Electricity is unequivocally seen as a real positive in our lives. Without it, we couldn’t power our household lights, our kitchen appliances, or our technological devices. However, there can be too much of a good thing. And when that happens, our electronics are vulnerable to damage.
We’re talking about power surges.
It may sound exciting, but it’s really quite dangerous. A power surge is a sudden increase in voltage. Power surges can happen during lightning storms, power outages, and even when we switch on or off a large appliance. In fact, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association estimates that 60-80% of all power surges can be traced back to internal sources within a home or a business. These relatively normal occurrences can actually be so strong and sudden that they may damage your equipment or even start a fire.
During a power surge, the voltage levels will increase far beyond the limits of a given device. Typically, most electronic devices can handle 120 volts, though they may fluctuate between 0 volts and 169 volts. But the volts associated with power surges can extend far beyond those parameters and permanently damage your devices.
The truth is that any appliance can be irreparably damaged by a power surge. But there are certain devices that are more prone to power surge damage. These devices include computers, television sets, space heaters, and washing machines. It’s essential, therefore, to protect your devices (as well as your home and your family!) by taking the proper precautions. To do this, you can use power strips that offer surge protection, surge stations, or uninterruptible power stations.
Keep in mind that the way you plug in your appliances matters, too. Never use a power strip for delicate electronics and large-scale appliances (like air conditioners). This can lead to mini-surges and put your devices at risk for damage. You should also ensure your plug-ins have a UL Standard 1449 in the second edition and have a clamping voltage of 400 volts or less. They should be able to handle 600 joules, shut down immediately if a surge is detected, and protect the neutral line, ground line, and hotline.
In the event of a major storm or unexpected outage, protecting your charging or plugged-in devices may not be your first thought. But if you want to ensure the longevity of your gadgets, you may want to change your point of view. By taking a few easy precautionary steps, you can safeguard these electronics from harm and give yourself some peace of mind.