Protecting your home from a serious power surge is an important part of maintaining and securing your home’s electrical system. It can be inefficient and costly to buy handfuls of surge protector strips and place them around your house. What’s more, is it even realistic to think that you’re going to charge through your house during an intense lightning storm and unplug everything? Since you’re bound to miss something, it is probably not likely. A serious power surge caused by a lightning storm or other problems with the power grid can damage your electrical system at home and cause a lot of hassle dealing with you power company. One of the best ways to prevent this is to protect your home with a whole home surge protector, but not all surge protectors are created equally.
In general, using a surge protector on electrical items is a good way to reduce the likelihood of a catastrophic power shock and appliance damage. The problem is that many surge protectors are really just extension cords that don’t do much to mitigate the damage in the event of a serious electrical surge. Also, during a surge, any wire leading from the outside into your home will carry thousands of volts of surge to your electronics and appliances. This means that if lightning strikes within a mile of your home or a power line is downed, there is not a lot that can be done to prevent a surge from reaching your home. Much of the damaging power from a surge can, however, be slowed with a whole house surge protector.
These surge protectors are commonly known as whole house suppressors and can drastically reduce huge spikes in power from an electrical surge. The whole house devices will divert excessive electricity to the ground wire before it has a chance to overwhelm appliances and electronic devices. When a normal voltage returns, the suppressors return the flow of electricity. For delicate appliances and electronics, individual circuit protectors can be a good idea. These can be attached to protect phone and cable lines.
The best advice when considering whole home surge protection is to go with a combination of a whole house suppressor and individual circuit protectors for important electronics and appliances. Even with a whole home system, up to fifteen percent of excess voltage can pass through the system. This is plenty to cause these items to stop functioning. Having a combination of the two systems, though, will greatly reduce the impact of a powerful surge on you individual appliances and devices.
The surge protectors themselves can vary a lot in size, function, and price. Individual appliance and wall outlet protectors are typically pretty small, but there are large systems that will guard entire electronic setups like home theaters and offices with numerous power hungry computers, printers, and faxes. These plugins can be as simple as a power strip, a large surge station that handles phone and cable lines, or uninterrupted power supplies that guard against fluctuations in power and provide battery backup.
Investing in a good whole home surge protection system can be a financial drain in the short term, but can save you thousands of dollars in the event of a damaging electrical surge. When it comes to the power of electricity, the benefits in having a system that protects your electronics and appliances from surges in power are enormous.
By Ben Vaughn
Ben Vaughn writes for Black Diamond Electric on whole home surge protectors and how to ensure that your home’s electrical wiring is properly grounded.