Lightning storms can pop up out of nowhere! During a storm, a strike of lightning can deliver 300 kilovolts of electricity in seconds.
Are your home appliances and electrical devices safe in the event of a power surge? If you are concerned about power surges turns out lighting isn’t the only thing you should worry about.
Read this guide to learn five things you can do to protect your home against power surges and what causes power surges.
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What Causes Power Surges?
When lightning strikes your home or a nearby powerline it can cause a power surge. That electrical jolt can send hundreds of thousands of amps of electricity into your home and cause an electric surge.
Even though it is a terrifying thought a power surge lightning strike has to be fairly close to your home to cause damage.
Thank goodness this is one of the least common causes of an electrical surge. Most power surges are created by much more mundane happenings. Downed lines, faulty wiring, or problems with the electrical equipment are much more common sources for power surges.
Large appliances such as air conditioners or refrigerators can also be culprits. These appliances take a large amount of energy and can often surge the power when they turn on or off.
No matter what causes power surges it is important to know how to protect your home and electrical devices. Keep reading to learn five ways you can protect your home from power surges.
1. Have Your Wiring Inspected
When was the last time you had your home’s wiring inspected? Maybe you had an inspection done before you bought your home but it is recommended that you give it a check every once in a while depending on the type of hiring your home uses.
Wires that are damaged or not properly wrapped in plastic disrupt the electrical flow of the current. This makes your home a prime target for electrical surges.
If you can have an electrician come out and inspect your home. There are a few things you can look for on your own if you can’t have an electrician out.
- Listen for buzzing sounds coming out of outlets
- Watch out for frequent tripping of circuit breakers
- Look for visible burn marks
- Notice any burnt smells around outlets
These can all be signs of faulty wiring in your home. If you notice any of these signs call an electrician immediately to fix the issue.
Do not touch the outlet or attempt to fix it on your own because this can be very dangerous.
2. Install a Whole Home Surge Arrestor
A whole-home surge arrestor protects all of the circuits in your home from a specific range of electrical voltage surges. Surge arrestors can protect your home to up to 20,000 volts. A standard surge protector offers protection up to 6,000 volts of electricity.
These are usually designed for outdoor installation and are installed near your electrical meter outside where the power lines run to your home. A high-end home surge arrestor will monitor the local weather conditions around your home and turn cut your power off if need be.
They can also protect your home from other sources such as a blown transformer or issues with your electric company. However, they do not do anything against power surges that stem from inside your home.
3. Install GFCI Outlets
GCFI stands for ground fault circuit interrupters. These outlets protect your home from overheating, electric shock, and even burns and fires.
Add GFCI outlets to your home to protect your home from power surges that may start inside your home. These outlets have sensors that monitor the input and output of electricity being passed through each outlet.
These outlets quickly cut off the power when they sense an imbalance and prevent damage and injuries to your home.
Chances are your home already has these outlets. They are the ones with the reset buttons. They are usually installed in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
GFCI outlets have three wires: the hot wire, the neutral wire, and the ground wire. These wires all work together to prevent electrical disasters in your home.
4. Use Surge Protectors
Adding an extra layer of protection for sensitive electronics is a good idea. Desktop computers and laptops, TVs, and cell phones are all very susceptible to power surges. Plug them into a surge protector to keep them safe.
Another option is to have an electrician install a UPS or an uninterruptible power station. A UPS creates a steady supply of electricity for your devices and can help protect them during a surge in power.
A UPS or a surge protector should never be considered as the primary protection for your electronic devices against a power surge but it can help provide additional support.
A surge protector simply reduces the amount of power that reaches your device in case of a power surge. That doesn’t mean that a power surge won’t reach your electronics.
5. Unplug Your Devices During a Storm
Are you asking yourself, “What is an inexpensive way to protect against power surges in my home?” We have the answer. Simply unplug all of your appliances and devices during a bad storm.
Even the Department of Homeland Security recommends unplugging devices during a storm. Most devices in America are made to withstand 120 – 169 volts of electricity.
When lighting hits near your home or a powerline it can send millions of volts of electricity into your home and fry your appliances. No appliance can withhold that much electricity.
Be safe and pull the plug before a storm starts. Check your local weather station to see if lightning is expected in the storm and plan accordingly.
There is no need to unplug your appliances for a mild rain shower but you definitely should when a nasty storm is approaching.
Protect Your Home From Power Surges
A power surge is serious. Whether it happens as a result of a lightning strike, faulty wiring, or an error from your electrical company it can still harm your appliances.
You can follow these five ways to protect your home or office from a power surge and save your appliances and electronic devices.
Be sure to prepare for power surges before they happen and follow all proper procedures for what to do after a power surge in case your home is hit.
Please help keep your friends and family safe and share this article with them. If you enjoyed reading this piece, check out our other articles to keep your home safe.