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Protecting Your Home Against Power Surges

You’ve outfitted your home with the latest in today’s technology, from greener, Energy Star options to sophisticated TV, gaming, and handheld electronic devices. But all those things can be destroyed in the blink of an eye from the simple zap of a power surge.

What can cause a power surge?

  • Lightning
  • Your own appliances switching on and off
  • Faulty wiring
  • Downed power lines (wind, accidents, etc)
  • Spikes and drops in incoming power from electrical repairs
  • High demand due to extreme weather resulting in rolling blackouts
  • Problems with the utility company’s equipment
  • Animals/branches conducting energy between live wires

Think they’re not that common or that serious? Think again.

  • The average home experiences 20 power surges a day.
  • More than half of power surges are internal, from the switching on and off of appliances which alter the steady flow of electricity. These can range from a handful of volts from your hairdryer to hundreds of volts from your HVAC or refrigerator.
  • With over 20 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes annually in the continental U.S., lighting is a common cause. Sadly, most homeowner’s insurance does not cover lighting losses.

A slow, silent killer

  • Most power surges don’t send your electronics up in smoke in the blink of an eye, but instead involve smaller, repeated surges that slowly result in the untimely death of your appliances and electronics.

A macro worry about microprocessors

  • Items containing microprocessors are especially vulnerable. These tiny digital components can be disrupted by even a 10-volt fluctuation. And they are found in hundreds of items, from TVs, phones, and computers to appliances such as microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators.

How can I protect my home against power surges?

With the addition of proper, multi-layered surge protection. What do you need?

Type 1:

Whole house protection installed between street power lines and your home’s power meter.

Type 2:

Whole house protection installed between the meter and the breaker box inside your home.

Type 3:

Point-of-use protection at wall outlets in your home. The best point-of-use surge protectors:

  • Are listed as UL Standard 1449.
  • Have an indicating light/alarm when it’s time for replacement.
  • Have a manufacturer's warranty that cover damaged equipment connected to the device.

Why do I need all 3?

A whole house surge protector can’t handle 100 percent of surges.  A small amount, up to 15 percent of excess voltage, can leak by. Additionally, whole house protection only suppresses surges from the outside lines, not the myriad of surges resulting from the operation of appliances inside your home.

Only as good as your grounding

Proper grounding is integral to the function of surge protectors. Why? Surge protectors shed excess voltage to ground. Without a properly grounded home and outlets, all that excess energy will have nowhere to be diverted to. Be certain to have your home inspected for grounding issues prior to the installation of surge protection.

Penny wise or pound foolish?

Think it’s wiser to wait? The cost of surge protection is small potatoes next to the price of replacing even a single appliance – as little as $10 for outlet protection to a few hundred to cover your whole house.

Don’t let the latest buzz on your social media page be the untimely demise of your appliances and electronics. Contact Mr. Electric® to learn more about surge protection options for your home today.