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Power Surge Protection in Birmingham, AL

Every home has essential appliances that require a lot of power: heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, freezers and clothes washers and dryers. Your home might have an office room with computers, printers and other equipment. Or you might have turned a loft or extra room into a home theater, complete with digital projector, surround-sound speakers and video game consoles.

What happens to these expensive appliances and electronics if there is a power surge? Lights get extremely bright before they go out completely. Appliances and electronics stop working. Burnt plastic smoke floats throughout the home. A serious power surge can easily overpower the basic 120 volts that most home wiring can handle. The wiring overheats and burns the plastic insulation.

Most of the time, you might not even notice a power surge. The amount of electricity running to your home actually cycles up and down throughout the day. You’ll know when a serious power surge occurs, because your appliances and electronics will be damaged. But for a fraction of their replacement costs, Mr. Electric can install a whole home surge protector to protect your home from both everyday power variance and major power surges.

Reasons for Power Surges

In addition to power fluctuations in the utility grid, some major appliances in your home can cause minor power surges. Because they have powerful compressors and motors, your home’s HVAC systems, hot tubs, ranges, ovens and refrigerator/freezers require more electricity than hair dryers, irons and paper shredders. For example, there may be a power surge problem if your lights or HDTV flicker when the air conditioner turns on.

In addition to large home appliances, faulty home electrical wiring, old electrical panels, downed power lines and blown utility transformers can cause power surges right before a power outage. Lightning also causes power surges, but when lightning hits a home, even the best home surge protector can’t protect your appliances and electronics. The best surge protection can mitigate damage from most power surges.

How Power Strip Surge Protectors Protect

A multi-outlet power strip with a switch may or may not have a surge protector on it. Be sure to check the packaging. A power strip surge protector will trip when power exceeds a certain level. The surge protector directs the power surge electricity into a grounding wire connected to the wall outlet. The grounding wire sends electricity away from power strip, which returns the voltage to a safe level.  However, a major power surge could overwhelm the surge protector, because power strip surge protectors are not high capacity.

When you are looking for a power strip with a surge protector, read the packaging description to find three different ratings:

  • Clamping volts level: The voltage limit that causes the surge protector to direct electricity to the outlet’s ground wire. The UL approved surge protectors have three ratings: 330 Volts, 400 Volts and 500 Volts. Because most home electrical wires consistently handle 120 volts safely, purchase a surge protector with the lowest voltage rating possible.
  • Energy absorption and dissipation: The maximum amount of electricity the surge protector can redirect before it fail. High “joule” ratings protect more. A good basic protection level is 600 joules or higher.
  • Breaker response time: Response time should be less than one nanosecond. The longer it takes the surge protector to redirect the high electricity, the more appliances and electronics will be damaged. Highly sensitive microchips in modern appliances and electronics burn out quickly.

When you look for a power strip with a surge protector, find one with a working indicator light. When the indicator light goes off, the surge protector has failed. It may have burned out due to a surge more powerful than its voltage limit. The power strip will still function, but it will not have surge protection and should be replaced if you want your equipment to be protected. When looking for a power strip surge protector, also look for:

  • Warranties
  • Power Shut Down Protection
  • Resettable Circuit Breakers
  • Surge Warning Devices
  • GFCI Protection

Some power strip surge protectors can connect other types of cables in addition to standard three-prong plugs. USB, coax cable, phone lines, and network plugs can be connected to some power strips with surge protection. Devices that use these connections can be affected by major power surges as electricity passes through connected devices.

For example, a cable receiver box is powered by a standard three-prong plug, but the box also is connected to a coax cable with a barrel screw plug. When the power surge travels through the standard outlet connection, the electricity could move through the device to the coax cable and then on to any other device in the home that is connected to a coax cable. This issue can be solved by making the switch to whole home surge protection

Advantage - Whole Home Surge Protection

Major power-hungry appliances such as HVAC systems, hot tubs and refrigerators must be directly connected to proper wall outlets with multiple electrical panel breaker switches. These major appliances cannot use power strips because they require too much energy. With a whole home surge protector, any appliance will be protected.

With a free home power inspection, Mr. Electric can help you determine how much power your home and all of its appliances, electronics, lights and gadgets require. Your Mr. Electric electrician will give you a written quote for a whole home surge protector that will slightly exceed your home’s power needs, so that there is room for growth and to ensure there is plenty of capacity for protection. Next, Mr. Electric will schedule an installation appointment for the electrician to hard wire the surge protection equipment into your home’s main power line near the electrical panel.

If you think whole home surge protector would be too much for your budget, start with a surge protector that can be wired to the electrical panel to protect the most essential appliances or single room. Protect other appliances and electronics with power strip surge protectors.

Mr. Electric of Birmingham installs, repairs and services surge protection equipment in homes and commercial businesses throughout the Birmingham metro area, including Alabaster, Hoover, Indian Springs Village, Lake Purdy, Meadowbrook, and Pelham. Schedule your free home energy inspection today – at Mr. Electric, we have the power to make things better!