The silent culprits behind the unexplained damage to our home electronics are power surges. Why did we refer to them as the silent culprits? That’s because power surges occur at random and almost always go undetected.
For those that don’t already know, power surges are the sudden spikes in the electrical voltage. Do you sometimes notice how your light bulbs suddenly shine extra bright for a few seconds before they go back to normal? But have you ever noticed when that tends to happen? It’s a common occurrence after the electricity comes back on after a breakdown in your neighborhood, or during a thunderstorm. But there are definitely some common factors that people usually are not aware of which can easily trigger a power surge.
How to Protect Your Electronic Devices and Appliances
There are of course ways to protect your home electronics and appliances from the damage that occurs because of power surges. The damage can range from anything minimal to rendering the device completely useless. But another fact that you should know, some devices take a lot of hits before they ultimately stop working.
For complete home surge protection people can subscribe to surge coverage plans offered by private companies as well as local electrical companies. What these plans entail, is that they provide monetary coverage for the expense of any repairs or replacements of your damaged devices.
Other than that, there are surge protectors available in the markets. These are similar to external plugs or extension cords, except that they have built in circuit breakers that can ground the excess voltage instead of letting it pass through to your devices that are plugged in. They are however slightly expensive but a great investment if you wish to prolong the lifespan of your devices. However, the lifespan of a surge protector itself depends entirely on the how may power surges it has endured, as well as their intensity each time.
4 Factors That Trigger a Power Surge
Here are certain factors that trigger power surges, and should ideally be kept in mind so that you can be more cautious and minimize the damage to your home electronics.
Lightning and thunderstorms are one of the most obvious and common causes of power surges. A single lightning bolt carries within it millions of volts. Imagine the intensity of the damage if it strikes any surface. Lightning strikes have been known to cause damage to physical structures, and when it comes to other things, lightning finds its way into our homes through underground cables and poles. This massive influx of electricity, which is a hundred times more than the required amount by a small television for instance, can be quite damaging.
It’s always suggested that you should unplug devices during thunderstorms or lightning storms. And areas that are frequent to such weather conditions probably witness a lot of problems with their electronics.
- Overloaded Power Outlets
When you plug in one too many devices into a single power source or outlet, especially ones that have a big difference in the voltage required, there is bound to be a power surge at some point. The imbalance of the electricity passing into the outlet and to the devices can be damaging to either of the devices plugged in.
In this case, it’s best to use a surge protector in place of a regular multi-plug or extension cord.
- Faulty Wires
So why do faulty and old wires trigger a power surge? That is because they develop a lesser electrical resistance overtime, so any source that is a conductor can easily trigger a surge. But wiring is mostly within the walls and stricture of the house itself, how would know if it’s faulty? Is damage to the electronic appliance a sign? Well, it is, but one that’s too late so there are other telltale signs that you can watch out for.
- Burn marks around an outlet.
- An odd, burning odor from the outlet.
- An audible buzzing sound coming from the outlet.
- Power Breakdowns
An example that we gave above of lights shining extra bright before going back to normal, was one that is usually a result of power restoration after a breakdown. Breakdowns in the grid aren’t the cause, it is when the power is switched back on and let back into the grid that triggers a surge almost every time. The influx of power can be extensive and that sudden rush of electricity back into our homes is the reason.
Quite common phenomenon that people wouldn’t have thought of that can trigger power surges. And for those that presume they are harmless, you’re wrong. Power surges, even though they can have minimal intensity are very damaging. They reduce the lifespan of home appliances and electronic devices. And although there is no permanent solution to ending the problem of power surges, take a look at our suggestions, of the ways in which you can provide protection to your home and electronics.