Power surges are among the most common—and the most damaging—issues your electrical system will face. It’s awful when a power surge destroys your home appliances—they’re expensive to replace!
Power surges occur when your home’s electrical system receives a massive spike of electrical current. It can cause electrical overloads in valuable devices (such as laptops) and any electrical appliances that are plugged in. No one wants their laundry machine or EV charging station to stop working!
Most of the time, power surges are harmless, nothing more than a brief increase in the level of electricity getting forced through your electrical system. These are called internal power surges, and they can happen throughout the day, but are usually too minor to be noticed.
But a sudden jump of enough electrical power is able to fry your electronics, or even start a fire. And the external surge is what happens when something outside of the electrical system is causing the power surge, such as lightning strikes. While these are rarer, they’re far more likely to cause damage to your home’s electrical system—or worse, your home itself.
A power surge is never welcome, but if they’ve become frequent enough to cause you concern, take a look into some possible causes of power surges. We also have prevention tips for keeping your home safe.
Reasons for Power Surges
Wiring is a key factor in the distribution of electricity. Damaged wiring, or wires that have been set up improperly, offer little in the way of electrical resistance. This means that any conductive material that comes in contact with that wiring can spike the wire’s current to dangerous levels, causing a power surge.
Faulty wiring can be indicated by visible scorch marks on outlets, a burning smell, vibrations or a buzzing sound coming from your outlets, or if your circuit breaker is tripping frequently.
If you suspect your bad wiring is causing you frequent power surges, contact Sun Electrical for a consultation.
When too much electrical power is drawn from a single circuit, a power surge can occur. Most commonly, this is caused by having too many electrical devices plugged into outlets or extension cords, or having multiple devices plugged into a power strip that can’t handle them.
It’s true that a lightning strike can be responsible for a power surge, but only if it happens within 1.6km of your house. The modern infrastructure of today’s electrical systems means that a huge electrical surge in one neighbourhood will affect the entire town.
Severe storms can also cause power lines to fall, which may cause a power outage. Also known as blackouts or power failure, a power outage refers to a loss of power in an entire block, neighbourhood, or even town.
Power outages (AKA a blackout or power failure) can refer to a loss of power for an entire block, neighbourhood, or town. It can be caused by heavy local electrical demand — say, during a Calgary heat wave, when residents tend to run their air conditioning much more than normal, or a downed power line.
How to Prevent Power Surges
Whole Home Power Surge Protector
Is a whole home surge protector worth it? Yes! A good power surge protector can block excess voltage from reaching your plugged-in appliances and computer equipment. The joule rating or peak voltage on your power surge protector determines how much surge protection is offered.
A whole home-surge protector is a compact box that must be hardwired into your main electrical panel (AKA service panel). This is a complex task that should only be done with expert installation.
The power surge protector will continuously monitor the electrical current and power supply. When the system detects an electrical surge, it diverts the excess voltage into the ground, keeping your electronic equipment safe.
Many surge protectors are also power strips, but not all power strips offer surge protection. Look for the word “joules” or “maximum voltage” on the packaging of a power strip to see if it’s able to handle the overwhelmingly excessive current caused by a power surge.
Power surge protectors can also be in the form of electrical outlets, either ones you plug into your home’s built-in outlets, or as a special outlet that replaces the original one.
The wiring in your older home may be what’s causing frequent power surges. Electrical overload is especially common in older homeless because they have outdated electrical components or no ground wire. The system has trouble keeping up with the modern demand of today’s large appliances and a multitude of electronic devices, and so power surges happen.
If your lights are constantly flickering, or if you’re regularly tripping your circuit breakers, it’s time to upgrade your wiring and electrical equipment.
Invest In Protection With Whole-Home Surge Protection
Take the time to safeguard your home and your appliances against disastrous damage. Contact Sun Electrical for professional whole-home surge protector installation today.