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How Power Surge Happen and What to Do About Them

What Is Power Surge?

Power surges are just as the name suggests: surges of electrical power that is higher than normal. Typical voltage levels for household appliances and electronics are between 110 volts and 230 volts in most countries. When significantly more voltage comes through wires into devices, it’s known as a power surge. These surges can be small or large, resulting in reduced performance or possibly damaging plugged-in devices.

A power surge is an extremely fast and intense power spike in electrical current. Surges are also referred to as “transient voltage” because they’re caused by the sudden presence of an overvoltage traveling through an electrical system.

What Causes Power Surge?

There are several causes for a power surge. The main reasons are electrical overload, faulty wiring, lightning strikes, and the restoration of power after a power outage or blackout.

Electrical Overload

Electrical overloads can occur when too much power is drawn from a single circuit. This happens most commonly from overusing extension cords and plugging in too many devices into the same circuit.

Faulty Wiring

Faulty wiring is a potential internal cause of power surges, which are more likely to happen with damaged or exposed electrical wires.

Lightning Strike

Lightning rarely damages appliances through direct exposure. Still, it can wreak havoc by triggering a power surge. Lightning damage usually results from a direct strike on power lines, which produces a large voltage. Lightning touching down simply near your power line can lead to an extra spike in electrical voltage of millions of volts. Power surges from lightning strikes can destroy your electronics.

Power Outage or Blackout

Power outages typically occur due to large-scale power grid failure, and while the lack of electricity doesn’t usually cause any issues, the return to connection often can. It’s common to experience a sudden jump in current when power is restored following an outage. As a result, this power surge has the potential to damage any plugged-in appliances and devices that do not have surge protectors.

Are Surge Protectors Necessary?

Without surge protector, a sudden voltage spike and accompanying power surge could damage your equipment. Even if a power surge doesn’t completely ruin your electronics, it can shorten the lifespan of devices, or otherwise harm devices and appliances.

How Prevent a Power Surge From Damaging Electronic Devices?

Using surge protection devices, especially when combined with a reliable grounding system, will protect electrical devices and appliances from all but the most severe power surges.

 

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