Electrical Services in The Tampa Bay Area

What Appliances need Surge Protectors?

As we get closer to spring and summer, the rainy season approaches. With the stormy season also comes lightning storms which can be very harmful to your homes and the things in them. Lighting poses a danger to your important appliances and unfortunately, you won’t always have the opportunity or time to unplug all your valuable devices and appliances to keep them safe from power surges and spikes. Cue the surge protectors!

Lightning isn’t the only threat to your home’s electrical system. Surge protectors will also protect your home from surges produced by utility companies. These surges are very common, occurring almost daily due to outdated and faulty equipment.

In order to combat these issues, you need a surge protector to keep your most expensive home appliances from being ruined. Without a surge protector, you could even lose important data you have stored on devices in your home. Keep reading to learn about surge protectors and what makes them necessary staples in your home.

What is a Power Surge?

Before we move forward it’s important to understand exactly what a power surge is. A power surge occurs when a current of electricity is interrupted and then resumes. These surges can range from five to ten volts when turning on a small electronic device to thousands of volts if lightning strikes a transformer. Power surges which last about 3+ nanoseconds are different from power spikes which last less than 3 nanoseconds. There are two types of surges.

  1. Internal Power Surge - The majority of household power surges take place internally. These kinds of surges can happen multiple times a day and may go unnoticed. Internal power surges can happen when motors start and stop, or when they divert electricity to and from appliances like a refrigerator.

  2. External Power Surge - Surges that originate from outside the home are called external power surges. Broken power lines, lightning strikes, or blown transformers can cause these surges.

Internal and external power surges can be damaging and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Anything containing a microprocessor is at risk of being damaged by fluctuations in voltage.

How do Surge Protectors Work?

Surge protectors prevent surges from traveling downstream to devices plugged into the surge protector. They absorb extra voltage into metal oxide varistors and then divert the energy safely to a ground wire.

Surge protectors don’t last forever and will eventually need to be replaced. With every surge that the surge protector absorbs, the number of future joules (a unit of measurement) it has the ability to absorb decreases. For example, a 2,000-joule surge protector can absorb just one 2000 joule surge or 20 hits of 100 joules.

Although surge protectors generally don’t show a numerical value for how many joules are available, most models do include an LED light that tells you whether or not it is still effective when protecting your devices.

Please note: There is no home device powerful enough to protect your house from direct lightning strikes. Surge protectors will help with proximity strikes, in other words lighting strikes relatively close to your house.

What's the Difference Between a Power Strip and a Surge Protector?

Power strips are often confused for surge protectors since both allow you to plug in more than one electrical device. Power strips only have one function: Allowing multiple devices to use power from one outlet.

On the other hand, a surge protector does the same thing, but as mentioned above, also protects your devices from power spikes and surges.

Do I need Surge Protectors for my TV or Refrigerator?

The devices and appliances you want to make sure you plug into a surge protector are the expensive ones with microprocessors. This includes TVs, refrigerators, dishwasher, range, AC unit, PCs, laptops, gaming systems, and phones.

Stay Prepared and Safe!

Prepare your home for lightning strikes, especially living in our great state of Florida. A surge protector is a very affordable way to protect most of your valuable electrical devices.

If you suspect anything electrical is amiss in your home that may be causing internal surges, or that may be an electrical hazard, please feel free to call Team Tru-Line! We’re here and ready to help you with all your electrical needs. Remember, you’re fine with Tru-Line!