Most vulnerable are all modern devices that contain one or more microprocessors. Such delicate items as TVs, VCRs, DVD players and computers require a steady voltage to function correctly. In the event of a power surge, they will be the first to suffer.
What Causes a Power Surge?
Every home will experience power fluctuations throughout the day and night, and the number of things that can cause them might surprise you. Electrical current can spike every time something as commonplace as a refrigerator, air conditioner or microwave kicks into action.
When the responsible appliances are in good condition, these everyday variations normally cause no damage. Unfortunately, it takes just one strong swell of current to wreak havoc with your home’s sensitive equipment. Common causes range from faulty devices and inadequate home wiring to downed power lines and electrical storms.
Lightning does not have to hit your home directly to cause trouble. All it has to do is strike the ground beside a nearby power line. This can generate a surge strong enough to start a fire, damage your appliances or even electrocute a person who is using one at the time.
How Surge Protectors Can Help
When setting up your sensitive electronic equipment, you probably plugged each item into a surge protector strip. If so, it may surprise you to learn that the security promised by these strips is rarely as good as you might expect. They can defend against certain power surges that originate inside the house, but when the trouble is on the outside, they are essentially useless.
In contrast, a surge protector installed at the circuit panel will safeguard your home’s entire electrical system. By stopping a surge at the entry point, it will prevent excess voltage from ever reaching your home’s wiring system. This is the most reliable way to defend your home and its appliances against lightning, and its installation can cost less than you think.
A professionally installed whole-house surge protector can shield your home’s wiring and ensure the well-being of your sensitive appliances, but those are really the least of its talents. If electricity should turn from helpmeet to deadly adversary, it could even save your life.