Surge Protection

Home Surge Protection

Surge Protection

What is a surge protection device?

A surge protection device is designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes caused by a variety of events, including downed power lines, lightning strikes, faulty electrical wiring, sudden changes in electricity usage nearby, and the cycling “on” and “off” of energy-sucking devices in your home such as air conditioners, refrigerators and electric dryers.

 I already use power strips, why does my home need a surge protector?

The damage done by a voltage spike can be instantaneous or can occur long after the initial surge, however that damage can be pricey as it can render expensive appliances and electronic devices (think your fridge, computer, or entertainment system) kaput.  Basically, anything “plugged-in” to an electrical outlet is at risk, especially when caused by lightning, as it will follow any wire (even a phone or cable line) into your home.  Simple power bars or strips have basic surge protection and should be labeled as such, however they are often labeled “surge protector” in error.  An indication that a power strip is in fact a surge protector is if it has a Joules rating.  One that does not have a Joules rating is NOT a surge protector and therefore does not protect against higher-than-normal voltage.

 How does a whole-home surge protector work?

A whole-home surge protector is hard-wired to a residential circuit breaker panel and limits the amount of voltage supplied to an electric device by blocking or shorting to ground any unwanted voltages above the safe amount, generally above 400 volts.  Once the voltage returns to normal, the flow of electricity is restored unless the surge was big enough to melt the fuses built into the surge protector itself.

 What should I look for in a surge protector?

A surge protection system is the best bet for whole-home protection.  This system includes two components.  The first component is a whole-home surge suppressor.

This suppressor should be rated to stop a minimum of a 40,000-amp surge and should include thermal fuses and lights and/or alarms to indicate when a device has taken a voltage spike.  A whole-home suppressor is vital however it can’t do all the work, which is why the second component, individual circuit surge suppressors (or “plug-ins”), is important.  These plug-in units come in three forms:  a multi-outlet power strip, a surge station combining phone and cable jacks as well as power cords, or a UPS – an “uninterruptible power supply” which rids electric power of random fluctuations and provides short-term battery back-up in the case of a power dip or outage.

 How can HSA help?

HSA knows trusted, skilled, and licensed electricians that can install a whole-home surge suppressor for you and provide you with advice on how to best protect your home from harmful voltage spikes.  Contact us for a free estimate today!

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