Power Surges And Whole House Surge Protection

What Is A Power Surge?

Our previous blog titled, Upgrading and Replacing Residential Electric Panels, explained that the electrical panel box is the source of electricity throughout a home and how the power source for that electrical panel flows smoothly to home circuits. Unfortunately, stuff happens to disrupt that smooth flow and brings us to today's blog topic.

The average wall outlet is usually of 120-volt AC (alternating current) power, which means that the voltage, or electronic force, that flows to and powers most appliances and electronics is not delivered at a constant 120 volts but fluctuates between 0 and 169 volts. When the voltage exceeds 169 volts of electricity, that is known as a power surge that disrupts the otherwise smooth flow of electrical current.

Three Types Of Power Surges

A surge of electrical power can occur with a mere one volt over the 169-volt maximum or millions of excess volts. This wide discrepancy in voltage has brought about an understanding of the three origins of power surges:

Lightning Strike: Power lines usually have one or two grounded wires on top of the utility pole to protect the power conductors from strikes. If such a lightning strike occurred, it would boost the electrical energy of the utility line by millions of volts — casting a blackout onto residential homes and businesses of the metropolitan area of Austin, Texas.

Electric Company Power Grid: External surges from the electric company sometimes occur when serving residential and industrial areas, and there is 'external switching' from one power grid to another or when there are transformer malfunctions or faulty transmission lines.

Internal Power Surges: High-powered electronics equipment or home appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, washers and dryers, and dishwashers require much power to turn on and operate. The 'internal switching' on and off from such devices creates 'spikes' in power. Continual 'spikes' create electrical 'arcs' that can damage appliances and electrical panel breaker circuits. The worst scenario is often home electrical fires.

Three Types Of Surge Protection

It is logical that with three different types of power surges, each varying in intensity and origination point, there would be three types of protective devices, sometimes referred to as SPDs, Surge Protection Devices. The three types of surge protection devices include:

Type I Service Entrance Surge Protection: Very durable and the primary defense against electrical surges as they are installed between the electric company utility pole and house meter to prevent large destructive surges from going to the main electrical panel in the home.

Type II Whole House Surge Protection: Somewhat like service entrance protection, but whole house surge protection devices are customarily installed inside your main electrical panel. They, of course, are designed to protect all electrical circuits of the house from large or small electrical surges. Whole house surge protection installations by ATX Electrical come with a manufacturer’s 5-year product warranty along with $50,000 residential equipment coverage.

Type III Receptacle Surge Protection: Most Austin, Texas residents own at least one of this type of surge protection. It is a single surge protector power strip, the least expensive, and allows multiple low-power devices to be plugged into this single grounded receptacle. This type is recommended, no matter what other protection devices a home has, though better classified as a surge arrestor.

Benefits Of Whole House Surge Protection

  • Extends the lifespan of a home’s electrical equipment and appliances and the integrity of a home’s electrical system.
  • Whole house surge protection devices cost a few hundred dollars, plus the cost of installation by an ATX Electrical licensed electrician — keeping home, furnishings, and electrical appliances safe from an electrical fire.
  • The consideration of eliminating the need of purchasing additional insurance for power surge damage to home appliances that standard homeowner policies do not cover.

Contact the professionals of ATX Electrical for assistance in making an informed decision regarding product manufacturers and the wisdom of a device with a manufacturer’s 5-year product warranty along with $50,000 residential equipment coverage.

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