If you’ve heard that a power surge is capable of destroying your appliances, you may wonder whether to believe it. Well, this is no internet scare story – it’s absolutely true.
What’s more, the typical home today is full of valuable and sensitive electronics. Think of your refrigerator, HVAC, sound system, TV, and smart home setup, for instance. All these home electronics require clean steady delivery of energy and could easily be damaged by a power surge.
Now the good news. There is a simple, affordable way to protect your electronic devices: whole home surge protectors.
Learn what whole house surge protectors are and how they can help you.
What Causes Electrical Surges In The House?
In the public imagination, electrical surges are caused by lightning strikes during a dramatic storm. However, storms are not the only source of electrical surges.
Surges or spikes might also be caused by:
- Power outages (find help in a Calgary power outage)
- Utility company malfunctions and accidents
- Circuit breaker trips or short circuits
- Exceptionally high electrical demand on your grid
- Normal cycling of large appliances within your own home
What Are The Effects Of Electrical Surges On Your Home And Electronics?
There are various types of surges. Voltage spikes last only 1-2 nanoseconds, while true electrical surges last for 3 nanoseconds or more.
You’ll notice the effect of the most powerful surges right away – when your Wi-Fi or air conditioning suddenly dies. It’s received a high voltage jolt of electricity strong enough to melt its wiring. What’s more, these intense surges can damage your entire electrical system and even cause an electrical fire.
Less obvious are the results of electrical spikes. While the damage they cause is less serious at first, repeated small spikes can reduce your electronic appliances’ performance and eventually destroy them.
What Is A Whole House Surge Protector?
Mounted on your electrical service panel, whole house surge protectors will safeguard your entire home and electronics against power surges and spikes. In combination with proper grounding, they divert surges harmlessly into the ground.
What about those small, point-of-use surge protectors in the form of a power strip? Compared to whole house surge protectors, they offer a much lower level of safety. Here’s why:
- Incapable of diverting the most powerful surges.
- Useless for hardwired appliances like digital thermostats, built-in ranges, and smoke detectors.
- Unsuitable for high power capacity appliances such as microwaves or space heaters, which must be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
For additional security against power surges, consider layering – installing both whole house surge protection and power strip protectors. An electrical panel upgrade is another excellent idea, which will reduce power surges from inside your home.
Pros And Cons Of Whole House Surge Protectors
- High-level protection for electronics and electrical devices
- Work to protect your whole home’s electrical system
- Save you money on repair or replacement of appliances
- Pricier than point-of-use surge protectors
- Require installation and occasional inspection by a professional
- Replacement every two years is recommended
Is A Whole Home Surge Protector Worth It?
Now you know the facts – a power surge can indeed destroy your appliances.
And if that happens, your homeowners’ insurance might (repeat: might) cover damage caused by a lightning strike. As far as surge damage from power company snafus or overloading your own system… you’re out of luck.
So add up the value of all your electronics and digital appliances. Quite a chunk of change, isn’t it? Balance that (plus the danger of fire and other electrical hazards) against the few hundred bucks you’ll invest in protection.
At Sun we sell and install Eaton brand Whole Home Surge Protection, the top models come with a warranty to protect and or replace connected devices up to $75,000.
Do the math and your answer is obvious – whole-home surge protection is definitely worth it.