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What You Need to Know About Surge Protection

In this day and age, it seems as though we’re hyper-connected, a world of convenience at our fingertips. Between our video games, TVs and computers, our washing machines, dryers, and ovens – every part of our life has a particular electronic device or appliance to make things easier. But more gadgets mean more power. And more power requires more protection. The benefits of all these doo-dads amount to zilch if they stop working.

One of the biggest things to look out for when powering your home are power surges. Power surges are sudden, brief spikes in voltage that are typically very strong, disruptive and can wreak havoc on your home’s electrical system.

It can take a split second for a surge to knock out thousands of dollars’ worth of electrical equipment, leaving you with damaged goods.

“Power surges can be large, swift, and dangerous, like those caused by lightning strikes. Or small surges that are repeatedly absorbed by your equipment and cause damage over a long period of time,” said Tony Zack, owner of Mister Sparky of Myrtle Beach (SC), Florence (SC) and Wilmington (NC). “In some cases, you might not even realize this damage is happening, which is why it’s recommended having an electrician assess your home if you believe it may have been affected by a power surge, no matter how small.”

Here are Tony’s suggestions for optimal surge protection:

  • Protect your sources. Make sure that incoming power lines, phone lines, and cable TV lines are protected. Source protection installation by an electrician can also cover outdoor items, such as pool equipment, A/C compressors, and landscape lighting.
  • Protection at point-of-use. If an additional current does manage to sneak past the surge protection at the outside source, a point-of-use surge protector strip you can buy at the store can be used to protect devices (like TVs, computers, DVRs, microwaves, etc.) that may be sensitive to surges. Combining point-of-use surge protectors and protection at the source can help to eliminate the risk of power surges from causing unwanted damage to circuits inside your home.
  • Protection from Lightning. Lightning surge protection devices, when correctly installed by an electrician, divert excess voltage and current into a grounding wire. Surge protection devices prevent excessive current from flowing through electrical appliances and electronics in your home, while at the same time allowing the typical 120 voltage to continue throughout your circuits so that your devices don’t lose power.

The primary uses of lightning surge protectors are to absorb and distribute excess current away from your equipment, eliminating the additional voltage from your circuits, and provide a low resistance path for a lot of excess current to travel.

Suitable surge protection may include the following elements:

  • Facility Guards

Facility guards offer the highest level of protection. These devices may handle surge capacities up to 400,000 amps.

  • Transient Limiters

Transient limiters are designed for commercial and light industrial business use. These surge protection devices can handle surges up to 100,000 amps per phase.

  • DC Surge Protectors

DC surge protectors are built to provide superior protection of control lines from transient power to surge voltages up to 10,000 amps at a time. DC surge protectors can provide protection across a wide range of voltages to protect all DC applications at the same time.

  • Data Line Protectors

Data line protectors come in a wide range of configurations to protect control lines and telephone lines. These devices include a line filtering mechanism to enhance the protection, safety, and reliability of telecoms equipment.

  • Hybrid Surge Protectors

Hybrid surge protectors are specialized surge protection devices that are built to protect a specific piece of equipment, such as computers or process control equipment.

For more information on surge protection for you home, contact your local Mister Sparky!

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