Power surges can cause significant damage to your electronic devices and appliances, resulting in costly repairs and replacements. Many people turn to surge protectors to guard their equipment. Are surge protectors worth the money, and are they necessary? If you are determined to protect your electronic devices from power surges, read on to learn more about electrical surge protectors to determine whether they are a worthwhile investment.
What Are Surges and Surge Protectors?
A power surge, alternatively known as a voltage spike, is a sudden and brief increase in voltage in an electrical power source. Power surges can damage or destroy electronic devices, electrical systems, and appliances.
Since most people increasingly rely on electronic devices in their homes, the risk of power surge damage becomes significant. Modern devices contain delicate microprocessors and circuitry that is highly sensitive to voltage fluctuations. Therefore, a whole-house power surge protector might be an option for anyone looking to protect their electronics and appliances from costly damages.
A whole-house surge protector, also known as a service entrance surge protector, is designed to protect the entire electrical system and all connected devices from power surges. It is installed where the main electrical service line enters a building.
When a power surge occurs, a surge protector diverts the excess voltage to a grounding wire, thus preventing the surge from reaching the electrical system and connected devices. Surge protectors usually feature a metal oxide varistor (MOV). This mechanism detects and responds quickly to voltage surges, effectively diverting the excess voltage away from sensitive electronic components in your Farmington Hills home.
Whole-house surge protectors are typically installed by licensed electricians and are connected to the main electrical service panel. They can be added as a stand-alone unit or integrated into the main service panel.
The main advantage of a whole-house surge protector is that it provides comprehensive protection for the entire electrical system and all connected devices, such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and smart home devices. However, the effectiveness of whole-house surge protectors depends on the quality of the device and its ability to divert or absorb the excess voltage caused by the power surge.
Common Causes of Whole-House Power Surges
It is crucial to recognize the potential sources of power surges within your home to protect your devices and appliances from damage.
1. Lightning Strikes
Lightning is a common natural cause of power surges. When lightning strikes a power line or transformer, it creates a surge that travels through the electrical system.
2. Power Grid Problems
Power companies use transformers to regulate the electricity voltage sent to homes and businesses. When there is a problem with the transformer, it can cause a power surge.
3. Malfunctioning Equipment
Electrical equipment, like air conditioners and refrigerators, can malfunction and create power surges within your home.
4. Utility Company Issues
If your utility company switches its power source, this can result in a power surge.
5. Power Line Contact
Power lines sometimes come into contact with objects like trees and cars, which could create an unexpected power surge.
6. Short Circuits
When an electrical component or wire is damaged, it can create a short circuit, generating a surge of electrical energy.
Many people associate power surges with the external factors mentioned above. However, power surges sometimes originate within the home and are known as switching surges. These switching surges are typically caused by operating electrical equipment and devices, such as appliances and power tools. These appliances cause a sudden fluctuation in voltage when powered on or off, damaging other sensitive electronics.
Types of Surge Protectors
Multiple surge protectors are available, each with unique features and benefits. Here are the two main types of surge protectors available:
1. Point-of-Use Surge Protectors
A point-of-use surge suppressor protects the device plugged into it. They protect specific devices or appliances, such as computers and home theater systems. Unfortunately, this means other devices in the house remain vulnerable to power surges.
2. Whole-House Surge Protectors
Whole-house surge protectors continuously monitor the incoming utility power to safeguard devices in your home from power surges that originate from the power grid. These surge protectors safeguard your entire home’s electrical system, including all the connected devices and appliances.
What’s the Best Option?
Incorporating both a whole-house surge protector and point-of-use surge suppressors is recommended to ensure complete protection against power surges. A whole-house surge protector installed at the main electrical service panel can protect your home’s electrical system from power surges from the power grid or external sources like lightning strikes. However, it may not protect against voltage fluctuations within the house. Point-of-use surge suppressors are essential to safeguard the electronic devices plugged into them from power surges that originate within the home.
Benefits of Installing an Electrical Surge Protector
The benefits of installing an electrical surge protector make having one in your home a smart investment, ensuring the safety and longevity of your electronic devices and appliances.
1. Comprehensive Protection
Whole-house surge protectors can guard your home’s electrical system against surges that originate from the power grid or almost any external source, such as lightning strikes.
2. Cost Savings
Protecting your electronic devices and appliances from power surges can save money on costly repairs or replacements resulting from power surge damages.
3. Increased Lifespan of Devices
A whole-house surge protector can help increase the lifespan of your electronic devices and appliances by protecting them from damage caused by power surges.
4. Easy Installation
Most whole-house surge protectors are easy to install and do not require major electrical work. Some service entrance surge protectors are installed in the main service panel, while others are placed in the main electrical meter. Both variations are easily installed by a professional electrician.
5. Increased Protection for Phone Lines, Cable TV, and Internet Routers
Today, many service entrance protection devices offer defense for phone lines, cable TV, and internet routers, which can serve as pathways for power surges. This comprehensive protection ensures all electronic devices in your home are protected against power surges, regardless of the source.
Taking Care of Your Surge Protector
To care for your surge protectors:
- Check the indicator light and replace the protector if it’s not illuminating.
- Keep them in a cool, dry area.
- Unplug sensitive electronic devices during severe weather.
- Get them tested regularly to ensure they are working properly.
- Replace them when they are no longer providing adequate protection.
Contact the Professionals
At AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical, we offer exceptional plumbing, electrical, and HVAC services to residents in Farmington Hills, MI, and the surrounding areas. Our team of certified and highly skilled professionals has a proven track record of excellence, earning us recognition and awards within the HVAC industry. AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical has the expertise to properly install and service whole-house surge protectors to ensure the safety and longevity of the electronic devices and appliances in our clients’ homes. Contact AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical today to learn more about whole-house or point-of-use surge protectors.