WHAT IS A POWER SURGE?
According to the NEMA Surge Protection Institute, it is possible to have a voltage surge, current surge, or a power surge. The most common is a voltage surge, where large voltages spike on the grid- such as increased usage of AC in the summer or large machinery cycling on and off, or when local lightning strikes. A lightning strike can be so local as to only affect one or two circuits in a home. Electrostatic discharge can also cause a surge. Some reports estimate that a home may have over 20 surges a day just from the cycling of internal appliances and switches. In addition, there are over 20 million lightning strikes per year in the United States.
WHICH TYPE OF PROTECTION DO I NEED?
Because of the varying nature of surges, it is recommended that you consider 2 different ways that damage can happen. So, to protect from grid surges, use a whole house protector. For the more localized damages, circuit protection is useful. House protection comes in two forms; one is installed between the power lines and your meter, and the other is between the meter and your panel. Circuit protection may be permanently installed, such as with panel installations. Temporary protection refers to plug-in protection. Keep in mind that the run of the mill plug-in unit will not protect against the incredibly high voltages of a lightning strike. If this is the goal, then you need to spend some money on the best unit you can find, preferably with at least a 600 joules rating.
While appliances may be taken out with a surge, the most likely damage is done to the sensitive electronics which are in use everywhere today. In fact, over the last few years, most major appliances have become those sensitive electronic devices due to computerized functions.
In addition, you may want to protect from surges on the telephone, modem, and even coaxial lines.
WHAT DOES GOOD PROTECTION LOOK LIKE?
To visualize what needs to be done, first remember that you must have proper grounds established as the surge protection is going to direct these surges somewhere. If you don’t have the required grounding, get that taken care of.
Install at least one whole house form of protection, although it is ideal to incorporate both. You can install both home surge protectors for less than the cost of one medium level appliance. In many cases, you can also add the outlet protection and still be under the cost of a high-end refrigerator. If you have quite a few expensive electronics or machinery in your home, use both.
In addition, use outlet or circuit protection for the specific outlets which power your delicate electronics and expensive appliances. This helps with in-home surges caused by cycling of those appliances as well as lightning strikes.
WHO CAN HELP WITH YOUR INSTALLATION?
We can. Call Professional Electric today to get your home assessed. We can tell you if your electrical system is up to date and check the grounding to give you an estimate for your surge protection. While these issues are some of the most customary, you see that many are simple fixes. If you are unsure of these items and considering a complete home inspection to help you understand the state of your electrical supply, give Professional Electric a call today. We can bring any issues to your attention and help you get them resolved quickly and efficiently. Your safety is our priority.
Visit us online at www.ProfessionalElectric.biz and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! We are available 24/7 for emergency services. Mobile, Alabama: (251) 473-5788 Baldwin County: (251) 929-8957.
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