You would probably have noticed sometimes when the lights in your home all too suddenly get brighter for a few seconds before going back to normal, or you can tell when there’s a major electrical strain on the ceiling fan for a quick few seconds. That is what is a power surge is like while happening in process.
What Is a Power Surge?
By definition a Power Surge, also referred to as an electrical surge, is when there is an unexpected spike in the electrical voltage – but it only lasts for a mere few seconds. However, it is in those few seconds that any electronic appliance or device connected to the home’s power source can bear the effects of the surge. And it really depends on the intensity of the surge to determine the kind of damage that can happen to any device or appliance.
For this matter, you should provide surge protection to your home and all the electronics present within it. Not just indoors, but if you happen to have a nice backyard or front yard with landscape lighting surge protection is also a necessity for that.
Are There Any Known Causes of Power Surges
While we may not be able to detect a power surge when it’s ongoing (well majority of the time) or be able to predict when it is about to occur, we can still educate ourselves on what some of the causes of power surges are.
Lightning is one of the obvious causes of surges. The electrical voltage from a single lightning strike carries millions of volts, which can find its way into our homes through underground cables, wires on poles, satellite dishes, etc. This could probably now explain why your parents franticly unplug the expensive electronics while a storm is incoming.
2. Faulty Wiring
The wiring within power outlets can overtime wear out or get old if they’ve been installed since years – hence faulty. Faulty wires have a lesser electrical resistance which is what can trigger a surge when they come into contact with a conductor.
3. Electrical Overload
An electrical overload on a singular power outlet is bound to set off a surge, and in the process can damage one thing that is connected to the power source, or more. That is why voltages are listed on certain appliances and devices and even on some power outlets like you would find at hotels – for the sole purpose of not plugging in devices more than the amount. Electrical overload also applies to plugging in devices of completely different voltage ranges into one power source – like a hair dryer and an iPhone charger. It’s a recipe for disaster.
4. Power Outages
It is usually when the power comes back on after a power outage or breakdown in the grid that can trigger a surge in multiple homes simultaneously. That is because when the power is turned back on, there is a massive influx of electricity back into the grid which is way more than what any household electronics can handle – especially after not having any electricity for a while.
How to Protect Your Homes from Power Surges
There may not be a permanent solution to the problem of power surges occurring (yet), but there are temporary fixes that work just fine.
1. Surge Protectors
Surge protectors are a great way of ensuring that any electronic appliance or device connected to the power source receives its required amount instead of the extra influx of electricity because of a surge. What surge protectors really do is ground the excess voltage thanks to a sort of circuit breaker built into them. You can get individual surge protectors that resemble extension cords or multi-plugs for power outlets, or you can have surge protection added to your main electric panel of the home.
2. Lightning Rods
Lightning rods on rooftops provide a safe passageway for lightning strikes to find a way into the ground. This prevents any physical damage to your home or the land around, and even from the electrical voltage from finding its way into your home.
3. Surge Coverage Plan
A lot of electrical companies offer surge coverage plans. These plans serve as a sort of insurance for your home electronics and appliances (ones listed within the contract). What they do is provide monetary compensation for any damaged electronics’ repair or replacement, should the cause of damage be determined as power surges.
4. Unplug Devices
This is more of a habitual thing you can say. When you see your parents unplugging expensive appliances during a storm, which is to protect them from any power surges, because as we said they can occur at any given moment and often times go unnoticed. So generally, you should be unplugging any devices unless they are in use.
We hope this article was able to give you an insight into how you can determine the cause of a power surge, and some ways in which you actually can protect your home from the damage they can cause.