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5 Ways to Protect Your Home From Power Surges

10.12.21 03:14 PM By Brandon

Nobody expects all of their electronics to be compromised by a power surge until it happens. Many homeowners have some level of protection in place, but most are still at risk. You may think that surges only come from severe weather, but in reality they are usually much less predictable.

 

Surges are sudden, high levels of electricity that have a higher voltage than can be managed by your electrical system. Let's talk about what causes surges, how to prevent them, and when you might need a professional electrician to assist. 
shower head against wall tile

Causes of Power Surges

The most expected surges come from severe thunderstorms. There are several other ways surges can be caused - even from inside your home. While there are many ways your home can experience an overload of electricity, here are a few of the most common causes:

  • Thunderstorms are indeed one of the leading causes for externally caused power surges. This one is simple. Lightning strikes the home's electrical system at some point along the line causing an unbearable spike in voltage. Voltage is best explained as the "pressure" behind the flow of electricity. The higher the voltage, the more it takes to stop that pressure from breaking through any defenses you may have in place like surge protectors.
  • Any outage in the power grid can cause surges. No matter the cause of the outage, once the power is restored, it can cause a dangerous rush of power. Sometimes this can happen faster than you can react, such as when the power flickers or even when it's out for a few moments.  
  • Even the smallest of appliances in your home can be guilty of surges. It's usually an outdated AC unit or a washer/dryer, but even a malfunctioning vacuum can betray your trust. That's why it is important to replace old, inefficient HVAC systems, appliances, and devices. Typically, if your appliances are over 7-10 years old, you should consider replacing them; not only to protect against surges, but to increase energy efficiency. Although the appliance may still be working after 10 years, internal components and cords become more vulnerable to surges and electrical failure as they age.

  •  If you own a home that's at least 40 years old, your wiring may also be a disaster waiting to happen. With the massive increase in electrical gadgets that we have all become used to, many homes were not originally built to maintain the amount of power now required. Overloading your home's wiring with higher electrical usage than intended can be an unnecessary risk. It can also increase the likelihood of surges from the other sources mentioned. The wiring is not something you should try to mess with on your own. If your home is 40+ years old or you haven't had it inspected in the past 5 years, give us a call to have our electricians check determine the load of power your home can manage and if it's sufficient to support your lifestyle. It could mean some basic upgrades to your home's wiring to keep you up and running! 865-351-0241

shower head against wall tile

Causes of Power Surges

The most expected surges come from severe thunderstorms. There are several other ways surges can be caused - even from inside your home. While there are many ways your home can experience an overload of electricity, here are a few of the most common causes:
  • Thunderstorms are indeed one of the leading causes for externally caused power surges. This one is simple. Lightning strikes the home's electrical system at some point along the line causing an unbearable spike in voltage. Voltage is best explained as the "pressure" behind the flow of electricity. The higher the voltage, the more it takes to stop that pressure from breaking through any defenses you may have in place like surge protectors.
  • Any outage in the power grid can cause surges. No matter the cause of the outage, once the power is restored, it can cause a dangerous rush of power. Sometimes this can happen faster than you can react, such as when the power flickers or even when it's out for a few moments.  
  •  Even the smallest of appliances in your home can be guilty of surges. It's usually an outdated AC unit or a washer/dryer, but even a malfunctioning vacuum can betray your trust. That's why it is important to replace old, inefficient HVAC systems, appliances, and devices. Typically, if your appliances are over 7-10 years old, you should consider replacing them; not only to protect against surges, but to increase energy efficiency. Although the appliance may still be working after 10 years, internal components and cords become more vulnerable to surges and electrical failure as they age.
  • If you own a home that's at least 40 years old, your wiring may also be a disaster waiting to happen. With the massive increase in electrical gadgets that we have all become used to, many homes were not originally built to maintain the amount of power now required. Overloading your home's wiring with higher electrical usage than intended can be an unnecessary risk. It can also increase the likelihood of surges from the other sources mentioned. The wiring is not something you should try to mess with on your own. If your home is 40+ years old or you haven't had it inspected in the past 5 years, give us a call to have our electricians check determine the load of power your home can manage and if it's sufficient to support your lifestyle. It could mean some basic upgrades to your home's wiring to keep you up and running! 865-351-0241

Ways to Avoid a Surge

While power surges are unavoidable, there are many ways to mitigate the risks. Your home and everything in it is likely the most valuable thing you own; and it houses everything you have! The cost of preventing surges can be easily justified to protect it. The following are some of the most sensible and effective ways to prevent power surge damage to your home and belongings.

