What is a power surge?
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a power surge—or transient voltage—is an unexpected and undesirable spike in voltage. It can damage, deteriorate, or destroy appliances and other electrical equipment in your house.
In the US, most domestic electrical power is 120-volt, 60 Hz, single-phase, alternating current. Voltage generally alternates between 0 to a peak of 169 volts. When there are spikes—or transients, this is known as a power surge. Now, this may seem a bit confusing, so we’ve illustrated it in a graph below.
What causes a power surge?
External power surges can result from things such as lightning or a tree limb touching a power line. These types of surges cause dramatic spikes in your home’s voltage levels and pose an immediate risk to your electronics.
Internal power surges are far more common. Numbers published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) indicate that 60–80% of surges originate within a facility.
These power surges can slowly damage your electronics over time, shortening their lifespan.
What are the telltale signs of a power surge?
When most people think of a power surge, they envision smoking laptops or blacked-out TVs. But the truth is that not all power surges immediately destroy electronic devices.
Here are some more common symptoms that indicate your house might be experiencing a power surge.
- Devices lose power: When devices lose power and/or unexpectedly start resetting themselves, it’s a good indicator of a voltage spike
- Electrical appliances are not working: This is also a common result of power surges. The high voltage damages your electronics to the point where they stop working altogether.
- Tripped wires or circuit breaker: A power surge will cause an overload in the circuit. The breaker or fuse is designed to trip so the high voltage doesn’t overheat wires and damage appliances.
- Defective wiring: Bad wiring includes frayed wires, warm wall outlets, and flickering lights.
How to protect your home from a power surge?
While you can’t prevent a power surge from happening, there are ways you can secure your home. Switching off electronics when you’re not using them and investing in proper wiring and safety switches can save you from a headache later.
RHK Electrical offers superior electrical services in Katy, TX. We specialize in electrical installations, repairs, and upgrades for homes. If you’re looking for an electrician for homes, call us at +1 832 948 6019 or fill out this form so we can contact you.