If you own a home here in Raleigh, NC, it’s a safe bet it’s filled with myriad electronic devices. They’re a staple of most people’s modern lifestyle. For example, you likely wouldn’t leave home without your smartphone. And you likely enjoy binging the latest must-see series on your favorite streaming platforms. You probably also use your microwave to make some popcorn to enjoy while you watch.

The point is that the devices in your home play a major role in your everyday life. It should worry you, then, that a single power surge could damage or destroy those devices in an instant. That is, of course, unless your home has adequate surge protection. It’s something that every home should have today. To explain why, here’s everything you need to know about power surges and why whole-house surge protection is so important.

What’s a Power Surge?

To understand power surges, you must first understand how your home’s power infrastructure works. On average, everything about your home’s wiring revolves around a 120-volt standard. That’s the average voltage that the grid delivers to your home. However, the actual incoming voltage does fluctuate. It can change depending on your home’s distance from the transmission equipment. It can also fluctuate due to the ebb and flow of demand across the grid. As a result, the average home’s voltage may regularly drop as low as 107 volts and climb as high as 125 volts.

Fortunately, your home’s electrical panel and wiring are robust and can operate safely within those ranges. Most of the appliances and devices you own can, too. However, when the incoming voltage spikes beyond that range, problems arise. Incoming voltage that surpasses 169 volts is considered a power surge. Power surges are usually momentary, with the average surge lasting a fraction of a second. However, some power surges can persist for several seconds before the voltage returns to normal.

What Causes Power Surges?

When most people imagine a power surge, they envision something like a lightning strike or a grid equipment failure. And those are two of the more common causes of power surges in homes here in Raleigh. However, what you may not know is that power surges can also originate inside your home. They can occur any time there’s a sudden demand for electricity from an appliance in your home. For example, every time your AC’s fans and compressor come on, it can cause a momentary power surge.

Overloaded circuits in your home are another common cause of power surges. This can happen when you have too many devices plugged into a single outlet. It can also happen if there’s damaged wiring somewhere in your home. A damaged wire might direct voltage somewhere it shouldn’t be. That can cause an electrical imbalance that leads to a surge.

Power surges also occur when there’s a power outage. However, they don’t happen at the moment the power fails. They happen when your provider restores power to your home. The moment the power comes back on, your home will inevitably experience a power surge. If you’ve ever noticed lights in your home turning on extra-bright after a power restoration, this is the reason.

How Do Whole-House Surge Protectors Work?

A whole-house surge protector is an add-on for your home’s main electrical panel. They work by monitoring the voltage passing through your home’s wiring. When there’s excess voltage detected, the surge protector routes it into your electrical system’s ground wire. That way, it doesn’t end up passing through your home’s circuits and vulnerable devices. Most whole-house surge protectors can handle a surge of up to 40,000 amps. That’s enough to arrest the largest power surges that come from things like lightning strikes.

Why Every Home Needs Surge Protection

There are multiple reasons why whole-house surge suppression is a modern necessity. The following are a few of the most important reasons.

Lightning Strikes Increasing

Worryingly, the frequency of lightning strikes inside the US is increasing. Part of that is due to climate change. For every degree Celsius that our average temperature rises, we experience a 12% increase in lighting strikes. Plus, as we experience stronger storms, we can expect more local lightning strikes, too. Here in Raleigh, our higher-than-average humidity will exacerbate that trend. A whole-home surge protector is a good way to prepare for the expected increase in lightning strikes.

Power Surges Are Costly

Whole home surge protection is also necessary to avoid costly damage from a power surge. In 2021, the average power surge insurance claim came in at $21,000. That’s a staggering figure that reflects how much damage a power surge might do to your home. Plus, most homeowner’s insurance policies have limits far lower than the damage a surge might cause. As a result, you may end up covering the cost of power surge-related damage yourself. A whole-home surge protector is an inexpensive way to avoid that situation.

Power Surges Are Dangerous

A power surge can also lead to a fire in your home under the right conditions. For example, an overvoltage from a power surge could lead to an insulation failure in your home’s wiring. When that occurs, the wire could produce electrical arcs that start a fire. Or, a surge can overload an appliance badly enough to cause combustion. Depending on what’s near the appliance, that fire could easily spread.

Most Plug-in Surge Protectors Are Inadequate

It’s also worth pointing out that the average plug-in surge protector can’t handle large power surges. They’re only rated for small, short power surges and won’t always protect the devices you plug into them. Plus, plenty of homeowners mistake power strips for surge protectors. That can lead to a false sense of security.

Most plug-in surge protectors also have a maximum cumulative surge protection capacity. That means after a few small power surges, they can fail. Most have an LED that will alert you to this, but they won’t tell you how much capacity’s left. As a result, you may end up relying on surge protectors that are on the verge of failure. If you’re unlucky, this can lead to damaged or destroyed electronics. Since whole-house surge protectors have far greater capacities, they last far longer than plug-in models.

Surge Protection Experts in Raleigh

For over 23 years, Thermo Direct has offered quality electrical services to homeowners in Raleigh. That includes selling and installing the latest whole-house surge protectors. We also offer complete HVAC and plumbing services, too. And we handle indoor air quality, ductwork, and insulation, too. We’re also a winner of the Angi Super Service Award and have a long list of positive customer reviews.

Plus, we’re Better Business Bureau-accredited with an A+ rating. That means you know you can count on exemplary workmanship and customer service from us. So, if you’re interested in a whole-house surge protector for your Raleigh home, call Thermo Direct today!

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