Power surges happen whenever the wiring in your home or office experiences brief jolts of high electrical voltage. Power surges can be minor or severe. Even appliances or electronics that are turned off can flicker or buzz during a power surge, making it seem as though Casper is paying you a visit.
Far from harmless though, power surges can damage your electrical outlets, fry your appliances and electronics and start dangerous electrical fires. Being cognizant and proactive against the causes of power surges can potentially save your electronics and more importantly, your life. Here are five serious causes of power surges and what you can do to protect your home or business.
1. Overloaded Outlets or Circuits
Survey the outlets under your desk, behind your television set, or anywhere else you have a tangled web of wires. Plugging in too many appliances or electronics in the same socket can lead to power surges and electrical fires.
If you are experiencing power surges, have an electrician check to see if all of the outlets in a room might be operating on the same circuit. If so, overloading one outlet might not be the problem. The circuit itself may be overloaded trying to power too many appliances in the same room.
2. Damaged or Exposed Wiring
Pesky little critters such as mice or squirrels can chew on the wiring inside the walls of your house or building causing the wiring to fail. Damaged or exposed wires can cause power surges because the electricity flowing through them is not being directed or handled in the way it normally should.
If wires are damaged, you may even smell smoke as the wires can melt or burn up due to the abnormal flow of voltage. Note that exposed wires should not be handled as they can cause electrocution. Instead, consult an electrician who can test and replace the affected outlets and wires as needed to ensure safety.
3. Lightning Strikes
Lightning touching down simply near your power line can lead to an extra spike in electrical voltage of millions of volts. That's why your cable box, lamp, or computer do not stand a chance against a power surge caused by lightning strikes, unless you are using a surge protector. During especially severe storms however, it may be best to power down and unplug expensive equipment.
Power surges from lightning strikes can destroy your electronics causing them to fail to power back on. This can be an expensive and annoying problem. For a business this can lead to data loss, or the need to replace costly equipment.
4. High-Power Electrical Devices
High-energy appliances or machines like elevators, refrigerators and air conditioners can cause energy spikes and power surges. That is because when they power on they tend to draw an abnormally large amount of electricity and that excess power courses throughout the circuit, overpowering other appliances and electronics in its path. When this happens it is common to notice the lights flickering or blinking off and on in your house or office.
5. Power Outages
Ever notice how momentarily bright all your lights get when they first come back on after a power outage? The idea that a power outage can cause a power surge seems counter-intuitive. However, that massive burst of energy that turns the power back on for a whole neighborhood, town or state may lead to excess energy coursing through the lines.
How to Protect Your Home or Business
The easiest way to prevent damage from power surges is to be proactive. What can you do? Have a whole-home or building surge protector installed. You may also use individual surge protectors at the outlet level. If you are experiencing power surges in your home or office, contact Supreme Electric so we can effectively fix your electrical problems to keep you safe.