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Home Home Improvement Power Surges: Causes and Precautions

Power Surges: Causes and Precautions

With the increasing number of electronics in modern homes, electrical disasters should definitely be a cause for concern. Out of the many threats your home is vulnerable to, this is amongst the most damaging. Electrical disasters can cause varying levels of damage to your home, and power surges are amongst the most common of these. Even a minor surge can result in a lot of damage to your home’s electrical system, as well as any gadgets plugged in at the time.

To prevent excessive damage from power surges, it is important to understand all potential sources and tackle each one strategically. Part of residential surge protection is to individually secure each outlet in the home for thorough protection against such disasters, so that even if an unforeseen accident occurs, the excess current from the surge won’t be able to reach your appliances.

The following are some causes of power surges, followed by some ways you can protect your home from them.

Lightning Strike

Since a lightning strike occurs naturally, it is the most unpredictable source of a power surge. Lightning strikes are often quite strong, and as soon as they occur near a power source, the excess current begins to make its way towards your home. This spike enters your home through your electrical system, and if it reaches any of your appliances, there is little chance of them being saved.

A lightning strike is a rare, yet disastrous cause of a power surge. Unless prevented, it is capable of destroying every functioning appliances within seconds. The only way to prevent this damage is by grounding the excess current before it makes its way into your home. This can be done through the use of certain smart gadgets.

Overcrowding Outlets

One dangerous thing you can do is plugging in too many appliances to a single outlet. All your gadgets need to draw a certain amount of power from the outlet in order to operate. Each outlet has an overload point, and exceeding this limit can cause horrible accidents. This is arguably the most common electrical disaster, and can even result in a fire if left unattended.

The potential damage from this also depends on the frequency with which the power is being drawn. If the outlet is overloaded for a prolonged time period, the constant drawing of power can cause accidents to occur. The likelihood of this decreases if the appliances are plugged in for a shorter time period – however, under no circumstances should this be considered a safe option.

Power Outage

During a power grid failure (often caused by a storm), a blackout is often expected. Despite homeowners being mentally prepared for this, the potential damage it can cause is often overlooked until it is too late. When power returns after such a large-scale outage, there is a jump in the current which can lead to a surge. It is often advised to unplug major appliances in case of a blackout, and this is the reason. There is a good chance of your electronics being harmed when the power suddenly comes back on, which is something you must be prepared for.

Surge Protectors

A surge protector is a very handy gadget when it comes to power surges. While it doesn’t fully protect your electronics against electrical disasters, it can certainly lessen the damage to any device connected to it. A surge protector plugs into a single outlet in your home, and limits the flow of current through it in case of a power surge. If you can invest in something more extensive, it may be a good idea to get whole home surge protection instead. This service is a more thorough and reliable version of surge protectors, since it covers every single electrical outlet in your home.

Avoid Overloading Extensions

A safe practice is to disconnect a few of your smaller appliances when you have to use something which draws more power. This way, you no longer risk overloading any of your home’s outlets. Calculating how much a single outlet can draw will allow you to safely connect your gadgets, so that you can utilize all your electronics without risking your own safety, as well as that of your belongings.

Keep an Eye on Updates

A lot of the time, keeping an eye on the news or updates from your electrical company can tell you when a surge is about to take place. When this happens, take all necessary precautions to completely eliminate any risks to your belongings. Unplug all major appliances, charge portable devices and have a first-aid kit ready. You can also stock up on supplies depending on the situation, so that you can wait the storm out from the comfort of your home. Preparing for a power surge is quite simple, so long as you understand which parts of your home are most vulnerable to it.

A power surge refers to a sudden spike in the voltage supply to your home. When this excess current is allowed to enter your home, it can result in a power overload or short circuit; this can lead to you losing some of your major appliances.

Fortunately, this damage can be prevented by exercising the previously mentioned precautions. As harmful as surges are, they aren’t unavoidable. If you’re prepared in advance, a surge will most likely do you no harm. Forming a checklist before a known surge approaches may help you organize your tasks and protect your home in a more effective manner.

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