Electricity is by far the most used and useful modern invention to ever happen in the world. It’s the one thing that makes everything possible in your household, from kitchen appliances to home appliances.
Considering the importance of electricity, it’s important for us to have an uninterrupted and reliable supply. Although every utility company aims to provide this at all times, sometimes a power surge can easily disrupt this process.
A home surge, if big enough, can instantly damage your appliances. That’s why it’s essential that you know everything about power surges, and how to prevent them from happening in your home.
What Causes a Power Surge?
There are multiple causes for a power surge. The most evident and common ones are electrical overload, old or faulty wiring, restoration of power after an outage, and lighting strikes. Let’s review them in more detail below.
What Is Electrical Overload
Electrical overloads occur when a lot of power is drawn from a single circuit. This is most common when extension cords are overused and one too many devices are plugged into the same circuit.
This overwhelms the circuit which causes it to receive a large amount of current and voltage spikes from excess power being drawn.
Faulty wiring is considered an internal cause for a power surge. This usually happens when your wiring is exposed or damaged. It might not be easy to spot faulty wiring, since most of them are behind walls.
That said, there are some signs you could look out for to identify faulty wirings, such as outlets with burn marks, a buzzing sound in your outlets, a burning smell coming from outlets or wiring, and frequent tripping of circuit breakers.
If you come across these designs, immediately unplug your appliances and devices and turn the electricity in that space off if possible. It’s also advisable to contact a certified electrical engineer if you find any faulty wiring in the house.
Restoration of Power after an Outage
Power outages usually occur when there’s a failure in the power grid. Even though the lack of power doesn’t usually cause any problems, the return of power often can. It’s rather common to experience an unexpected rise in current during the restoration of power after an outage.
This type of power surge can cause damage to plugged-in appliances and devices that have no surge protection.
Although lightning strikes rarely cause damage to home appliances and devices, they still have the ability to cause severe damage by provoking a power surge. A direct lightning strike on your power line is what produces a large rise in voltage.
When this actually happens, your electrical system will accept the excess current as it has no other option. This causes a tremendous voltage spike, which results in a power surge. That’s why you should unplug all devices without surge protection during severe weather conditions.
Who Compensates Power Surge Damage?
Compensation for power surge damage depends on the type of surge, what causes it, and the type of insurance you’ve signed up for. In homeowner’s policy, specifically under the personal property coverage, you’re generally covered from power surge damages caused by excessive current from external sources or lightning strikes.
That said, if the power surge was caused due to internal issues such as overloaded circuits or faulty wiring, especially if there were visible signs, there’s a high chance that you will have to cover the expenses yourself.
How to Prevent Power Surges?
There are many ways you can prevent an internal surge and several ways to prevent external power surge damage that’s usually out of your control. By making sure that you don’t have overloaded circuits at home, you will be preventing internet surges. In fact, be mindful that large appliances never share the same outlet, and that your wiring is always up-to-date.
Although external power surges are usually unavoidable, you can prevent damages caused by the, by unplugging all appliances and devices during severe storms. You should also invest in surge protection devices or whole-house surge protection.
What to do After a Power Surge?
Here are three things you should be doing after a power surge:
- Reset, unplug, and repower all your devices. Make sure this is done before you reset the circuit breaker.
- Assess the entire household for any potential damage caused by a surge.
- Check the HVAC system.
Well, there you have it! Power surges are common and it’s important that you know all about them, especially how to prevent them and what you should do after a power surge. We hope this article provided you with clarity on power surges.