How to Prevent a Power Surge?

Electrical in Kirkland, WA

How to Protect Your Home From Power Surges

Power surges can happen within your home for various reasons, and they frequently result in damaged or destroyed electronic devices. You may be experiencing more power surges than you realize. While many power surges are relatively apparent and result in noticeable damage, some are more subtle and only result in minor damage that may go unnoticed for a while until the damage accumulates. Follow this guide to help prevent your electronic devices from suffering an injury due to power surges.

What Causes Power Surges?

Most households have experienced at least one power surge, but the causes are not always the same. Power surges are usually triggered by the following:

  • Power outages
  • Lightning strikes
  • Faulty or damaged wiring
  • Electrical system overloads

The most common reason for power surges is blackouts. When power returns to a home that has experienced a power outage, the sudden increase in electrical current may cause severe power surges.

Lightning strikes are not as common, but they are usually very severe. When lightning strikes your electrical system, massive amounts of electricity are pumped into your wiring in milliseconds. The excess electricity must discharge somehow, and the usual method of energy dispersal in this situation is through the outlets.

Faulty or damaged wiring frequently causes both large and small power surges. Wiring that is damaged, poorly installed, or not functioning effectively cannot manage the electrical current properly. Poorly distributed electrical currents cause both dips in electrical power and power surges.

Electrical system overloads are usually avoidable, but they can happen to anyone. When you overload an outlet by plugging in too many electrical devices on one circuit or plug in a single appliance that draws too much electricity for the circuit, it can cause a power surge due to handling far more electricity than it is designed to manage.

No matter what the source of the power surge may be, you can avoid damage to your appliances and other electronic devices in several ways.

Unplug Electronics

One of the best ways to protect electronic devices from power surges within outlets is by keeping them unplugged from outlets as much as possible. While this is a great and highly effective option, it’s also not the best long-term solution. You can’t keep all your devices unplugged, especially since many electronic devices today require charging. At the very least, unplug your devices when a thunderstorm is approaching, when other severe weather may knock out the power, and as much as possible when the devices aren’t charging or in use.

Safely Manage Your Outlets, Extension Cords, and Power Strips

Space out your electronic devices as much as possible to keep the electricity distribution even. Choose unused outlets whenever possible when finding spots to plug in devices and appliances. Avoid overusing extension cords. If something can be plugged in without an extension cord, don’t use the extension cord. Throw away any extension cords that are worn out or damaged.

Consider installing a new outlet in a room if the current number of outlets isn’t adequate for your needs. If you’re using a power strip, only keep essential devices plugged into it. Some power strips even have on and off switches unique to each socket to help prevent overusing the strip and needing to unplug devices from it.

Watch Your Power Usage

Even if you’re careful with using outlets and power cords, you may still overload the circuits and cause a power surge if you use too many high-voltage devices. For instance, you may start the air conditioning and use your hair dryer or heat up your lunch in the microwave while someone is vacuuming. If a powerful appliance uses a lot of energy, turn off or unplug that device before using another one.

Have Your Electrical System Inspected

Figuring out if your electrical system is faulty or damaged is difficult because it involves examining the insides of your walls, handling dangerous electrical wires, and damaging the system while looking for issues. Contact a professional electrician if you want to know that your electrical system is faulty or damaged and needs repairs or replacements to prevent power surges.

If you’re uncertain that your situation calls for a professional inspection, several external signs can be spotted to help you make your decision. Hearing buzzing noises around your light switches or outlets, smelling smoke or burning plastic, seeing singe marks around the outlets, or experiencing flickering lights are all strong external indications that your electrical system will need a thorough inspection by a professional.

Never Plugin Devices That Have Damaged Cords

Not plugging in devices with cord damage is as much a safety tip as it is to protect your home from power surges. If you have any appliances or devices with damaged cords, never plug them in. You not only run the risk of causing a power surge in your electrical system, but you also may severely electrocute yourself. Most large appliances allow you to replace the power cord easily. Devices with permanently attached power cords will need to be replaced altogether.

Use Surge Protectors

One of the easiest, most effective, and most convenient ways of protecting your appliances and devices from power surges is by using surge protectors. A surge protector is a power strip that instantly detects power surges and directs the excess current away from the sockets and into a grounding wire, allowing the electricity to disperse safely. You can find high-quality surge protectors at any home improvement or electronics store at very reasonable prices, and then you can place them wherever you want in your home.

Use a Whole-House Surge Protector

While individual surge protectors are highly effective, you can go one step further and acquire the highest level of protection from power surges that you can buy for your home. Whole-house surge protectors prevent all power surges from damaging your devices and appliances. The protector immediately detects any electrical surge or abnormality, and the excess power is diverted safely from the entire electrical system before it ever gets near your electronics.

Purchasing and professionally installing a whole-house surge protector usually runs between $1,000 and $2,000. Still, it will be well worth the investment if it saves you from having to replace expensive appliances and other electronics.

Electrical work is extremely dangerous and requires the assistance of skilled professionals such as our team at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning to complete the job safely and efficiently. We provide electrical system inspections; installations of outlets, light switches, appliances, track lighting and ceiling fans; electrical system repairs and rewiring services; and much more. Additionally, we offer air duct cleaning and installation, repair, and maintenance services for heaters, air conditioners, water heaters, and gas fireplaces. If you need the help of experienced technicians for electrical issues or HVAC services and live around Seattle, WA, contact us at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning today for more information.