Power surges can sometimes damage your expensive appliances and electronics. A power surge is a brief spike in voltage that can fry the delicate circuitry in your electronic devices. Using a surge protector is an easy way to guard against costly power surges.
In this blog post, we’ll look at whether you need surge protectors for major appliances like refrigerators, washers, air conditioners, dryers and more. We’ll discuss the risks of power surges, how surge protectors work, and provide tips on the best surge protection for appliances in your home.
You’ll learn which appliances are most vulnerable to electrical spikes and when it’s worth investing in extra surge protection. Protecting your major appliances from avoidable damage is simple with the right surge protector. Read on to learn all you need to know about surge protection for essential appliances.
Understanding Power Surges
Power surges occur when there is an unexpected interruption to the flow of electricity through the power grid. They are brief overvoltage spikes or disturbances of electrical power that can cause harm to electronics and appliances in your home. These surges are typically short bursts of extra voltage that run through electrical wiring and circuits.
There are a few common causes of power surges, including lightning strikes, faulty wiring, switching on or off heavy equipment like large motors, damage to power lines, and faulty appliances. Lightning is a major source of power surges as it can induce strong spikes that travel through electrical systems. But surges can also originate from things like loose connections, frayed wiring, or overloaded circuits in your home’s electrical system.
The startup current required by large motors, copiers, HVAC systems, and other heavy equipment can produce power surges as well. Furthermore, any damage to electrical infrastructure from storms, animals, accidents, etc., can lead to unprotected surges coming through the wires. Even malfunctioning appliances and high-powered electrical devices can improperly draw extra current, leading to a voltage spike.
Power surges can range from small disturbances of a few volts to very large spikes of thousands of volts. These short bursts of excess voltage have the potential to damage or fry the delicate circuitry of your expensive appliances and electronics. That’s why surge protection is highly recommended for sensitive plugged-in devices and appliances.
The Role of Surge Protectors
Surge protectors play a vital role in protecting your electronics and appliances from potentially damaging power surges. They function by routing unexpected excess voltage from a power surge safely to the ground before it can reach multiple devices.
Inside the protector, special components like MOVs (metal oxide varistors) or silicon avalanche diodes limit voltage spikes by diverting excess current. When a power surge occurs, the safe voltage passes through the surge protector to your appliance while the excess current gets absorbed and grounded.
A good surge protector will absorb thousands of joules of energy from a surge, ensuring your connected equipment avoids any voltage over the safe threshold. This keeps your devices running smoothly, even if the power supply experiences occasional spikes from lightning, faulty wiring, or other common surge causes.
By installing surge protectors and properly grounding them, you create a path of least resistance for diverted surges. This provides inexpensive but reliable protection for a home’s worth of appliances and electronics. Overall, surge protectors play a critical role in any home electrical system, defending your valuable equipment against sudden power anomalies.
Benefits of Using Surge Protectors
Using quality surge protectors for your appliances provides worthwhile protection against damaging power spikes. Here are four key benefits surge protectors offer:
Prevent damage to electronics.
Surge protectors prevent power surges from reaching your sensitive electronics. This saves you from costly repairs or replacement of damaged appliances.
Avoid data loss
For electronics like computers and entertainment centres, surge protection prevents voltage spikes from corrupting or destroying unsaved data.
By diverting excess voltage safely to the ground, surge protectors reduce the risk of overheating and fires from power surges. This provides an extra layer of electrical fire safety.
Extend equipment life
By clamping voltage down power surges, your appliances avoid unnecessary wear and tear on critical components like motors and control boards. Surge protection helps extend the operating life of equipment.
Using surge protection strips or outlets is a simple and affordable way to realise these benefits. Protecting your major appliances and home electronics results in reliability, data security, safety, and savings over the long term.
There are a few common misconceptions people have about power surges and surge protectors. One is that power strips and basic outlets are sufficient protection. Typical power strips only provide access to more outlets; they do not have built-in surge protection components.
Another misconception is that appliances don’t need protection if they have metal enclosures or bodies. However, metal components do not prevent damage from surges travelling through wires and internal circuitry.
Some also believe bigger appliances like refrigerators and washing machines are immune to surges. However, large appliances contain digital controls, motors, and other vulnerable electrical components.
Costly control board or interface panel failures can occur in bigger units during a surge. Additionally, many feel if your appliances are covered by insurance, surge protection is unnecessary. However, the deductible and claim process could be more convenient than inexpensive surge protector replacement.
Finally, there is the misconception that surge protectors never need replacement. In reality, surge protectors can wear out after absorbing multiple large surges over time. Most experts recommend replacing your surge protector every 2-3 years or so to ensure continued protection. Proper surge protection involves more than just a power strip or power outlet alone. Researching the right solutions for your home’s appliances provides lasting defence against costly power events.
Tips for Using Surge Protectors Effectively
Using quality surge protectors is important, but there are some tips to follow that ensure you gain full effectiveness from them. First, directly connect appliances to wall outlet surge protectors or power strips with built-in protection.
Do not plug a surge protector into another strip without protection. Connecting surge protectors in series reduces overall protection. It’s also important to only plug appliances directly into the protected outlets. Even when the surge protector properly diverts a surge so your electronics aren’t damaged, the protector itself can be damaged in the process. Look for surge protectors with an Indicator Light that will tell you if the surge protectors are still working effectively. Indicator Lights Surge protectors only have a limited lifespan depending on how hard they work.
Avoid plugging extension cords and non-protected strips into your surge protector. This can compromise the safety of the electrical appliances by bypassing the protective components inside. Another tip is monitoring notification lights to know if your surge protector still offers complete protection.
Additionally, don’t obstruct the airflow around your surge protector, as the components can overheat. Allow space for cooled ventilation to prevent failure. Lastly, test grounding periodically by pressing the GFCI “Test” button, if one exists. This ensures proper function to divert electrical surges safely. Following these simple guidelines allows your quality surge protectors to effectively defend your high-value appliances from the threat of power surges.
Shield Your Appliances
Protecting your expensive appliances from damaging power surges is simple with a quality surge protector. Surge protectors are an affordable way to provide vital defence against the harm caused by brief spikes in voltage. Whether you own a refrigerator, washer, computer, TV, or other sensitive electronics, connecting them to a surge protector grounded in your home wiring provides inexpensive peace of mind.
By properly installing surge protection, you avoid the hassle and costs of repairing or replacing equipment damaged by electrical spikes. For both large and small appliances, the minimal investment in surge protection now prevents headaches later.
As local electricians, Enersol Electrical understands power systems and how best to protect your appliances. Contact our team today to discuss implementing whole-home surge protection to defend your investment in major appliances.
We offer professional guidance on selecting the right surge protectors to keep your household electronics running smoothly for years to come. Don’t leave your valued appliances at risk - effective and affordable surge protection is just a quick call away.