Summertime Power Surge Prevention

As much as we love the summer sun, sometimes the heat and humidity of Minnesota summers can make us feel like we’re living in a covered frying pan. But our skin isn’t the only thing at risk of being fried in the summer. While you’re busy cranking up the AC to cool down, the excess stress on your home’s electrical system could cause a power surge that “fries” the circuits of your electrical appliances, causing irreparable damage.

What is a power surge?

A power surge occurs when an increased demand for energy causes a brief spike in the flow of electricity. This spike in power can incinerate the electrical circuitry inside your expensive home appliances, especially those that rely on microprocessors, like computers and TV’s. Surges can also cause serious damage to outlets, light switches and light bulbs.

Why are power surges more common in the summer?

In the summer, people tend to overwork their electric system by running appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators at peak capacity. All that extra power flowing through your system can upset the steady stream of electricity and provoke energy spikes.

Summer also increases risk of power surges due to the prevalence of summer thunderstorms. A lightning strike to your home or a nearby power line can disrupt the voltage current in your home’s electric system, causing a power surge.

What can I do to protect against power surges?

One option is to install surge protectors on all your major appliances. Surge protectors look like a power strip, but divert excess electricity to the outlet’s ground wire to shield your appliance. It’s also wise to unplug all electronics in the event of a power outage, as surges commonly occur when the power comes back on.

However, it can be costly to purchase multiple surge protectors and they typically aren’t powerful enough to offer more than limited protection. To ensure the safety of your valuable electrics and home circuitry, consider installing a whole-house surge protector. Whole-house surge protectors are inexpensive and protect all your appliances at once by diverting potentially damaging electrical surges to the ground wire directly from the central service panel.

What should I do after a power surge?

Unfortunately, if your home is struck by an intense power surge that fries your appliances, there’s nothing you can do after the fact except to equip your electrical devices with surge protectors to guard them against damage from any future power surges. That’s why prevention and preparation are so important. The end of the summer is notorious for severe thunderstorms, so make sure you’re prepared.

To learn more about whole-house surge protectors or to schedule a professional installation, contact Bonfe today.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on July 8, 2015.

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