Power surges can have a hugely damaging impact on your electronic devices and appliances, rendering them useless many times or over the long run. Although it is possible that most devices can have minor temporary damage, it is still likely that they won’t be able to be repaired and can cut the lifespan short since they eventually stop functioning not so long into the future.
The cost of replacing such expensive electronic appliances that are usually a one-time purchase such as those for everyday use like refrigerators or an air-conditioner, can be extremely high and can cause financial stress on a homeowner. More often than not, devices such as PCs or gaming consoles can get severely damaged as well.
How Are Power Surges Caused?
Power surges can be caused by multiple reasons, with the most likely of them all either being natural causes like a weather-related issue which can lead to blackouts, or those such as damaged power sockets and electrical wiring.
Climate disasters have become frequent in most states within America, and these disasters cause lightning strikes that can enter your homes through the cables and wiring – sending massive volts of electricity through power outlets to electronics, eventually damaging your equipment. In other cases, because these lightning strikes can hit a transmission tower that distributes electricity to our homes, there can be a city-wide blackout either because of a breakdown in the system or purposely in order to protect our homes.
Now, blackouts can lead to power surges because when power returns, there is a sudden release of electricity back into the grid, that sends high volts of electricity into our homes and to power outlets, which when switched on can trigger a surge. To avoid power surges during a blackout, it would be advisable to turn off all appliances plugged into any outlet, and once power is restored you can plug them back in and turn them on gradually.
What You Can Do To Avoid Power Surges
Other than investing in a lightning rod for your house to protect not only yourself but also your appliances from lightning strikes having a detrimental impact on your house, unplugging devices from power outlets during a blackout or even just when they are not in use could prove useful in the long term. You can make a habit of checking if the outlets have a burning odor or burn marks on the sides and replace them if need be.
Additionally, users can also invest in a surge protector plan that can cover a certain percentage of the cost of replacement or repair of any damaged appliances or electronic devices due to power surges. In case a device such as your XBOX is busted, a surge protection plan might help cover the cost of repairment that would have otherwise been your financial burden.
If you have a gaming setup, you’ll probably require a power strip to connect all your devices, since a single outlet won’t suffice for a monitor, a gaming PC, and a console. Power strips usually trigger power surges as well, because the devices are connected to a single outlet require different levels of voltage and sometimes there can be an imbalance of voltage. To protect your devices, you can buy a power strip that has a built in surge protector – a circuit breaker that would ground the excess voltage instead of letting it pass onto any plugged in devices.
Surge Protectors and Their Uses
Surge protectors can divert the excess voltage that comes through the wiring into the ground, without it ever reaching your precious devices.
Before buying a surge protector you must be aware of the voltage that is required by your devices as well. If you’re using a heavy-duty appliance such as a refrigerator, or a PC it will most likely have a higher voltage requirement and would therefore require a surge protector that can absorb a higher energy charge. For a refrigerator or a gaming PC, a 2500 Joule surge protector would be suitable since it requires much more electrical voltage to operate, whereas in comparison a smaller appliance or device such as a lamp or a Bluetooth speaker might require a 500 Joule surge protector.
There is one factor that homeowners must keep in mind however. Surge Protectors are only good for a short while – they must be replaced after a certain time. The lifespan of a surge protector depends solely on the surges it has endured and the intensity of these surges. If your area is prone to power surges, you are likely to replace surge protectors on the frequent or even in less than a year. While in certain parts of the country, they can last for about 3 to 5 years as well!
We hope this article gave you an in depth read on all things power surges, and how you can protect your home and the electronic devices and appliances from unnecessary damage that is otherwise avoidable – to a certain extent of course. Installing lighting rods on your roofs, investing in surge protectors, unplugging devices when they are not in use, and subscribing to surge coverage plans provided by your local electric company are some of the few ways to go. See what works for your home!