility transformers. Lightning also causes major power surges depending on how close the lighting strikes to the home.
Unfortunately there is no defense against the damage caused when lightning directly strikes a home. There are two options for protecting appliances and electronics from the minor everyday power surges and the major occasional power surge.
Power Strip Surge Protectors
Most people are aware of multi-outlet power strips, but you may not know whether or not the power strip has a surge protector. Check the product’s packaging or look for an indicator light and switch. The most advanced multi-outlet boxes have surge protectors and battery backups that are good for computers. Pricing ranges from $15 for a basic power strip to $150 or more depending on the size of the battery backup.
Surge protectors “trip” when the surge of electricity exceeds a certain limit. Then the electricity is directed into the wall outlet’s grounding wire. This wire routes the electricity away from the power strip and the outlet to lower the electricity to a safe level. Power strip surge protectors are not very high capacity, so a major power surge could overwhelm the surge protector. In this case, the surge protector may stop some of the electricity before it fails, which lessens the damage to appliances. The power strip may even continue to function, but the surge protector will not work, and it should be replaced.
When considering a new power strip with a surge protector, look for three ratings on the packaging:
- Clamping volts level: This rates the voltage limit. When power exceeds the voltage limit, the surge protector trips and sends electricity to the outlet’s ground wire. The UL approved surge protectors have three ratings: 330 Volts, 400 Volts and 500 Volts. Choose a surge protector with the lowest voltage rating possible to better protect electronics
- Energy absorption and dissipation: This rating measures the maximum capacity of the surge protector until it fails. High “joule” ratings protect better than lower ratings. More than 500 joules is a good limit.
- Breaker response time: This rates how long it takes the surge protector to switch the electricity to the ground wire. The surge protector’s response time should be less than one nanosecond. It does not take long for modern appliances and electronics to be damaged by a power surge. The faster the response time, the better the protection.
Some power strip surge protectors will handle other cables and wires in addition to power cords. Look for power strips and boxes with surge protection that can connect with USB, coax cable, phone lines, and network plugs. Major power surges send electricity through connected devices, entering by the power cord but exiting through the coax cable, or network lines.
For example, power enters a cable receiver box through the standard three-prong plug. However, the cable box is connected to a coax cable with a barrel screw. The power surge could travel through the device to the coax cable, which would send the power surge through the home to a HDTV connected to the coax cable for content service.
In addition to the ratings and the additional plugs, also look for:
- Power Shut Down Protection
- Resettable Circuit Breakers
- Surge Warning Devices
- GFCI Protection
Whole Home Surge Protection Advantages
The main advantage of a whole home surge protector is that the entire electrical system and all of the appliances and electronics on it are protected from major power surges coming from outside the home. Also, the large appliances that take the most power – HVAC systems, refrigerators, ranges, and clothes dryers – must be connected directly to dedicated wall outlets that have more than one breaker switch in the electrical panel. The only way to protect the large appliances from power surges is to install whole home surge protection equipment.
Mr. Electric of Arlington offers a free home power inspection to determine how much power your home uses, and how a power surge might affect the appliances and electronics. You will receive a report with a detailed, written quote for the surge protection equipment that will service the home. Then Mr. Electric will schedule a convenient installation appointment. At that time, your licensed electrician will hard wire the surge protector into the home’s main line at the electrical panel.
If your home has multiple electrical panels due to a renovation or addition, smaller surge protection equipment can be installed for those dedicated circuits. For example, a home office or sunroom addition may be on a separate power line and need its own surge protection.
Mr. Electric of Arlington installs, repairs and services surge protection equipment in homes and commercial businesses throughout the Arlington area, including Dalworthington Gardens, Kennedale, Mansfield and Pantego. To schedule your free in-home power inspection, call Mr. Electric today. We have the power to make things better!