How To Survive The Surge

We’ve already given you a few pieces of information pertaining to surge protection and the various types of surge protection devices (SPD) available. But today, Sunburst Electric would like to walk you through the types of SPD specifically designed to cater to your home.

Surges come in three forms: Destructive, dissipative, and disruptive (the three damage-dealing Ds). Destructive surges are instant death for your electronics. They originate outside your home, and are most frequently caused by lightning strikes. Dissipative surges happen when there are high-frequency pulsations from malfunctioning equipment. They’re the slow-kill type of surges since they won’t immediately damage your electronics, but gradually reduce the lifespan of your gear. Disruptive surges aren’t fatal either, but they’re far from innocuous. Often, if you have two different types of equipment on the same breaker, these insidious surges affect the electronic device and result in some annoying behaviour (spookily changing the speed of your washing machine, for example, or resetting your router mid Netflix binge-fest). All of the 3 Ds can be eliminated with SPD installations.

The world of SPD is varied, and there are myriad choices and options available. You may never be completely covered from every surge, but you can prevent the vast majority of possible damage. Start the process by investigating which areas in your home and most at risk of experiencing surges. Make it fun! Don a lab coat, grab your clipboard, and make a list (check it twice). Once you’ve sorted naughty from nice, think about the type of surge protection each area needs. 

Power strips are good for limiting surges for specific devices (like your TV, that gaming laptop, and that cool new retro-style kettle). They’re simple installations – plug and play. They do allow you to have extra outlets as well. But they’re very limited in terms of their application. They aren’t going to give you much protection, though.

Surge protectors, on the other hand, will give your greater protection. They come with joule meters, so you can choose how many joules (the unit of energy) you would prefer the surge protector to absorb. The higher, the better. Make sure that you’re keeping an eye on these types of SPDs, though, since once they’re absorbed their specified capacity, they’ve reached their limit and they stop working.That, of course, means your goodies and gadgets are at risk. Keep in mind that a really big surge could also fill up that joule absorption meter.

Whole house surge protection is becoming increasingly popular and has far fewer drawbacks. With the rainy season upon us once more, it’s definitely time to start thinking of this form of surge protection. Okay, fine, but what is it anyway? Firstly, it’s not a giant plug. Whole house surge protectors are installed by professionals. It’s not a good idea to Google ‘how to install whole house surge protection’ and dust off that DIY toolbelt for this one. Whole house surge protection needs to be installed at your electrical box. And it needs to be properly grounded (which doesn’t mean that it can’t watch TV for a week. Grounding or earthing refers to the path the electricity travels). 

Once that’s done, you’ll have protection against unexpected power surges in a number of ways. This form of protection keeps the circuit boards on your devices safe (remember, pretty much all of your appliances these days – like your TV, washing machine, smart devices, LED light bulbs, fridges, etc. – have their own circuit boards). Whole house surge protection also ensures that when those devices cycle between on and off, the excess energy doesn’t damage your home. And the last – but certainly not least – form of protection you get from whole house surge protection is the much-needed protection against voltage spikes when a certain energy provider finally restores your power. As an added bonus, you’re also protected from direct lightning strikes.

While the initial cost of getting the right kind of surge protection set up in your home may be high, the amount of money you’ll save on not having to go shopping for another TV/computer/fridge/retro-styled kettle will add up. When you think about it that way, there’s really no need not to get one (or even a few different types), is there?

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