What Is a Power Surge?

Power surge

Power surge meaning Just as the name implies, power surges are higher-than-normal electrical power surges. Most nations utilise voltage levels between 110 and 220 volts for typical domestic appliances and electronics, with the United States often using 120 volts. Power surges occur when significantly more voltage flows through wires and into equipment. These surges might be tiny or substantial, reducing performance or even possibly harming plugged-in equipment.

Power Surge

How Do Power Surges Occur?

There are three main ways that power surges can occur: when there is an interruption in the flow of electricity followed by a short; when an increased delivery of power is interrupted when electricity is sent flowing back into the system; or when a sudden increase in voltage is sent through a power system from internal or external forces. When lightning strikes power lines or a transformer, for example, power surges can range from one volt over the threshold limit of 169 volts to hundreds of excess volts.

What Causes a Power Surge?

A power surge can have various reasons. The main causes include electrical overload, poor wiring, lightning strikes, and the restoration of electricity following a blackout or power outage.

Overload in the Electrical System

When too much power is extracted from one circuit, electrical overloads can happen. The most frequent causes of this are excessive use of extension cables and overloading of circuits with devices. Electrical overloads frequently result in power surges because the one circuit that is overloaded can require a lot of extra power units, which causes a spike in current and voltage.

Power Surge

Faulty wiring

Power surges may have an internal cause, such as faulty wiring, and are more likely to occur when electrical lines are broken or exposed. If the wire is hidden behind walls, it may be difficult to see if it is faulty.

But there are additional indications that there is flawed circuitry. These warning indicators include burn marks on outlets, a burning odour coming from wiring or outlets, a buzzing sound emanating from outlets, and circuit breakers that trip regularly. If you notice these indicators, disconnect any connected electronics right away and, if you can, switch off the electricity to the area. If you suspect defective wiring, it is preferable to get in touch with a licenced electrician.

Lightning Strike

Appliances exposed directly to lightning are rarely harmed. However, it still has the potential to do damage by causing a power spike. When lightning strikes directly on electricity lines, it generates a lot of voltage and frequently causes damage. When this occurs, the electrical system has little choice except to accept the tremendously high current. A large power surge results from this enormous voltage spike. As a result, during strong storms you should disconnect any electronics that lack surge protection.

Who is responsible for damage caused by power surges?

The amount of compensation for power surge damage depends on what caused the surge and the kind of insurance you have. Damages from power surges brought on by lightning strikes or excessive voltage from outside events are typically covered by homeowner insurance policies, especially those with personal property coverage.

However, if the surge that harmed your gadgets or home equipment was brought on by known faulty wiring or overloading circuits, particularly those with obvious warning indications, you will probably be liable for the costs.

Whole-House Surge Protection

Surge protection for the entire house, also known as service entry surge protection, is located next to the main electrical service panel. Importantly, these devices safeguard parts like outlets and light switches that cannot be connected to a point-of-use device. In comparison to conventional power strip surge protectors, they are also capable of handling significantly higher voltage shifts. Unplugging gadgets while an electrical storm is nearby is a smart idea because no surge protection system can shield your home from a direct lightning strike.

Preventing Power Surge Damage

Point-of-use device protection is the purpose of inexpensive power strip surge protectors. They redirect a surge to a ground rather than truly arresting it. This kind of surge protector typically features an alarm or indicator light that goes off when it needs to be replaced.

What are the Symptoms of a Power Surge?

There are a few indicators that a power surge hit your appliance or device:

  • The clock or lights on the device are flashing.
  • The gadget is inoperative or unresponsive.
  • The area around the appliance or power source smells scorched and unpleasant.
  • A surge protector or power strip might need to be reset.

Choosing the Correct Type of Surge Protector

The kind of surge protector you select depends depend on how you plan to utilise it and your financial situation.

  • Whole-house surge suppressors, also known as panel-mounted surge suppressors, are devices that plug directly into the fuse box of your house to stop electrical surges before they reach your residence. The price can range from $50 to several hundred dollars depending of the power capacity of the suppressor, measured in joules.

The most popular and cost-effective kind of surge protection is provided by power strips. Because surge protected power strips are rated in joules, it’s crucial to pick a device that has the right rating for the appliances you’re protecting. The joules ratings of cheaper surge protectors range from 400 to 600, whereas more expensive protectors might reach 1,000 or higher. Shop carefully because not all power strips have surge protection capabilities.

  • Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor (TVSS) are hardwired directly into one of your home’s outlet boxes and can offer great protection for anything plugged into them. Different models will have varying capacities (300-400 volts) and clamping levels (290-900 joules). They have a light or alarm to let you know when a power surge has happened. After a surge, they’ll still be working, but their capability might be affected. Depending on the capacity, amperage, and lights/alarms, the usual price is between $25 and $100.


Don’t wait for lightning to strike. Install or buy a surge protector right now.

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