A power surge can be a frightening event- your lights flicker and then go out, leaving you in darkness. Or maybe you’re sitting at home watching TV when all of a sudden the screen goes blank. You may even have heard about whole neighborhoods losing power after a major storm. What many people don’t realize is that these events are often caused by power surges- brief but intense spikes in electricity voltage. In this blog post, we will discuss what causes power surges, how they can damage your appliances and what you can do to prevent them from happening.

While major power surges are often caused by storms or issues with the electrical grid itself, smaller power surges, on the other hand, can happen frequently and may not be as noticeable. These “mini” power surges are caused by any number of things- from your home’s air conditioner kicking on and off to your fridge cycling to maintain its temperature. Even charging your cell phone can cause a small power surge. While these mini power surges are not likely to cause any damage to your appliances, over time they can shorten the lifespan of your electronics.

Some fluctuation in the voltage flowing through your home’s electrical system is normal, but larger, damaging fluctuations, can be caused by:

  • faulty wiring
  • no grounding
  • circuit breaker trips
  • high electrical demand on a single circuit.

So what can you do to protect your appliances from power surges? The best defense is a good surge protector. A surge protector is a device that helps regulate the flow of electricity and protects your electronics from spikes in voltage. Most people know to plug their computer into a surge protector as computers are notoriously sensitive to voltage fluctuation, but what many people don’t know is that other household appliances such as TVs and refrigerators can also be susceptible to even small power surges generated from your own home’s electrical system.

Many modern appliances have some degree of surge resistance built in, so they can weather occasional fluctuation in the grid just fine. However, if power surges continue to happen, as in the case of faulty or inadequate wiring in the home, then appliances will most likely be damaged and stop working well before the end of their normal useful lifespan.

Here at OHM, we were contacted by a woman who had three refrigerators in a row go bad within two years. By the third time she began to suspect something was wrong with the outlet or wiring she was plugging the fridges into. Indeed, this was an example of bad wiring in the home damaging the refrigerators. In a case like this you need professionals, like the expert electricians at OHM Electrical Contracting, to correctly diagnose the root electrical problem and fix it safely. Otherwise you risk not only damaging your appliances, but potentially even more serious problems endangering your home and family.

If you have experienced power surges or are concerned about protecting your appliances, contact OHM today.