Make Surge Protection an Integral Part of Your Home Electrical Wiring
There are two places electrical surges can come from and damage your home’s electrical wiring and all your electrical equipment: outside and inside.
Surges caused externally
When most people think of electrical surges, what comes to mind are surges originating outside the home brought about by natural occurrences such as storms bringing down trees and power lines, or flashes of lightning discharging their power. Surges originating outside the home can also be caused by problems in the system of power lines operated by your power company. While these externally caused surges are among the most powerful and potentially damaging, they are relatively infrequent.
Surges caused within the home
Much more common, and accounting for around three quarters of all surges, are smaller surges originating within your home. These more frequent but less powerful surges are caused by any appliance or system in your home which is run by an electric motor. The list includes your air conditioning unit, coffee grinder, blender, hot tub, vacuum cleaner, washing machine, dishwasher, and hairdryer. You probably have many more. Every time a motor starts up it can create a small surge through your wiring. While each individual surge is likely to cause only minimal damage, over time the damage accumulates and delicate electronic equipment breaks down.
These days microprocessors are found in all sorts of appliances and we all have many more electronic devices than previous generations. In addition, modem microprocessors are more delicate and can easily fail when exposed to frequent small surges. This is why surge protection is now a much more important aspect of protecting your home’s assets than previously. You may well already be using a portable surge protector for your home computer, but your games console, TV, home theater system, refrigerator, and many other appliances are vulnerable.
There are three ways to introduce surge protection. A hard wired or whole house surge protector fitted to your electrical panel can help to safeguard against externally caused surges. The protectors are designed to steer away excess current coming into your home and discharge it through your home’s grounding. It is advisable to have a professional licensed electrician install this type of surge protector.
Your most power hungry appliances such as a stove, hot tub, and air conditioning system are all run on separate circuits known as dedicated circuits. Each one of these circuits can be fitted with a hard wired point of use surge protector. This will help to prevent all these assets from surge damage, wherever it originates. Portable point of use surge protectors can be used to safeguard your electronic devices such as your TV, games console etc, in the same way as is common for computers.
When looking to purchase surge protectors, you will find a wide variety of models with a large price differential. It is important to remember that surge protectors themselves will degrade after dealing with multiple surges. If you are buying a portable protector in the form of a power strip, be sure to choose one with an indicator light that tells you when the protection is operative. Otherwise, the strip can still function as a multiple outlet but without any surge protection.
Your local electrical contractor can advise you on the best surge protectors to prolong the life of your valuable electronic equipment and safeguard your home electrical wiring from the potentially expensive damage that expose to surges can cause. In the long run installing proper surge protection can save you dollars as well as giving you peace of mind.