Like most consumers, you probably have thousands of dollars in appliances and electronics throughout your Kingman, KS home. When plugged in, these things are all vulnerable to damage from power surges. Power surges occur each time electrical service is interrupted and restored. The often-dramatic fluctuations in voltage associated with these events can shorten the lifespan of your devices, wipe stored data, and cause accelerated wear throughout your entire electrical system. Read on to find out how whole-home surge protection can help and why it’s so essential.

Common Causes of Power Surges

Whenever power is restored following an outage, higher-than-normal voltage travels through your home’s electrical wires. Direct lightning strikes and utility service interruptions are two possible causes of power surges. However, most power surges originate inside buildings rather than without. According to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), 60% to 80% of all surge events are internal power surges. When internal surges occur, overhead lights and everything that’s hardwired or plugged in flickers off and on. Internal power surges frequently occur when major appliances cycle into action and when homeowners attempt to draw too much power on a single circuit.

Identifying and Addressing Deficiencies in Your Home’s Electrical System

You can minimize the occurrence of internal power surges by having your electrical system updated and hiring an electrician to handle all major installations. Whether adding a new deep freezer or purchasing a new refrigerator, it’s best to make sure that your home is wired properly to support it.

Some Surge Events Can’t Be Prevented

Staying on top of electrical system updates reduces the risk of internal surge events, but it isn’t guaranteed to prevent them entirely. Moreover, there’s nothing that you can do to limit the risk of power outages caused by unplanned disruptions in utility service or direct lightning strikes. Problems like downed utility lines, heavy precipitation, and strong winds lie outside your sphere of control. The only way to prevent serious equipment damage is by installing whole-house surge protection.

What Surge Protection Is

Surge protection is available in various forms. If you have your computer or your entertainment system plugged into a surge protector cord, this is outlet-specific surge protection. When higher-than-normal voltage enters your wiring due to overloaded circuits or a power outage, this cord will keep the attached appliances or devices safe. Whole-home surge protection takes a much more comprehensive approach. Installed at electrical panels, whole-house surge protectors safeguard everything that’s plugged in, all hardwired electronics and appliances, and all outlets and wiring. Although whole-house surge protection has a higher upfront cost than a single surge protector cord, it’s the most cost-effective solution overall.

Whole-Home Surge Protection vs. Outlet-Specific Surge Protection

If you had to choose only one surge protection type, whole-home surge protection is easily the winning choice. However, to establish an all-encompassing and highly effective surge protection plan, you may need to leverage the two together. Whole-home surge protectors divert excess voltage into the ground before it enters buildings, but not all of it. Even with whole-house surge protection installed, higher-than-normal voltage will still travel through your wiring and into your electronics and appliances, albeit far less. For high-value gaming computers, home entertainment systems, and charging, portable devices, using both types of protection at once will keep early replacements, data loss, and recurring repairs at bay.

How Power Surges Affect Your Electronics and Electrical System

In some homes, internal power surges can occur hundreds of times each day. This is especially true on windy, stormy days and in buildings that haven’t had their electrical systems updated in more than three decades. Each power surge and the excess voltage it brings shortens the lifespans of unprotected devices and sets the stage for equipment malfunction. Worst of all, the damage sustained during these events is cumulative.

Premature Wire and Outlet Failure

Frequent, unprotected power surges can wear out both standard and ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. They can additionally lead to frequent shorts and other, more serious wiring problems.

Data Loss

Even a single power surge can cause data loss. This includes data stored on mobile phones, personal and gaming computers, laptops, smart TVs, and more. If your devices frequently exhibit signs of functional or memory problems, the cumulative wear caused by internal, mini surge events could be why.

Increased Risk of Electrical Fires

In addition to accelerated, cumulative wear and increased maintenance, repair, and replacement costs, some power surges pose the risk of electrical fires. Devices or appliances that are plugged in during these events could overheat. Worse still, power surges, overheating, and the resulting electrical fires can all occur when no one is at home to mitigate them.

Problems With Manufacturer Warranties

All new appliances and devices come with helpful manufacturer warranties. These guarantees cover the costs of repairing or replacing damaged equipment due to defective parts, incorrect assembly, and other manufacturing-related factors. However, each manufacturer’s warranty is a mutually binding agreement. In addition to the assurances that manufacturers make, there are requirements that consumers must meet. These typically include performing adequate maintenance and taking other measures to keep covered products from failing prematurely or sustaining accelerated wear. Check the warranties of your most costly electronics. You’ll likely find that they require either outlet-specific or whole-home surge protection. Having whole-home surge protection installed will keep you compliant and limit your likelihood of having to file claims. It will also help you avoid the outright voidance of your warranty protections or frustrating claims denials and delays. It’s important to note that surge protection in one form or another could also be a requirement of other insurance policies or warranties. You should read the terms of your home warranty and home insurance plan to ensure that your electrical system is compliant with these agreements too.

New Major Installations and Whole-Home Surge Protection

Several major home improvements necessitate the immediate installation of surge protection. After paying top dollar for new equipment, it just makes sense to safeguard it from events that are all but guaranteed to happen over time. For instance, you should get whole-home surge protection when installing a:
  • Backup generator
  • High-end EV charging station
  • Home theater
  • Integrated smart home system
  • New heating and cooling equipment
It’s also a good idea to incorporate surge protection into your electrical remodels and upgrades. Given that whole-house surge protectors safeguard wiring and outlets, they can make these features last longer.

Whole-Home Surge Protection and Safety

Many homes have important safety alarms hardwired directly into their electrical systems, such as combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. With surge protection, you can keep these all-important devices working properly.

Surge Protection and Peace of Mind

Among the many benefits of whole-home surge protection is increased peace of mind. You’ll find it easier to enjoy all of your electricity-reliant devices and appliances when you know that they aren’t sustaining cumulative damages from your electrical system. We’re proud to serve Kingman, KS and the surrounding cities. We offer outstanding cooling, heating, plumbing, and electrical services. We also provide effective indoor air quality solutions. To find out more about the benefits of whole-home surge protection or schedule an appointment, get in touch with Eck Services today!