Massachusetts is known for its extreme winter temperatures and blackouts during hurricane seasons. If you’re living in Massachusetts, you likely require a lot of indoor heating during winter seasons, which places a lot of pressure on your appliances—similarly, post-blackout power restoration can also cause power surges. In either situation, the higher currents flowing through your circuitry can cause all sorts of problems with your appliances.
It’s simple enough to avoid the damages resulting from power surges—by investing in power surge protection for your entire house. There are plenty of options for you to choose from, depending on your appliance use and how many voltage-sensitive appliances you have plugged in.
What is a Power Surge?
Typically, the amount of current flowing through your home fluctuates between 115 volts–125 volts—this is the average power requirement for most modern appliances. Sometimes, the current flow exceeds 125 volts—this unexpected power surge through the circuitry can blow out your appliances and lights because they’re not designed to use that much power.
A power surge happens for two fundamental reasons—either the electrical source sends high voltage through the entire grid or your house demands higher amounts of energy. The question for us right now is, when does either situation occur?
External Causes of Power Surges—Trees come into contact with power lines, lightning strikes the utility equipment, or someone tampers with the transformer. Usually, it’s a tree that falls over power lines and causes power surges right before the blackout.
Internal Causes of Power Surges—Surges caused by the use of appliances in the house, requiring diversion of higher currents to support the appliance.
External power surges are relatively less frequent than internal causes, only becoming common during storm season. Internal power surges happen on a daily basis but aren’t as extreme to cause lasting damage to your home. It’s usually when you plug in too many appliances that the surge is strong enough to cause severe damage.
The Mechanisms of Power Surge Protection
Power surge protection, whichever form you might use, diverts excessive current flowing through the circuits to the grounding wire. It never allows extra current to flow through to the main device and thus reduces the risk of it blowing out. It’s a strip, kind of like an extension cord with the option to plug in multiple appliances.
Some common types of surge protection include:
Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV)—An MOV contains semiconductors that have variable resistance. These conductors have high resistance when the voltage is low, and when the voltage rises, the conductors reduces the resistance. With the lower resistance, the semiconductor diverts the extra current to lower the total voltage in the circuit.
Gas Discharge Arrestors— These power surge protectors do the same thing as MOVs, but instead of semiconductors they use inert gases with variable resistances. When the voltage gets high enough, the gas is ionized to divert extra current to the ground wire.
Other simpler types of surge protection methods are built with fuses that burn out when the voltage gets too high to cut off the electricity supply to the appliance. Whichever surge protection method you implement, it can significantly reduce the risk of shorting out your expensive electronics and are a must-have electrical safety mechanism.
Looking for Power Surge Protection Installation Services?
Integrity Electrical Services is a premium 24-hour electrician service provider in Wilmington, Massachusetts. The company offers a wide range of services, including power surge protection installations, home generator maintenance, ceiling fan installations, smart home installations, and more. Visit the company website today for more information on their services.