Electrical power sockets are meant to provide a steady electrical current, and electronic systems plugged into the sockets depend on this. However, power surges may occur, causing the voltage to suddenly increase. A surge is a sharp rise in voltage and may last for several seconds. This may be due to lighting strikes, power interruptions, or glitches in the electrical grid. This sudden rise in voltage can destroy electronic devices drawing power directly from the electrical socket. In fact, it may even render them totally inoperable, leading to high replacement costs. So what can homeowners do to keep their electronic appliances from getting fried? Read on for further insight.
To protect your electrical appliances from damage due to power spikes and surges, call in an electrician to install a whole-house surge protector in your main electrical panel. Additionally, you can also choose to have your individual electrical devices fitted with plug-in surge protecting systems. In the event that the voltage in the electrical socket sharply rises beyond the accepted level, the surge protector mechanism deflects the harmful current into the grounding wire of the socket.
How surge protectors function
In a surge protector device, the main power line referred to as the hot or live wire features an additional connection attached to it that leads to the ground or earth wire. Often, the surge connection remains inactive. Yet, when a larger than normal electrical current appears, and generates plenty of voltage, the surplus current is channelled safely down to the ground wire. This means that no additional voltage than normal flows into your electrical appliance, and therefore it's better secured from harm.
This begs the question: how does the surge protector know when to deflect the current? A component referred to as a varistor, made from a metal-oxide semiconductor, is the one actually responsible for diverting the excess current. When surplus current appears, the semiconductor inside the varistor converts into a good conductor of electricity and begins to ferry current normally. As long as the surge voltage persists, the semiconductor directs dangerous voltage to the ground. As soon as things return to normalcy, the semiconductor converts back to its primary bad conductor of electricity state.
It is better from a safety and cost point of view to install a whole-house surge protector rather than individual plug-in surge protectors. Whole-house surge protection systems can safeguard all your electronics and appliances, while individual plug-ins only protect those devices fitted with the surge protection. Whatever your choice, have an electrician perform the installation on your behalf.
For more information, talk with different electrician companies in your area, like All Electrical Work.