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UNDERSTANDING WHAT POWER SURGES ARE AND WHAT CAUSES THEM

The Unseen Risks Power surges can occur when the flow of electricity in the grid gets interrupted in some way. It can also happen when devices that are expected to draw electricity put them back into the circuitry instead. In Australia, the mains voltage operates at 240 volts and 50 Hz, many other countries such as Japan and the US have appliances that use 110V 60Hz etc. If you plug any such device into power outlets in your home without proper protection, it can result in a power surge causing extensive damage to the device. Harnessing electrical energy is not an easy task. Whenever all of these other aspects come into the picture, power surges can be dangerous. While there are no significant dangers in using electricity on a day-to-day basis, there are certain risk factors you need to keep in view at all times.

What Is The Duration Of A Power Surge? Whenever there is a sudden spike in the electrical current, it is less than a thousandth of a second, which is very quick. But the surge in the voltage can vary between hundreds and thousands of volts. You must know that voltage oscillates and there is never any fixed current that it runs at. While oscillation is part and parcel of how an electrical current would behave, whenever there are things like three-phase power etc. added to the mix, it becomes more complicated. This type of power creates different electrical phases within the alternating current. Since every country follows specific standards, electrical devices are manufactured to varying quality levels. All of these aspects have a role to play when it comes to power surges on your property.

Power Surges – The Common Causes

Various elements can cause power surges, and many of these are within our control, such as:

  • A high power electrical device can cause a sudden spike in power when you switch it on. Sometimes, this can happen when a high energy component like powerful motors kick-in. The sudden action can impact electrical devices on your property such as air conditioners, space heaters, refrigerators and more.

  • A tripped circuit breaker can still protect your home. However, if it has become damaged in doing so, that can prove to be a risk later on, and you would have to replace it.

  • Many power surges are caused by faulty or low-quality wiring. Defective wiring must be replaced, and you need to contact a licensed professional to have them inspect these features if you feel there is some fault in it. There are a few signs that indicate the wiring on your property needs an upgrade.

  • When tree limbs touch exterior power lines, it can result in power surges. This could be caused due to inclement weather or when they get swayed in the wind. If there are any trees in your immediate vicinity, growing precariously close to exterior power lines, you must inform your local council immediately.

  • Sometimes, animals may get into transformers and other electrical equipment resulting in a power surge. In this process, they also end up electrocuting themselves.

  • When electricity gets restored after a blackout in your area, it flows into all the appliances simultaneously. It can result in a power surge. If you have experienced a blackout on your property, the first thing to do is turn off all the equipment at the power points and unplug them. Once the service gets restored, plug-in all the equipment and devices one at a time.

  • If there is a lightning strike in your area, it could be another reason for a power surge. Sometimes metal on a property can attract lightning and homes in rural areas are more prone to this. Installing a lightning rod very close to your home structure is an excellent way to avoid lightning from striking your home.

Effects of Power Surges

When there is a power surge on your property, it can cause considerable damage to your electrical appliances. Sometimes, the appliance or device might stop working entirely, while at others, multiple power surges can impact the quality of the appliance or device over time. In some instances, a power surge can also cause an electrical fire, but this is a rare occurrence.

Warning Signs of Power Surges

Power surges occur very fast, and there isn’t much you can do to prevent them. However, there are certain indications that there has been a power surge; these include:

  • The devices in your home lose power

  • Some of the devices get reset

  • The safety switch on the circuit breaker trips

  • You find many electrical devices in your home are failing or “bricked”

  • If you have noticed any of these signs, you must contact a licensed electrician without delay. They will help provide the right solutions to protect your home from any future power surges

How to Protect Your Property from Power Surges

There are various things you can do to minimise power surge risk in your home, such as:

  • Install phone line protection as it will reduce the chances of damage to your phone

  • Install similar devices to expensive appliances

  • Get quality safety switches installed and stay away from cheap power plugs. High-quality equipment also needs suitable, quality safety switches.

  • If there are any external risks to your home like trees etc. near power lines, notify your utility provider or local councils.

  • It’s always best to unplug the appliances that are not in use. This reduces the chances of damage to them in case there is a power surge. It will also help you save some money on your power bills



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