How to Avoid Power Surges on an Outlet

October 21, 2020

Power surges can destroy your sensitive electronic equipment, like computers, televisions and mobile devices. When a surge occurs, it can burn out the delicate components inside your electronics, destroying them. This can be upsetting and frustrating when it’s an external cause, like power line damage or electrical storms—but it’s even worse when you cause the surge inside your own home.

Here’s why they happen and how to avoid power surges in Carlsbad, NM.

How power surges happen

Power surges can happen internally or externally. For example, when your power company is switching the power grid, this can cause a surge of electricity to enter your home and burn out equipment. Lightning is another common cause—it can enter your home through cables, telephone lines, service lines or satellite dishes and move through the wiring in your building.

Power surges can also occur when you turn major appliances on and off, such as your air conditioner or refrigerator motor.

The reason power surges are such a problem is because they overload the wiring. Most electronics are set to receive a 120-volt alternating current (AC). However, the voltage delivered to your home isn’t always 120 volts—sometimes it’s less, and sometimes it can go up to 169 volts. A power surge occurs when the voltage exceeds 169 volts. This generates heat, which burns out sensitive components.

How to avoid power surges

Here are some tips for avoiding power surges:

  • Use surge protectors: You’re probably familiar with surge protectors, and there are also surge protector outlets readily available. Plug your sensitive equipment into surge protectors to keep them from overloading your computers, TVs and cell phones during a power surge.
  • Get a whole-home surge protector: Alternatively, you can have a whole-home surge protector involved, which acts as a middleman between the power grid and your home’s electrical system. It’s installed near the breaker box and will keep your entire home safe from unexpected power surges.
  • Have your wiring inspected: Outdated or improperly installed wiring exacerbates power surge problems. Older homes are particularly notorious for bad wiring, since our electrical needs have drastically changed over the last century. Have an electrician inspect your building’s wiring to ensure your wiring can support your electrical load.
  • Use energy-efficient appliances: Another great way to reduce your energy usage and prevent surges is to invest in energy-efficient appliances, like air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines and more. Not only will you save on your power bill each month, but you’ll reduce the risk of generating your own power surge just by living your life.
  • Unplug electronics during a storm. Finally, it’s always wise to unplug delicate electronics during a storm. If you see the lights flickering during a lightning storm, unplug everything that could get blown out and wait for the storm to pass.

The team at JB Electric LLC are expert commercial and residential electricians. If you need to get to the bottom of your household power outage causes in Carlsbad, NM, reach out to us right away.

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