General Interest

How to Protect Electronic Devices from Power Surges

Power surges happen and it’s a good idea to understand why and how to prevent them in order to protect electronic devices. Power surges can cause your electronic devices to overload, short out and become damaged over time. Figuring out can also save you time and money.

How A Power Surge Can Damage Electronic Devices

protect electronic devices  from power surgesIn the United States, most homes are powered by a a 120V, 60 hertz single phase alternating current. However, because it is an alternating current, the power is not consistent at 120V. The voltage can be as low as 0, and, during a power surge, it can go as high as 169.

When this happens, electronic devices can be damaged. This occurs because the voltage can cause an arc of current in the appliance and the heat in the arc can cause damage to the electronic circuit boards and components.  Smaller surges can also cause damage which will become evident over time.

What Causes A Power Surge?

Power surges can happen for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is if the electric utility switches the electrical grid. Lightning can also cause power surges. They can also happen when the motors of large appliances switch on and off within the house. Power surges can enter a home through a cable TV or satellite dish, phone lines, or incoming electrical lines.

How Can I Protect Electronic Devices From Power Surges?

protect electronic devices  from power surgesOne way to protect electronic devices from power surges is with a Point of Use surge protection device (SPD’s) combined with a good grounding system. It works by diverting the surge away from the device and in to the ground. These surge protection devices are similar in appearance to a regular plug strip but should be labeled accordingly.

There are also special outlets that can be used to protect electronic devices from power surges. These surge protection outlets can come in handy in spaces where there is no room for a plug in surge protector, like a counter top.

Two tiered approaches can be even more effective in power surge protection. One example of this may be to combine point of use devices with a service entrance surge protector or electrical panel surge protector.

Service entrance surge protection devices mount in or on your main electrical panel, or at the base of the electric meter, provide surge protection for your entire electrical system. They can also reduce power surges to lower levels before it gets to the point-of-use surge protection device. They can be either transient volt surge suppressors or secondary surge arrestors. You may need to consult an electrician for proper installation.

Power surges can happen for a variety of reasons and can cause damage to your electronic devices. It is a good idea to understand the causes behind and do what you can to protect electronic devices to ensure they have a long and happy shelf life. Good luck keeping your home and devices safe from power surges.

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