Power Surges & Surge Protection in Chattanooga, TN

Power Surge Protection for Chattanooga, TN

Power is not constant. The electricity flowing to your home actually cycles up and down throughout the day, depending upon demand from other homes and businesses in your power grid. You might not even notice small power surges. When there is a serious power surge though, you will know. Lights get extremely bright and then go out. Appliances and electronics stop working. A burnt plastic smell might float through the home. That’s how you know the power surge was serious. Most home wiring can handle 120 volts of power, but a serious power surge can easily exceed that amount. The wiring overheats and burns the plastic insulation.

Today’s homes not only have the basic, essential appliances such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, freezers and clothes washers and dryers. Your home might have an entertainment room with a projector or wide-screen 3D-HDTV, surround-sound speakers and video game consoles. Or you might work from a home office with computers, printers and other equipment. Many of these appliances and electronics are connected to multi-plug “surge protector” power strips. They might be good to help protect against the normal, everyday power fluctuations. But a serious power surge could damage all of these expensive appliances and electronics at one time, regardless of the small surge protection power strips.

For a fraction of the appliance and electronics replacement costs, Mr. Electric can install a whole home surge protector that helps protect your home from everyday power variance and major power surges.

Power Surge Causes

The major appliances in your home cause some of the everyday, minor power surge issues. HVAC systems, hot tubs, and large refrigerator/freezers take a lot of electricity to turn on compressors and motors. For example, if your lights or HDTV flicker when the air conditioner turns on, there probably is a power surge issue. Faulty electrical wiring, downed power lines and blown utility transformers can cause power surges right before a power outage. Lightning also causes power surges, sometimes without a power outage. If lightning hits a home, even the best home surge protector will be overwhelmed.

How Surge Protection Devices Work

A basic surge protection device on a power strip of outlets will govern electricity when it increases over a certain level determined by the size of the capacitor. When the surge protector is tripped, it directs the excess power surge electricity into a grounding wire that is attached to the outlet the strip is plugged into. That grounding wire transfers electricity away from the outlet, which returns the voltage to a safe level. 

If you are going to use power strip surge protectors, check the labels for these three different ratings:

  • Clamping voltage: This is the voltage level that cause the surge protector to pass electricity to the ground wire on the outlet. The UL approved devices have three ratings: 330 Volts, 400 Volts and 500 Volts. If most wires can consistently handle 120 volts safely, then buy the surge protector strip with the lowest voltage rating you can afford.
  • Energy absorption/dissipation: This rating explains how much electricity the surge protector can handle before it fails. A higher “joule” rating protects better. A surge protector with a capacity of 600 joules or higher offers good protection.
  • Response time: A surge protector should respond in less than one nanosecond. The longer the response time, the longer your appliances and electronics will be suffering from a power surge. It doesn’t take long to burn out sensitive microchips in a computer or HDTV.

Standard electrical outlets can handle a surge protector power strip with breakers. Look for power strips that have working indicator lights. You also might want to consider:

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

Some power strip surge protectors now have USB jacks, coax cable connectors, phone line jacks, and network plugs. Power surges also affect these kinds of wires as electricity is passed through devices that may be interconnected.

For example, a cable TV box receives power from a standard outlet and is connected to the coax cable to receive service. If there is a power surge through the power outlet connection, the additional electricity could travel through the coax cable to any other device (such as a HDTV) connected to the coax cable in another area of the house. Then the power surge would affect that device as well.

Whole Home Surge Protection

The low-cost, multi-outlet surge protectors described above may prevent damage to a few devices, but HVAC systems, hot tubs, refrigerators and other major appliances cannot receive power through power strips, they must be connected directly to the proper wall outlet. A whole home surge protector handles any appliance, no matter how much power the appliance requires.

A licensed electrician from Mr. Electric can inspect your electrical system to determine the highest amount of power required by the home appliances. Then Mr. Electric can recommend a whole home surge protector that will protect every outlet in the home. When you are ready for whole home surge protector installation, the Mr. Electric technician will hard wire the equipment into the main electrical panel. If a whole home surge protector is not appropriate, a smaller protector can be wired to protect specific essential appliances, such as the HVAC system, or single rooms, such as the home office. In this case, power strip surge protectors could be used to help protect other individual appliances and equipment.

Mr. Electric of Chattanooga installs whole home surge protection equipment in homes and businesses throughout the southeast Tennessee and northern Georgia area, including Chattanooga, Collegedale, East Brainerd, Harrison, Hixson, Lakesite, Middle Valley, Ooltewah, Ringgold, Rossville, Signal Mountain and Soddy Daisy. Call Mr. Electric today to schedule an appointment – we have the power to make things better!