Surge Protectors: Why You Should Use Them

Protecting your appliances and electronics against surge damage has always been the responsibility of the homeowner. Without the proper education, however, knowing what needs protecting and how to go about it is sometimes confusing.

What is a power surge?
Power surges are brief, momentary spikes in voltage. Electrical power surges can occur from a variety of sources including when lightning strikes your residence, or an area close to it. They can also occur when your electric company switches power grids, or even when high-powered electrical appliances like your air conditioner or refrigerator switches on or off. Other sources can include faulty wiring, downed power lines and problems with the electric company’s equipment. When a surge in electricity does occur, the surge causes a spike in electrical currents, which travel into your home using any wire available – including cable and phone lines. This spike will generate heat that can cause damage to electronic circuit boards and other electrical components.

What is at risk?
During a power surge, any item that has a microprocessor is at risk. Contrary to what you might think, however, this isn’t just devices like computers and home entertainment systems. Items like refrigerators, washers and dryers, security systems, telephones and even your air conditioner needs to be protected.

How do surge protectors work?
There are two kinds of surge protection available: point of use and whole house. Both work to divert extra electricity away from an appliance by grounding voltage that surges or spikes above the accepted level. Point of use surge protectors, often found at your local hardware and electronics stores, are excellent as a back up for smaller electronics like your computer and TV, but they cannot offer the same protection to larger appliances.

In the case of whole home surge protectors, they are highly recommended for protecting larger investments like your new refrigerator or air conditioner. Acting as a first line of defense in the event of a surge, they typically connect directly to your electric panel. When selecting a whole house surge protector, it’s important to consult with a licensed electrician who can help you determine what will work best for your needs, as well as perform the installation for you.

If you aren’t already taking steps to protect against a power surge, contact an electrician today to find out what you need to keep your home protected. When compared to the cost of replacing damaged appliances, whole house surge protectors are a wise investment.

Interested in learning more about surge protectors for your home? Contact Mr. Sparky, your On-Time Electrician today!

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