It’s a stormy evening, and you’re hiding out from the elements with your air conditioner. Then the lights flicker for just a second, and bzaat! In a shower of sparks, your air conditioner is dead.
That is how quickly an electrical surge can strike.
Electrical surges happen when voltage spikes up to 110% or more than normal. This is normally caused by nearby lightning strikes, but can also be the result of large appliances being turned off and on. Our electric company also becomes a culprit when sudden adjustments to power levels in the area are made. The excess electrical energy resulting from a surge, whether large or small, impacts the delicate electronic components of appliances, computers, and other electronic gadgets. Depending on the greatness of the voltage peak, electrical surges can either shorten the life of your equipment, or kill it completely since the components affected by surges are irreparable.
Losing a major appliance this way can be extremely painful.
Thankfully, there are ways in which we can prepare ourselves against this:
1. Install a good surge protector. Also called as surge suppressor, a good surge protector can effectively divert the excess electrical energy elsewhere, and provides protection for your electric devices and phone lines. Point of use surge protectors are made especially for sensitive equipment, like computers and televisions. They intercept electricity from when it enters the outlet in which the surge protectors is plugged, and protect all wires connected to a particular appliance. A voltage regulator (AVR) works in the same way as a surge protector, but also ensures that the voltage level coming from the outlets is at the correct level.
2. A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) device is another good way to protect against surges. We often find these connected to our computers at work. The UPS device works like a generator, providing a continuous supply of electricity for an additional period of time in the event of a power outage. This gives us enough time to properly shut down appliances if the power outage is expected to last long.
There’s more to protecting your appliances than just surge protection devices, however. The easiest methods require discipline and responsibility.
3. Avoid Overloaded Outlets. This can promote the chance of a destructive electrical surge occurring. Our advice is that appliances and gadgets that are not being used should be unplugged.
4. Check wirings. Make sure that your home has an updated wiring system that can handle the power of your appliances, especially if you live in an older house.
Especially in today’s erratic weather conditions, you don’t want to be stuck in a hot room because an electrical surge destroyed your air conditioner, or screech in frustration because the surge wiped out your computer’s hard drive. The steps to protecting your home are simple—with a few investments and a little bit of perseverance, your home can continue to be a safe, comfortable haven from the elements.