Expert Electrical

Power Surge Protection: How it Works

Jul 30, 2018 | Electrical Safety, Surge Protection

What is a Power Surge?

A power surge is an increase in the voltage flowing through electrical units that rise above the standard voltage levels (120 Volts). These surges can be caused by lightning, faulty wiring, high-powered electrical devices, or even problems with the utility company’s equipment.

Most homes can experience over 300 potentially damaging electrical surges in a year, so it is important to plug electronics into surge protectors rather than the home’s electrical sockets. Since electronic devices depend on a consistent voltage supply and electrical sockets can experience sudden increases in voltage, electrical sockets are not always the most reliable power source.

A power surge can flood extra electricity into the devices in your home, causing them to become damaged. Surge protectors work as a safeguard against power surges, protecting your electrical devices from harm.

Learn how to properly prepare for a power outage.

Power Surge Protection from Expert Electric

Power surge protection can help protect your home from sudden increases in voltage that would otherwise cause damage to electrical devices. At Expert Electric, we understand the importance of using surge protectors throughout your home. That is why we offer a wide range of residential electrical services designed to help protect your home against power surges.

How Surge Protectors Work

A surge protector works to protect electronics from power surges by pulling electrical currents from one outlet in order to pass them through the electrical devices plugged into the surge protector. One of the most important components on a surge protector is the metal oxide varistor (MOV), which is designed to divert extra voltage in order to deliver a consistent level of power across all devices.

In the event that the MOV indicates high levels of voltage, it will reduce the resistance and, if the voltage levels are too low, it will create a higher resistance. It is important to note that MOV’s can burn out with time, so you should consider investing in a surge protector with an indicator light. This way you will always be able to tell if the surge protector is working properly.

Find out how long power outages can last for.

How Surge Protectors Can Help

Unlike electrical sockets, surge protectors are specifically designed to help protect electronics from power surges and spikes. Surge protectors work to protect electronics by using a system that diverts energy over a safe threshold to protective component, allowing it to ensure that only a safe amount of electricity passes through each device. In most cases, surge protectors are made to look like power strips; however, they are also available in single-outlet and travel-sized options.

Where to Use Surge Protectors

Once you have purchased a surge protector for your home, you will need to determine which devices should be connected to the protector. When making this decision, consider how important the device is and how sensitive its components might be. Electrical devices such as computers and TVs can highly expensive to fix after being damaged by a power surge, while lightbulbs can easily be replaced with little expense. Use your best judgement to determine the importance of the device and whether or not you believe it should be protected with a surge protector.

How to Protect Your Home with Surge Protectors

Surge protectors will help keep your electronics safe as well as yourself. If there is excess electrical flow, the electricity could jump to a nearby person and seriously injure them. Being smart with your protection and guarding your valuables can prevent you from needing to purchase a new TV or computer after a night of lightning.

While we do use surge protectors around our home, it is important to have layers of protection. Similar to a car’s metal design and airbag system, there are layers to protect the person or item behind them.

Entire home surge protectors can be applied to the home’s breaker panel to protect specific circuits from surges. For example if you have an entertainment system on one circuit that requires a lot of electricity to run, it would be a good idea to connect a surge protector on this circuit in the breaker panel.

This would add a first layer of protection to the electronic devices, and if a surge does trickle through the first line of defence, the power bar surge protector will protect from the second. While the home electrical system is designed to protect you and your valuables, accidents happen when you least expect it.

Learn more about preparing for power outages and power failures.

Choosing the Best Surge Protector for Your Home

When purchasing a surge protector for your home, it is important to look for a device that has both an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listing and a transient voltage surge suppressor listing. A device with both of these certifications means that it meets industry performance standards and is rated on the basis of the surge protector’s capability to protect your devices.

How Often Should Surge Protectors be Replaced?

It is important to note that surge protectors will not last forever, as the components used to divert energy can begin to wear down over time due to power surges. Surge protectors can only absorb a limited amount of additional power, so their lifespan is dependent on how frequent power surges are to the area.

In some cases, certain surge protectors will have a light that goes on or off or an audible alarm that is designed to let you know once the surge protector needs to be replaced.

If you would like to learn more information about power surge protection, or if you are interested in one of our residential electrical services or commercial electrical services, please contact Expert Electric at 604-681-8338.