As a new homeowner, you probably know that lightning storms can bring the risk of power surges. What you may not realize is that your home is at risk of small, repeated power surges all the time. Even small power surges can be damaging to your home's wiring, electronics and more. Here are a few things you should understand about power surges and their effect on your home.
There are many things that can cause power surges in your home. Some of the things to be concerned about include fluctuations in the power supply from your electric provider as well as environmental issues. Lightning strikes are usually the most damaging, though, because they cause significant spikes in the electricity. Sometimes power surges can be caused by appliances in the house that aren't functioning the way that they should.
Power surges can affect far more than just your wiring. Power surges can even travel through cable and phone lines, especially when they're caused by lightning. When surges do reach your wiring, they can be damaging because your home's wiring isn't designed to withstand that kind of voltage in the lines. The increase can actually cause an electricity arc in appliances, and it could short out the circuit boards of some of your more delicate electronics.
There are several different ways to protect your home from the damaging effects of power surges. Here are a couple of things you should talk to your electrician about.
- Surge Protection - Surge protection devices help to form a blockade against surges so that your electrical appliances aren't exposed to those fluctuations. You can invest in power strips that you plug into the outlets to provide some surge protection, or you can have your electrician swap your power outlets for ones with integrated surge protection instead.
- Electrical Ground - Electrical wiring needs to have a secure ground. Check the electrical meter in your area for presence of a ground. You should have grounding rods in the soil around the meter with wiring and copper caps sticking up off the tops. If not, your electrician can install new ones.
- Whole-house Current Regulators - Your electrician may suggest that you install a current regulator on the incoming electrical line in your house. This current regulator will help to maintain a steady current from the electrical supply line even if it fluctuates slightly from the power company. It collects all of the incoming current and then uses a regulator to slow that power supply so that your home doesn't experience any surges.
For more tips, talk with an electrician like C & R Electric, Inc.