Common Causes of Electrical Power Surges (And What You Can Do About Them)

by | Sep 18, 2018 | Safety, Wiring

Power surges are an unseen hazard that causes $5 to $6 billion worth of damage every year according to the National Lightning Safety Institute.

Keep your home safe from power issues is important. This includes checking your wiring and ensuring all your appliances are working properly.

Here’s what to look out for if you don’t want to become a statistic.

What is a Power Surge?

A power surge is an unexpected and unavoidable upward spike in the power supply to your home’s electrical outlets.

Most electrical appliances draw 120 volts AC power from electrical outlets.

When a quick, intense burst of power makes its way through those outlets, you’ve got problems. Plugged-in appliances may overheat, malfunction and even set alight in some cases.

Several factors can be responsible for these severe jolts of electricity.

1. Overloading Outlets or Circuits

Just like your electrical appliances, electrical outlets have their limits too. Attaching too many appliances to one outlet can force more electricity to that area, resulting in an electrical power surge.

Alternatively, if all the electrical outlets in one room are operating on a single circuit, the culprit could be the circuit itself.

Get an electrician to check out your circuitry if you are still experiencing surges despite using your outlets conservatively.

2. Damaged and Exposed Wiring

It’s obvious to anyone that exposed wires are a bad idea, but what concealed wiring in your walls?

Pests like mice and squirrels fancy nibbling on concealed wiring. This causes havoc with your home or business electricity system. The exposed wires allow electricity to roam unconfined through your premises, leading to power spikes and other common electrical problems.

Never handle exposed wires yourself, electricity is dangerous. Only a qualified electrician should every attempt electrical repair. They will isolate the problem area quickly and have you powered up in no time.

3. Lightning

Lighting is pure electricity and can cause a surge of electricity to your outlets if it strikes near your house. About 30 000 000 lightning flashes strike the ground annually in the USA, and it’s not true that it won’t hit the same target twice.

Always unplug your electrical devices at the first hint of a storm. They do not stand a chance against the raw voltage of a lightning strike.

4. High-Energy Electrics

Appliances and machines that use a lot of energy, like air-conditioners can cause a power surge when they are first switched on.

These high-powered devices draw a huge amount of voltage through your building’s circuitry. Any electrical device along the way may become caught up in this flood of electricity, leading to damage.

Flickering lights are a tell-tale sign of power spikes due to these kinds of appliances.

5. Power Outages Can Mean Power Surges

Believe it or not, no power can lead to too much power in your home’s electrical system.

The big burst of electricity needed to kickstart the neighborhood after an outage can sometimes go astray, causing surges in unexpected places.

Be Prepared

Protect your possessions from power surge damage by installing individual power surge protectors on your outlets.

Another option to protect yourself from power surges is to install a whole-home or building surge protector. We can help. Get in touch for residential and commercial solutions to your electrical problems.