Thursday, January 7, 2016

Whole House Surge Protection Needed to Avoid Damage

Did you know that power strips are not really adequate protection for your home or business? 

With so many homes receiving new electronic devices as Christmas gifts, we thought we would take some time to talk about protecting those new electronic devices and home appliances from power surges.
Power surges are bursts of higher than normal electrical voltages.  Surges may last for only a few millionths of a second however they can carry tens of thousands of volts of electricity. When a power surge occurs it will follow any wire into a house. That means all lines- including phone and cable lines- are conductors and that can mean damage to all electrical devices and appliances in your home.  Although many people associate power surges with lightning strikes, power surges can also start inside the home with major appliances such as refrigerators, clothes dryers, and air conditioning units that cycle on and off. These small surges can cause minor damage that may not be evident right away, but will be show over time.

Protecting your valuable appliances and electronics from power surges requires a two-sided approach. At Great Lakes Electric, we recommend installing whole house surge protection to guard against power surges. This is a device that is hardwired into a home’s electrical panel and protects all electrical devices and appliances in the home. When higher than normal voltage spike occurs the whole house surge protection device reroutes the excess voltage to the ground wire. Once the levels return to a normal voltage, the electricity is restored to its normal flow. Hardwired surge protection devices are recommended by the National Fire Protection Association and the Institute for Business and Home Safety. Whole house surge protection installation starts at $375.00 at the low end which includes labor and materials.

The second side to this approach is utilizing “plug in” surge protectors to cover any potential gaps in the protection for vulnerable appliances and electronics.  It is important to remember that not all surge protectors are high quality and actually some are just a little more than glorified extension cords so plugging appliances into a power strip cannot guarantee you will avoid damage. Power strips and surge stations come in many sizes and you can expect to pay between $20 and $70 for a quality surge station or power strip. A surge station can be utilized to guard certain appliance and electrical devices such as the components of a home theatre system or computer against damaging power surges.

To find out if your home and valuable appliances and electronic devices are protected, contact us at Great Lakes Electric today for an electrical assessment. In today’s age of advanced electronics, you want to be sure to avoid any damage created by power surges in your home. Our team of qualified electricians can show you the best way to protect your home.