Overheating and flashovers are two uncommon occurrences in our homes or workplaces. In fact, whenever they occur, some people panic and wonder what went wrong. Some are not even aware that they might be caused by over-voltage which takes place when there is excess of voltage, going beyond the 110% nominal rated.
But what is even more puzzling for some is the cause of over-voltage. In the first place, what are the circumstances that lead to this pressing and even annoying occurrence that might have already made a huge number of unaware individuals panic?
The following are the top five causes of over voltage.
- Power system surges. Due to poor regulation of the power source or power utility company, voltage fluctuations either over or under may occur. This may cause serious damage especially to electronic or computer controlled equipment. In this case, special attention should be given to these equipment to ensure safe usage. Relay devices, AVRs, auto-transformer type regulators may be used.
- Insulation Failure. The most common form of insulation failure is when there is grounding of the conductor. Failure takes place when there is no insulation between the line and the earth. So, the part of the conductor that is grounded to the earth allows the current to flow downward.
- Arcing Ground. This happens when there is presence of a sporadic arc in line-to-ground fault belonging to three-phase system. Here, short-live oscillations are produced in the system due to some changes in the voltage and the current load. This phenomenon may lead to serious problems like breakdown of the insulation and may harm equipment connected to the power system.
- Resonance. This one occurs when the value of the inductive resistance in the power system becomes equal with the value of capacitive resistance.
- External causes. Although many cases of over-voltage result from the internal causes as listed above, studies show that the highest surges are still contributed by some external causes. Lightning is one good example, which has already been cited as responsible for high magnitude of surges, leading to very serious failures. This is because an external factor such as lightning is capable of increasing the voltage by many times higher that the normal value. This is the reason why power systems and appliances should be protected with voltage protectors.
Over-voltage, indeed, can be caused by a number of phenomena and some of them may not be that apparent, most especially to people who are not into the technicalities. This just shows how from such seemingly normal settings or situations can rise serious problems, most especially if they are not addressed immediately. Therefore, it is important to have our systems checked regularly by experts. Also, this calls our attention to be more particular when it comes to our power systems to ensure that we are living safe in our homes.