Firstly, what is a surge protection device? And secondly, how does it fit into your life?
Yes, YOUR life.
A surge protection device is a device that is designed to protect electrical equipment from voltage spikes.
A voltage spike is a quick event which typically lasts for 1 to 30 microseconds and can exceed 1000 volts. Yes, it is that short.
Lightning bolts can cause power surges when they hit power lines and these voltages can exceed 100000 volts.
Still doesn’t fit into your life? Please read further…
An electric motor when switched off can cause an electric spike. You may say, “…but I don’t have electric motors in my home”. Oh yes you do. Your air conditioning system, your washing machine, your dishwasher, are just a few common examples.
So, depending on the size of the spike, the damages can range from destroying electronic devices to causing degradation of wiring insulation.
Spikes can also occur in telephone lines when alternating current accidentally connects to them, if lightning strikes them or even if telephone lines run too close to power lines which can cause a current to be induced in it.
Note that there are also power surges that last longer than a few microseconds. They could last seconds, minutes or even hours caused by power transformer failures. Unfortunately, the surge protection devices we are speaking about today will not help you from those surges. Your fuse system, or circuit breaker may help out in this instance.
So, back to the distribution board mounted surge protection devices. This device gets wired into your main electric panel and its job is to attempt to limit the voltage supplied to the electrical devices by blocking or shorting current to reduce the voltage below a safe threshold.
If you already have one installed, Well done to you. However, make it a point to go and inspect it to see if its in working condition. These devices fail when the spike is larger or longer than it is designed to handle. They have indication lights on the front of it. Make sure all lights are illuminated. If you don’t have this device fitted you should contact a registered electrician (like me ) to have it installed.
I have also noticed that most insurance companies request that these items are fitted and it may affect the outcome of a claim, if the claim is power spike related and if a surge protector is not present.
And that’s it from me…..for now .
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Until my next blog post…..