Ever wondered why a sudden and brief power outage ends up frying a computer or a television? Oftentimes, people expect such things to happen during a thunderstorm where the possibility of lightning causing a power surge is more likely to occur. Many don’t expect that simply switching on their air conditioning units after a power interruption can have a similar effect on their electronic devices.
What is a “surge” and its effect on household appliances?
Power surge, at times referred to as transient voltage, occurs when a continuous and stable flow of electricity is interrupted and is started again. One example is a blown transformer or a broken power line. When power is restored, a spike in voltage happens. Even simple devices that have motors and compressors (like the air conditioning units and elevators) can cause a surge in the electricity flow when switched on and off (especially if done on multiple units, all at the same time). This is because switching them on requires a little bit more power than the usual. An increase in voltage above the prescribed or designated level that lasts for three nanoseconds or more is considered a power surge. In the United States, the designated level is 120 volts.
Electronic devices and household appliances nowadays are more sensitive to the slightest increase in voltage. Many of these, like computers, contain microprocessors that will only operate under a stable environment. Any inconsistencies in the power supply, like a transient voltage, can easily fry these devices and stop operation instantaneously.
A single power surge can render a household or a business non-functional and non-operational because of fried microchips and processors. And what could be worse than a non-functioning business? Lost hours, profits and revenues!
Surge protectors were created to shield man from inevitable occurrences like power surges. He can’t control where and when lightning will strike. He can’t tell a rodent not to burrow near the transformer box and chew on the power lines. All he can do is to be on guard and protect himself from such nuisances.
The working idea for surge protectors is simple. Instead of allowing the high voltage to pass through its natural path, it stops it by redirecting the flow into the outlet’s grounding wire.
Whole House Surge Protector versus Power Strip
When it comes to ensuring ultimate coverage and protection against power surge, Whole House Surge Protector is the best choice. It is like a security blanket that covers the whole infrastructure or building and every electrical device that is inside it. It can be costly and one might have to shell out a couple of hundred dollars or more. However, all expenses will be worth it knowing that one’s expensive gadgets and devices won’t get fried easily whenever lightning strikes or when a tree limb suddenly touches the power lines and busts the nearest transformer.
Point-of-use surge protectors on the other hand are the best choice when it comes to protecting electronic devices from day-to-day surges. These daily surges can range from a power interruption due to a blown transformer or a simple use of a device that has motors and compressors in it (like an air-conditioning unit on a hot summer day). A popular example of this device is the power strip. Multiple appliances can be plugged into it and it will cut off power once it detects a surge in voltage. This process protects the electronics inside the house from the daily, minor surges. These minor surges may not fry the electronics inside the house instantaneously but they can wear them down hence, shortening the lifespan of these devices over time.
In the end, it won’t hurt someone to be over protective of his electronic devices and have both types of surge protections. The money spent on surge protectors will be nothing compared to the amount of money one will save from repairs and having to purchase new appliances and electronic devices.