Power Surge is a transient overvoltage with a duration of a few microseconds, i.e., a spike. While to others a “surge” is a momentary overvoltage lasting up to a few seconds. Power surge occurs when there’s an unexpected interruption to the flow of electricity through the power supply station, or when an electrical or electronics device that is supposed to draw electricity suddenly drops it instead.
Though you might know nothing or little about Power surges, you may have seen your circuit breaker tripped off and shut down the electrical system of your home, Most households experience power surges at some point. So, here’s what you really need to know about it, the dangers that result from it, and how to protect your home from it.
Supply voltage in Nigeria and other countries like Ghana, Cameron, Australia etc is at 240 volts, 50 Hz. Many countries, including the United States of America and Japan, have appliances that run at different voltages which is 110V, 60Hz. These appliances when plugged into a power outlet without proper protection, can cause a power surge and lead to damage to the device, this becomes a very serious problem in the house whenever this happens.
Clearly, when you start to see how power surges can be hazardous. While day to day we are unconsciously comfortable and relatively safe using electricity, there is a need for you to know more about one of the things that cause inconveniences or could suddenly damage your devices before a twinkle of an eye.
HOW LONG DOES A POWER SURGE LAST?
The actual sudden increase in electrical current is usually extremely quick, less than a thousandth of a second. Voltage from the spike can vary, from a hundred to thousands of volts. It’s essential to note that voltage doesn’t run at a constant current, it oscillates. That to and fro movement is inherent to the way electric currents behave, and it gets more difficult to analyze when a concept like three-phase power is introduced, which gives rise to separate electrical phases in an alternating current. To make it even more complicated, different countries have different standards, and designing and producing electrical devices can be completed to varying degrees of quality.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF A POWER SURGE?
Power surges can be as a result of a number of elements, most of them within your control:
- Electrical devices with high power ratings can cause power spikes when switched on or when a particular, high energy component like a motor start. Examples of common devices include refrigerators, air conditioners and space heaters.
- Circuit breakers which trip might protect your home, but if they are faulty in the process, they can cause a power surge.
- Faulty or wrong wiring is also a cause of many power surges. Bad wiring will need to be rewired. Consult a professional electrician to check your wiring if it is faulty.
- If a tree limbs and touch power lines can cause a power spike, the tree could either grow into the line, swayed by the wind, or breaking off the tree breach into the line.
- Animals some time moves into electrical equipment like transformers and cause a power surge, most of them get electrocuted during the process.
- Restoration of power supply after a blackout can equally cause power surges as electricity flows into all your appliances that were plugged at once. If you experience power failure from the supply station, turn your appliances off at the PowerPoint and unplug it, plugging them back in one by one after service has been restored will prevent you from having them damaged by spike.
- Lightning/thunder strikes are the one condition that is usually out of our control. If you live in a home were metal around can act as an attractor to lightning, it is advisable to consider installing a lightning rod near the premises.so consult a professional electrician.
WHAT’S AT RISK FROM A POWER SURGE?
Power spike can make your electrical appliances to be faulty. In most cases, the damage will result in loss of functionality, and in other cases, frequent power surges can reduce the quality of the device over time. In rare cases, power surges can lead to electrical fires, which can burn or even destroy the entire home.
WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS?
A power surge always occur so fast that there is usually not much you can do to prevent it from happening, at least the first time. Some clues of a power surge include:
- Circuit breaker tripping or safety switch going off suddenly.
- Unexpected power loss from devices or unanticipated reset of it.
If you see these indications, it’s time to take action and save your home from future occurrences.
Before now, our home appliances were twice the size, and the weight of those we have today, the only advantage was that they could withstand power spike a bit. Presently Microprocessors are an integral part of the design of modern home appliances, and they need a constant rate of power to be able to function effectively, making them extremely defenseless.
Today our devices and appliances are so small and delicate that any disturbance in the power supply line affects them, making surge protection a big concern in comparison to our grandparents, who never bother themselves about such.
The rapid increase in the amount of power in the electrical system is a power surge. Most time whenever this occurs it can damage expensive and sensitive electronics equipment without a warning sign. So, if you don’t want to lose your precious appliances, and gadget such as television, laptops, phone, etc. the following helpful tips will show you how best to keeping your home safe from power surge
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM POWER SURGE
USE SURGE ARRESTOR
One of the most effective ways to protect your electrical appliances from a power spike is to have a surge arrestor installed in your building to protect all electrical circuits in your entire house. The surge arrestor is fixed at the point where the power is fed into your house or close to the distribution panel to protect your home appliance against a sudden increase in power, usually up to around 6000 volts. Having a surge arrestor is thus very vital.
USE SURGE PROTECTORS
Surge protectors help protect your appliances from power surges when they are plugged into an electrical outlet. So, it is advisable to always use one at the end of expensive appliances to protect it. if you do this, whenever there is a power spike and it about a level deemed acceptable, the surge protector diverts the excess power into its grounding wire.so if you have not protected your appliances why not do it today. There is this popular proverb that says, “Prevention is better than cure”
Use Quality safety switches/power cord
The use of high-quality safety switch can protect your appliance from getting damage, switch with a sensitive fuse can short off power if there is a power surge and thus prevent your electronics devices from being destroyed, so refrain from settle for cheap power plugs, use high-quality electrical accessory to protect your appliances. Avoiding using cheap or unreliable electronics system that could damage other appliances.
The best possible and most reliable protection against power surges is to unplug your appliances whenever they are not in use. No power surge can destroy any appliance that is not plugged in, and it is also a smart move for conserving energy as well as reducing electricity bills. Only connect to a power if there is a reason to be. By so doing it shows that you have some respect for your energy resources.
So before you plug that fancy new laptop or device of yours into the electrical system, make sure you have at least basic surge protection, as it would be heart-breaking if your expensive new dull get damage.
RELATED POST; >FIVE (5) ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW