3 Tips to Protect Your Home from an Electrical Surge

3 Tips to Protect Your Home from an Electrical Surge
23 May 2017

Sunshine, beach days and cookouts define summertime for many individuals. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most likely seasons for a power surge to enter a home, frying delicate circuits in televisions, computers, security systems and other expensive electronics. While it’s impossible to predict when disastrous power surges will strike, it is possible to prevent damages and even injuries by following a few simple steps.

Surges can enter a home through lightning strikes, routine electrical switching operations at local utilities or when large appliances operate. In fact, 60 to 80 percent of surges are created when these large appliances, such as air conditioners, are turned on or off according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). Without a surge protector installed (a surge can overwhelm or damage ordinary defenses like fuses or circuit breakers) or a lightning protection system in place (to intercept the lightning and channel energy onto a low-resistance path), televisions, computers, security systems and more are at risk.

CDA recommends a three-tier strategy to prevent expensive damages since electrical disasters can’t be predicted:

1) Use surge suppressors on electrical meters or service panels to automatically divert the surge into the ground. They protect the entire electrical system “downstream” of the installation point.

2) Use point-of-use surge protectors like power strips that have built-in circuit breakers in them.

3) Use a proper grounding system for the entire home. Many homes are insufficiently grounded, so ensuring that the home is properly grounded on the outside is important to preserve the safety of the homeowners and their neighbors.

As with any electrical job, these matters should be handled by a professional. The best way to safeguard against electrical hazards is to have a professional electrician install, inspect and — if necessary — upgrade your wiring. It’s not worth the risk to rely on non-copper wiring materials that can corrode, loosen or fail under pressure.

Visit the CDA’s Building Wire section for more information about residential electrical wiring.

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Comments

  1. NFPA states, there is no better protection from un harnessed electric surge than a properly installed lightning protection system, of which a qualifying surge protection unit is a part. A surge unit is left to licensed electrician. However, the lightning protection is best left to a U.L. listed installer of lightning protection who is also certified by Lightning Protection Institute.

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