A severe thunderstorm rolls into town and it brings fast and furious lightning strikes with it. The power goes out for a brief period of time, but luckily it turns back on. You go to turn on the television to find out more information about the storm, but it just won’t seem to turn on. Sound familiar?
It may come as no surprise that electronic devices won’t work during a power outage, but everything should return to normal once the storm passes and electricity is restored, right? Well, you may have been a victim of a power surge — and that could be the very reason your TV won’t turn on. What’s worse is that some of your other electronic devices could have been affected as well.
So, what is a power surge and how can you keep your devices protected? Find out below!
WHAT IS A POWER SURGE?
Surges can originate when an electrical utility company performs power grid switches, or when a thunder and lightning storm rolls into town. A surge is generally meant as a wave of voltage or power in an electrical circuit that lasts a brief time. Put simply, a power surge is a spike in your home’s electrical current. They can enter your home through cable TV wires or satellite dish wires, through telephone lines or through your home’s electrical service line.
Generally speaking, homes in the United States operate on electrical power in the form of 120 volts, 60 hertz. However, voltage rises and falls in a predetermined rhythm, reaching a peak of 169 volts.
When a power surge takes place, voltage rises over the peak of 169 volts and that’s where damage to your electrical devices comes into play. Most of them simply aren’t designed to handle these spikes in voltage.
CAN A POWER SURGE TRIP A MAIN BREAKER?
Yes, power surges can trip main breakers. Power surges trip main breakers because they bring too much power for the panel to operate safely.
Not only can power surges trip main breakers, but they’re the leading cause of tripped main breakers.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY ELECTRONIC DEVICES FROM A POWER SURGE?
Now you’re probably wondering, “well, what can I do to protect my devices from a power surge?” And don’t worry, there are some preventive measures you can take.
First and foremost, it’s best to unplug devices such as your computer, television, appliances, chargers, etc. whenever a thunder and lightning storm rolls into town. After all, your devices cannot physically be affected if they’re not plugged into an outlet when a power surge strikes.
You should also consider plugging your devices into a point-of-surge protection device whenever they’re in use. This will help divert unreasonably high spikes in voltage to the ground so that it doesn’t go straight through your electronics.
Pro Tip: not all power strips offer surge protection. Be sure to look for one that is specifically designed to handle and divert extreme spikes in voltage.
Additionally, you can have special outlets installed that are specifically designed to offer surge protection. These are especially useful in areas of the home where there isn’t quite enough room to plug in a surge protector.
If that’s not enough, you can opt for whole-home surge protection. This includes a single device that connects to the main electrical panel and its goal is to protect any and all electronic devices in your home should there ever be a power surge.
How do they work? Even if lightning strikes nearby and a spike takes place in your main electrical line, the surge protection device will help to reduce the surge before it gets into your home.
When you need electric services on Long Island—from the simple to the complex—Universe Home Services is ready to help! Since 1954, we’ve been the region’s trusted electrical experts, serving Nassau County and Suffolk County.