Whole House Surge Protectors
Power surges are high voltages that are above the standard 120 volts. This high voltage will lead to wire overheats and burns at basic levels. Businesses and homes have a lot of electrical appliances such as computers, TVs, fridges, microwaves, phones, fax machines among many others that need protection from surges.
The reason behind the protection is the fact that most of these appliances have microchips or circuitries that are highly sensitive to voltage fluctuation. A slight spike or surge of power will strain most appliances and will affect their performance or destroy them completely.
Power Surge Causes
The operation of heavy duty appliances is one of the most common causes of power surges. Air conditioners, elevators, and refrigerators are some of the heavy duty appliances that are responsible for power surges. These appliances need high voltages for the motors and compressors to start and run. The toggling of high-power devices and appliances will affect the flow of electricity and this can cause power surges.
Power surges can also be caused by:
- Down power lines
- Faulty electrical wiring
- Problems with lines, transformers and other utility company components
Ratings in Surge Protection
The standard surge protectors work through passing electric current from the outlet to the appliance plugged in the power strip. When there is a surge or a spike, the surge protector will direct the excess electricity to the grounding attached to the outlet and this is what levels the voltage.
Major Ratings to look for when buying Surge Protectors
Response time – Always go for a surge protector with a response time which is below a nanosecond. Surge protectors with longer response time will expose the appliances to the surge for longer periods.
Energy Dissipation/absorption – this is the capacity that the protector can absorb prior to failing. 600 joules and above is a good rate and this will protect the appliances in most surges.
Clamping voltage – This is the rating that indicates the level of voltage that the protector will dissipate to the ground wire. The protector with a lower rating is the best and most approved protectors are those that have 3 ratings 500 volts, 400 volts and 330 volts.
Purchasing a Surge Protector
For standard electric outlets, a protector fitted with a breaker will ensure that the device is tripped in case of a surge. A device with an indicator light will let you know when it is functioning properly. Other features that you need to pay attention to include:
- GFCI protection
- 3-line protection
- Resettable circuit breakers
- Power shut down protection
- Automatic warning devices and warranties
There are surge protectors available that have other connections such a barrel for cable TV, USB for computers, and Phone line input jacks.
Whole house Surge Protector
Power surges can follow any wires into a home and put appliances at risk. Most consumers assume that when they plug their appliances into multi-outlet surge suppressors their appliances are safe.
For the protection of the appliances in a home, the best approach is the installation of a whole house surge protection unit. It is important that a licensed electrician handles the process of hard-wiring the protection into the electrical panel in the house. Delicate circuitry such as cable and telephone lines should also get smaller whole house surge protectors.
The multi-outlet surge protectors should be used as backups to protect the appliances in case there is a seep of excess power through the primary surge protection device. With a well functioning surge protection system, your appliances and your home will be safe.