What is a power surge, anyway?

A power surge is a sudden and unexpected increase in the voltage running through a circuit. Every circuit has a certain amount of voltage it can accommodate and when the limit is exceeded, a power surge occurs.

Power surges can be caused by many different things and the damage they inflict can range from minor to catastrophic.

Types of power surges

Internal power surges originate from within the building. They’re often caused when a circuit is overloaded or by faulty equipment that malfunctions. Air Conditioning units are common culprits for overloading circuits. Most of these power surges are small and don’t last long at all.

External power surges are caused by outside forces such as lighting strikes, power being restored after loadshedding or power outages, and transmission lines or transformers malfunctioning.

What damage can power surges do?

Damage caused by power surges can range from minor to catastrophic depending on the voltage increase and the length of the power surge itself. There are generally three types of power surges, classed according to the amount and severity of the damage they cause. These are commonly referred to as the three damage-dealing Ds. 

Destructive surges are exactly what the name suggests. These surges are external, often caused by lightning and storms. The increase in voltage is sudden and high. The severity of these surges cause irreparable damage by blowing the micro-circuitry and resulting in instant-death for your electronics. 

Dissipative surges can be external or internal. They occur when equipment malfunctions, causing repetitive high-frequency pulsations in short durations. They’re considered slow-kill surges, damaging appliances and equipment more and more each time they occur. They can drastically reduce the lifespan and functioning capacity of your appliances and equipment. 

Disruptive surges are usually internal and occur when a circuit is overloaded. The circuit can’t supply enough power to meet the demand. As a result, small surges occur and damage appliances and equipment connected to the same breaker. These surges aren’t catastrophic but they will cause minor malfunctions and can be very inconvenient.

How to protect against power surges

Loadshedding has returned which means the likelihood of power surges affecting your home or business is higher than usual. Now is the ideal time to invest in surge protection before it’s too late. 

You can buy plug-in surge protector devices from electrical retailers which will only protect appliances plugged into it. Alternatively, you can invest in whole house surge protection to safeguard your home’s electrical systems as well as your appliances.

We offer various surge protection services including whole house surge protection. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you protect your home and appliances. 

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