Whenever powerful thunderstorms threaten, your home’s electrical system and your electronics are at risk of being damaged by power surges. The best way to protect your electronics is with a surge protector.
What Causes a Power Surge?
Power surges can occur for a couple of reasons. Electrically-powered appliances such as refrigerators, space heaters and air conditioners can cause electrical current to spike as they turn on. These spikes can damage electrical systems, especially in a home with faulty wiring.
Tripped circuit breakers and short circuits in the electrical system may lead to power spikes, while lightning strikes are another common source for power surges. A strike near a power line can cause your power to spike, even if the line is far away.
These spikes can be serious, burning out computer monitors, televisions and your HVAC system. A power surge can also cause a fire.
Protecting Your Home From Power Spikes
The typical surge protector — the one that looks like a simple power strip and that is used for plugging in multiple appliances — will not save your electronics from a strong power spike. It’s better than nothing, but damage can still occur and you should unplug all appliances during an electrical storm if this is all you have.
When it comes to choosing surge protectors, it’s a general rule that the bigger it is, the better. Surge protectors are rated according to capacity to absorb electrical surges. This capacity is given in so-called Joule ratings. It’s best to purchase a device that is rated at least 600 Joules, or even higher. Lower-rated devices may not protect your appliances from power spikes.
A whole-house surge protector is the best choice. It connects to the main electrical panel and will protect the home’s electrical system against power spikes. Whenever lightning strikes close by, and there’s a spike in the main line, the surge protector reduces the current before it flows into your home.
For more on what a surge protector can do for your home, contact Cool Power. We’ve served Long Island since 1976.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about surge protectors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.
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