Power Surges and
Why you need Surge Protection! The standard designated flow of electricity is 220 volts. When voltage increases such that it substantially exceeds this standard, it is referred to as a ‘power surge’. At its most basic level, this causes wiring to overheat and begin to burn – which can cause damage to the tune of thousands if not millions of rands for homes and businesses, who both use an abundance of expensive appliances and devices.
These devices can be protected and the risk of damage averted by using effective surge protection. Several electronic devices contain sensitive circuitry or microchips. Even a slight surge in voltage to these systems can put a strain on the device, which compromises its ability to perform as it was built to. In some instances, if the surge in voltage is extreme enough, these devices can be completely destroyed, almost instantaneously.
What Causes Power Surges?
In most cases, the toggled use of heavy-duty (‘juice hungry’) appliances such as air conditioners and elevators is to blame for creating power surges. The reason for this is that – because their operation requires significant amounts of electricity – sudden bursts of activity when these appliances are used disrupts the constant flow of voltage in a particular electrical system.
The following can also be the cause of power surges:
- Faulty wiring
- Power lines being down or damaged
- Problems with the power utility power lines, transformers and other components
- Lightning – less frequently. Lightning may increase electrical pressure in wiring by millions of volts, overwhelming even the best surge protector completely
Surge Protection Ratings
Standard surge protectors work by passing the electrical current from an electrical outlet to devices currently plugged into the power strip. A surge or spike above the standard level of 220 volts causes the surge protector to automatically redirect the “extra” electricity into the grounding wire attached to that outlet, which quickly returns the voltage to a safe, normal level.
There are 3 important factors to consider when purchasing a surge protection product:
- Clamping voltage: This is a rating score that alerts customers to the level of voltage that will cause the product to pass electricity to the ground wire; The lower the rating, the better the device will be at offering effective protection.
- Energy absorption/dissipation: This is a rating that denotes the device’s capacity to absorb excess electricity before failing. A higher “joule” delivers more protection. A protector with a rating of 600 joules or more provides good protection.
- Response time: Opt for a surge protector that has a response time of less than one nanosecond. The longer the response time, the more your equipment is exposed, and the more vulnerable it will be to damage.
Buying Surge Protectors
Standard electrical outlets (such as those in the average home or office) will benefit adequately from simple surge protectors that are equipped with a breaker to trip the affected device. Many standard surge protection devices are fitted with an indicator light to let the user know that it is working properly.
Other considerations when purchasing surge protection:
- Power Shut Down Protection
- Resettable Circuit Breaker
- Automatic Warning Devices
- 3-Line Protection
Whole House Surge Protectors
A power surge can enter into a home through any single wire and cause immense damage to all electrical equipment inside. There is a common misconception many people hold, that all-around surge protection is simply a matter of plugging multiple devices into a low-cost, multi-outlet surge suppressor (‘multi-plug’). This is unfortunately not realistic.
To protect a range of electronic devices in a single home at once, it is necessary to install a whole-home surge protection system. This system is hard-wired into the building’s main electrical panel by an experienced technician. Telephone and cable lines, as well as delicate circuitry, can be effectively protected by smaller whole-home surge protection systems.
Make use of the less costly multi-outlet device only as a backup, to absorb any excess power that may bypass this more effective whole-home system.
Request an Electrician TODAY to install your Surge Protection.