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Surge Protection Explained

Posted on: July 21, 2015

A power surge, also called transient voltage, is simply an unexpected increase in voltage. If strong enough it can damage or even destroy electronic devices in your home.

Most power surges come from inside the home. Large appliances like air conditioners, furnaces, washers and dryers, and power tools are responsible for the majority of large power fluctuations. The main source of outside power surges are lightning strikes and power grid changes.

When the electrical current passes through an electrical device and exceeds its operating range, an electrical arc and heat can destroy the electrical wiring and components. Even small electrical surges can gradually damage electronic equipment over time.

Preventing Power Surge Damage

Inexpensive power strip surge protectors are design to protect point-of-use devices. They don’t actually arrest a surge, instead they divert the surge to a ground. This type of surge protector usually has an indicator light or alarm that activates when it is in need of replacement.

Whole Home Surge Protection

Whole home surge protection, also called service entrance surge protection, is mounted near the main electrical service panel. Importantly, these devices protect components that cannot be attached to a point-of-use device, like outlets and light switches. They can also handle much larger voltage changes than most power strip surge protectors.
Because no surge protection system can protect your home from a direct lightning strike, it’s a good practice to unplug electronics when an electrical storm is in the area.

Have questions about protecting your home from power surges? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We’re here to help.

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