When people think about power surges endangering the electronic items in their home, the image that almost immediately leaps to mind is a lightning bolt striking the ground and causing all the lights in the house to burn bright for a second before everything drops into darkness. It’s a dramatic picture, but it’s not quite the reality. Yes, a lightning strike can cause severe damage to a residential electrical system, but there are other, more common causes for power surges, a.k.a voltage spikes.
The common causes of power surges
The most frequent source of voltage spikes in a home is other appliances. Large and powerful electrical devices, such as refrigerators and air conditioners, will sometimes place an immense demand for power on the electrical system. When this happens, it can cause a surge to occur throughout the electrical system due to the sudden imbalance. (You might notice this as flickering lightbulbs when the appliance turns on.) This may not sound catastrophic, but over time a series of these smaller surges can do damage to sensitive electrical equipment.
The larger voltage spikes in homes comes from downed power lines during a storm or from a problem with the utility company. These spikes make a whole-house surge protector especially important, since the voltage increase is much higher than a simple power-strip can usually handle. A whole-house surge protector is attached to the electrical panel and re-routes the excess voltage down into the ground, keeping your home safe.
Please note that having power strips for your precision electronic equipment (computers, monitors, etc.) is still a good idea, since it provides an extra level of protection. However, you shouldn’t count on them as the only form of protection. Call on an electrician to outfit your house with full surge-protection.
MVP Electric, Heating & Cooling offers installation of whole-house surge protection in Shawnee, KS.