  • You may already be aware of the first line of surge defense: the breaker box. Breakers are small switches that automatically cut power to part or all of your home if it senses a voltage higher than it can safely handle. Think of it as a pressure release valve. Without breakers, it would be nearly impossible to have electricity in our homes. Electrical fire would be a constant and real threat. As helpful as breakers are, they simply prevent a surge from causing catastrophic damage to the electrical system; not the dozens of devices and appliances you have plugged in around your residence.
shower head against wall tile
  • Surge protectors, also known as power strips, are a useful and affordable option to protect your most valuable possessions. It is crucial to note - not all power strips are surge protectors. Surge protectors behave similarly to breakers. They have a switch that acts as a gate keeper against high voltage. If they sense an overload of power, they close the gate to whatever it is powering. We suggest consulting an electrician to match the proper surge protector with the appliance or device that you're using it with. It is also important to purchase high-quality surge protectors that can handle a power spike.
  • Whole-home surge protection is one of the most reliable ways to prevent surges. These devices work in conjunction with your breaker box to prevent surges from both inside and outside of your home. 60-80 percent of surges come from within your own house. Appliances cycling on and off are a common cause, so damage from that type of surge is often unexpected. Whole-home surge protectors should only be installed by a trained electrician. If you're interested in learning more, give ONE Service Pros a call at 865-351-0241.
  • Re-wiring your home can be a necessary and sensible solution to many electrical concerns; including surges. As previously mentioned, many older homes have outdated wiring that cannot support modern electrical infrastructure. We recommend having your wiring checked by a licensed electrician. If you want your wiring inspected by the best electricians in the area, call ONE Service Pros at 865-351-0241. Preventative action can save you a headache in the future. 

  • The surest way to prevent a surge is to completely unplug appliances, TVs, and HVAC units during harsh weather or other predictable events. Completely cutting off power from the source is the only sure way to prevent damage to your belongings. However, as stated before, most surges come from inside your own home; something you can't see coming.

There are a lot of things you can do to prevent power surges in your home. Most surges can be avoided by following these steps, but we always recommend consulting our trusted electricians to help customize surge protection for your home. Call us to schedule an appointment with ONE Service Pros; ONE call, we can do it all! 865-351-0241

shower head against wall tile

Ways to Avoid a Surge

While power surges are unavoidable, there are many ways to mitigate the risks. Your home and everything in it is likely the most valuable thing you own; and it houses everything you have! The cost of preventing surges can be easily justified to protect it. The following are some of the most sensible and effective ways to prevent power surge damage to your home and belongings.

  • You may already be aware of the first line of surge defense: the breaker box. Breakers are small switches that automatically cut power to part or all of your home if it senses a voltage higher than it can safely handle. Think of it as a pressure release valve. Without breakers, it would be nearly impossible to have electricity in our homes. Electrical fire would be a constant and real threat. As helpful as breakers are, they simply prevent a surge from causing catastrophic damage to the electrical system; not the dozens of devices and appliances you have plugged in around your residence.
  • Surge protectors, also known as power strips, are a useful and affordable option to protect your most valuable possessions. It is crucial to note - not all power strips are surge protectors. Surge protectors behave similarly to breakers. They have a switch that acts as a gate keeper against high voltage. If they sense an overload of power, they close the gate to whatever it is powering. We suggest consulting an electrician to match the proper surge protector with the appliance or device that you're using it with. It is also important to purchase high-quality surge protectors that can handle a power spike.
  • Whole-home surge protection is one of the most reliable ways to prevent surges. These devices work in conjunction with your breaker box to prevent surges from both inside and outside of your home. 60-80 percent of surges come from within your own house. Appliances cycling on and off are a common cause, so damage from that type of surge is often unexpected. Whole-home surge protectors should only be installed by a trained electrician. If you're interested in learning more, give ONE Service Pros a call at 865-351-0241.
  • Re-wiring your home can be a necessary and sensible solution to many electrical concerns; including surges. As previously mentioned, many older homes have outdated wiring that cannot support modern electrical infrastructure. We recommend having your wiring checked by a licensed electrician. If you want your wiring inspected by the best electricians in the area, call ONE Service Pros at 865-351-0241. Preventative action can save you a headache in the future. 

  • The surest way to prevent a surge is to completely unplug appliances, TVs, and HVAC units during harsh weather or other predictable events. Completely cutting off power from the source is the only sure way to prevent damage to your belongings. However, as stated before, most surges come from inside your own home; something you can't see coming.

There are a lot of things you can do to prevent power surges in your home. Most surges can be avoided by following these steps, but we always recommend consulting our trusted electricians to help customize surge protection for your home. Call us to schedule an appointment with ONE Service Pros; ONE call, we can do it all! 865-351-0241