How to Protect Your Home from Power Surges

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This can happen anytime, anywhere—there’s a terrible storm, the lightning strikes, the power cuts out but quickly returns. However, when you turn on your AC unit, it won’t seem to work. The lightning has hit one of the power lines, causing a surge in the electrical pressure. The surge, unfortunately, has overloaded your AC’s power circuit, which is a costly appliance to replace or even just to repair.

Although lightning are known to cause large spikes in voltage, regular home appliances can cause small power surges every time they are switched on. With continuous small surges, damage may occur and gradually decrease the lifespan of your air conditioner, stereo, refrigerator, computer and anything else powered by electricity.

Learning more about power surges will help protect your property from damage.

What is the Cause of Power Surge?

Power surges are caused by numerous factors. They can be from outside your house, over voltages of utility lines or during a power grid switching.

Although large surges caused by sources like faulty power lines and lightning that can be fixed by in Singapore are quite uncommon, small electrical surges happen every day at home. Fast, short electrical spikes in the electric system are usually caused by:

    • Power outages
    • Lightning
    • Short circuits
    • Tripped circuit breakers
    • Inductive spikes
    • Malfunctions of power company
    • Power transitions in large equipment in the same power line

What Appliances are at Risk?

Any appliance that’s powered by electricity is susceptible to power surges. Modern electronics that rely on microprocessors, such as TVs, DVDs, computers and microwaves, require stable supply of electricity at the right voltage to work properly. Even your larger appliances, like the air conditioner, dish washer and refrigerator, which are usually the cause of power surges, are also at risk of damage when power surges occur due to external sources.

Protect Your Home with Surge Protectors

Surge protection devices are your best solution for your home’s protection against any power surge magnitude. They are often connected to electrical service boxes for easy accessibility. Today’s surge protectors utilize metal oxide varistors (MOVs) to prevent power surges.

While point-of-use protectors are much better than having nothing at all, they cannot stop large surges caused by lightning and power failure. To protect your appliances from lightning, you will need a licensed electrician for the installation of whole-home surge protection.

While MOVs in many surge strips can be destroyed when hit by a surge, the ones in whole-house protectors are especially designed to withstand large surges and last for several years. Newly built homes with expensive power system often come with whole-home surge protectors as a standard home safety feature.

How to Protect Your Home without Whole-Home Surge Protection

If you do not have whole-home power surge protection, here are some of the things you can do to prevent damage to your home appliances and your home’s electrical works.

1. Install GFCI Outlets Throughout Your Home

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets protect against ‘ground faults’—when electricity travels out of an appliance’s wiring, through the nearest power conductor and into the ground. If this conductor happens to be a person, this will not only cause power surge, but also severe injury—or worse death—to the affected person. Installing GFCI outlets, especially in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens, is an easy way to avoid electrocution on people and power surges on appliances.

2. Use a UPS

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) functions like a power strip, but with a back-up battery in it. If any problem is detected in the power source, which includes both power outages and surges, the back-up battery automatically turns on, allowing the appliance to continue working without interruption. This is especially helpful for protecting computers from power outages that can cause permanent lost of work.

3. Upgrade Inadequate Wiring

For homes built in the 1980s or earlier, inadequate wiring could be the cause of power surge. Most electrical wirings of these homes are not designed to handle three-door refrigerators, computer equipment and entertainment systems. Some evident signs of inadequate power source are frequently tripping circuit breakers or blown fuses, or lights that dim or flicker when larger appliances are switched on. Have your electrical system checked by an electrician and have it upgraded if necessary.

4. Fix Overloaded Circuits

If your home is newly built, you may encounter problems of overloaded circuits. Look for larger appliances drawing power from the same electrical circuit, especially in the kitchen. Another cause of power surge may be a circuit with so many smaller devices, such as a room filled with entertainment equipment. To fix an overloaded circuit, call a licensed electrician in Singapore. Ask your electrician to create dedicated circuits for every large appliance, and to install more circuits for rooms with multiple devices.

5. Unplug Unused Devices

The fastest and easiest way to avoid appliance damage due to power surge is to unplug unused appliances. Take a look around the rooms of your home, and you will likely find idle items plugged into outlets. There is no need to leave the toaster, the stereo, the DVD player or the TV plugged in when not in use.

6. Call an Electrician for a Metered-Surge Protection

The most ideal solution is to ask a good electrician to install a surge protector along your electricity line, before your electricity meter. This work should only be done by a professional electrician services personnel and in accordance with your electricity provider’s restrictions.

Weather is unpredictable and lightning and thunderstorms can happen anytime. Protect your home and all your appliances from power surges through these tips and with the help of an electrician services company here in Singapore.

Power Surge?

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