Whole-house surge protection addresses two critical issues in household electrical power: the instability of supply from the grid and the increasing requirement for clean, stable power for the technology in homes today.
Unfortunately, power from the grid is not as reliable as we’d like – and not just because of bad weather. Increasingly, times of peak demand lead to brownouts and blackouts. These events can be damaging to sensitive equipment, because they are frequently followed by surges as the grid returns to normal. Even micro-surges that last only millionths of a second can progressively damage microprocessors in sensitive equipment. Sometimes the damage is not conspicuous or immediate. Devices may simply operate erratically or fail prematurely because of the long-term effects of power fluctuations.
Natural phenomena are another source of power surges. Lighting strikes near your home can send surges into your wiring even if the lightning doesn’t strike the house itself. In areas such as Florida with active thunderstorms, studies have shown that lightning affects home voltage as much as 300 times a year.
Still another source of voltage spikes can originate within the home itself, from appliances air conditioners and other piece of equipment that draws a heavy current when it cycles on. As the electrical current rebounds, it may instantaneously surge past normal voltage to damaging levels. These account for as much as 80 percent of the voltage surges in some homes and are of particular concern because they represent a daily source of damaging power fluctuations.
A whole-house surge protection unit, also known as a service entrance suppressor, is installed behind your electric meter by a professional electrician. It monitors the voltage that enters your home. If a surge is detected, the surge suppressor automatically diverts the excess voltage to ground. A typical whole-house surge protection system can divert voltages up to 40,000 amps. This front line of defense protects all electrical devices in the home – those that are plugged into wall outlets and those, such as higher-voltage HVAC equipment, that are wired directly into the home’s circuits.
Maximum whole-house surge protection is available in a two-tiered system that uses individual suppressors at valuable equipment such as the HVAC system, appliances, computers and home-entertainment equipment, as well as a whole-house service entrance suppressor at the electric meter. This system covers all contingencies, including in-house sources of power fluctuations. It also protects against the hazard of electrical surges from lightning that may enter the home through TV cables, phone wiring and other access points that don’t involve the primary electrical source.
Aqua Plumbing & Air serves homeowners in the Bradenton and Sarasota area with HVAC, plumbing and electrical expertise. Contact us for more information about a whole-house surge protection system to protect your valuable home electronics.