Simply put, surge protectors will protect your home and your appliances in the event that a power surge should happen. And, believe it or not, power surges happen more often than we think. In fact, lightning is the least common cause for power surges.
More than half of household power surges are internal. These happen dozens of times of day, usually when devices with motors start up or shut off, diverting electricity to and from other appliances. Refrigerators and air conditioners are the biggest culprits, but smaller devices like hair dryers and power tools can also cause problems.
External power surges
An external power surge, stemming from outside your home, is most commonly caused by a tree limb touching a power line, lightning striking utility equipment or a small animal getting into a transformer. Surges can also occur when the power comes back on after an outage, and can even come into your home through telephone and cable TV lines.
Why worry about power surges?
Your home is filled with items susceptible to power surges. Anything containing a microprocessor is especially vulnerable - the tiny digital components are so sensitive that even a 10-volt fluctuation can disrupt proper functioning.
Microprocessors are found in hundreds of consumer items, including TVs, cordless phones, computers, microwaves, and even seemingly "low-tech" large appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators.
Large power surges, as with a lightning strike, can cause instantaneous damage, "frying" circuits and melting plastic and metal parts. Fortunately, these types of power surges are rare.
Low-level power surges won't melt parts or blow fuses, but they can cause "electronic rust," gradually degrading internal circuitry until it ultimately fails.
Small surges won't leave any outward evidence, so you may not even be aware they're happening - even though they may occur dozens or even hundreds of times each day.
Why to choose a whole house surge protector?
People commonly use surge protector strips to protect their computers and television equipment. However the majority of modern appliances have circuit boards, like the one found in television equipment and computer, which can just as easily be damage by power surges. Also LED lighting incorporates miniature circuit board which can be damaged by power surges.
All surge protectors are not created equally.
A whole house surge protector offers greater protection than the majority of surge protection strips. When choosing a surge protector the most important considerations are the joules rating and the nominal discharge rating.
What does Joules rating mean?
The joules rating of a surge protector indicates how much energy the device can absorb and dissipate before the device fails. A higher number indicates a greater level of protection. The minimum recommendation for a device is 600 joules. At Truitt Electric & Security, we offer models with 1,890 joules to 2,890 joules ratings.
What does nominal discharge rating mean?
The goal of surge protectors is to limit transient overvoltages with a goal of preventing equipment damage and downtime due to transient voltage surges reaching the devices they protect.
A useful analogy makes this clearer. Consider a water mill protected by a pressure relief valve. The pressure relief valve does nothing until an over-pressure pulse occurs in the water supply. When that happens, the valve opens and shunts the extra pressure aside, so that it won't reach the water wheel.
If the relief valve was not present, excessive pressure could damage the water wheel, or perhaps the linkage for the saw. Even though the relief valve is in place and working properly, some remnant of the pressure pulse will still reach the wheel. But pressure will have been reduced enough not to damage the water wheel or disrupt its operation. This describes the action of surge protective devices. They reduce transients to levels that will not damage or disrupt the operation of sensitive electronic equipment.
So the nominal discharge rating indicates how much voltage the device can discharge. To use the water analogy above. A larger discharge rating indicates a large hose that is able to handle a greater amount of water.
Power your home or business with an electrician you can trust. Truitt Electric & Security in Knoxville, Tennessee, provides high quality, professional electrical services. You can count on us and our work, every time. Our wiring is safe and reliable.
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