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Power surge running through power lines

When Do Power Surges Occur and How Much Damage Can They Cause?

When most people think of power surges, they tend to think of huge bursts of electricity that happen during thunderstorms. While it’s true that power surges are more likely to occur when lightning is nearby, these electrical dangers can happen quite unexpectedly.

What Causes Power Surges?

Multiple situations can cause a power surge. These are the most common ones:

  • Power returning after an outage. During an outage or blackout, the power supply is interrupted. As soon as electricity is allowed to flow again, there’s a sudden spike in electric current. This can result in a power surge.
  • A lightning strike. If lightning strikes your home (or just close by), that electricity can enter your electrical system. Unfortunately, your electrical system cannot “reject” that surplus energy, and your home can be overwhelmed by a power surge.
  • Damaged wiring. The insulation that protects your wiring can become damaged by old age, bad installation, rodents, and more. Without adequate insulation, your wiring is at a higher risk of conducting too much electricity.
  • An overloaded circuit. This tends to occur when people try to plug in too many things on the same circuit. This can easily happen when you plug multiple power strips or extension cords into each other or plug too many devices into an outlet adapter.

What Kind of Damage Do Power Surges Cause?

A power surge can vary in intensity. The damage they cause can vary also. Power surges may not cause visible damage to your appliances and electronics, but all of that high current takes a toll on the devices’ internal electrical components and circuit boards.

Your devices might not perform as well after a power surge. At worst, they may be damaged beyond use and repair. One bad power surge can take out all of your home’s plugged-in electronics, major appliances, and even your central heating and cooling system in one fell swoop.

How to Avoid Damage From Power Surges

Although your insurance policy might cover items damaged by a power surge, policies with that coverage usually have a limit. It’s best to avoid damage from power surges in the first place.

  • Unplug your electronics during a thunderstorm.
  • Protect your TV, computer, and smaller electronics by plugging them into surge protectors.
  • Avoid overloading outlets.
  • Never plug power strips or extension cords into each other. They should only ever be plugged into wall outlets.
  • Never plug your kitchen appliances into power strips; only plug them directly into wall outlets.
  • Protect your home’s major appliances by installing a whole-home surge protector. The additional benefit of a whole-home surge protector is that it guards your home against power surges 24/7, even when you’re not home to unplug your devices during suddenly inclement weather.

Interested in installing a whole-home surge protector for your New Orleans home? Contact Stuart Services today at (888) 650-5655 for more information.

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