The Maynard Man loves summer, but there are certainly some aspects that aren’t so fun, right? A muggy climate, sunburns, fried electronics—wait, what’s that last one?
While you’re apt to crank your thermostat down as low as it will go to achieve optimal comfort, that excess strain on your home’s electrical system can cause a power surge that impacts all the electrical appliances and equipment in your living space. This causes irreparable damage, and it’s not the only potential cause of a power surge—more on that below.
First Off, What Is a Power Surge, Exactly?
A power surge is what occurs when an increased demand for energy causes a spike in the flow of electricity. This spike—surge—travels through the electrical circuitry of your home and threatens appliances—usually your most expensive ones that have microprocessors, such as your computers and televisions and perhaps even your smart thermostat.
What Causes These Energy Spikes?
We mentioned how your air conditioner use can cause a power surge. The compressor of your air conditioner is high-powered and puts strain on your electrical system, which can create an imbalance in the flow of voltage.
Ever notice flickering lights when your AC cycles on? This could very well be a power surge! It may not immediately shut anything down—the effects of a power surge are usually more subtle than that, degrading your electrical system over time. Summertime power surges can come from a few different sources:
- High-Powered Appliances: Your air conditioner isn’t the only culprit. The fridge or freezer can do it, as could your clothes washer or dryer.
- Lightning: This is the most commonly associated cause of power surges.
- Bad Wiring: Do you live in an aging home? Its wiring could lead to uneven voltage, causing power surges when any appliance is turned on.
- Utility Company Problems: While rare, a power surge can occur as the result of equipment malfunction from your community’s power company.
How Do I Protect My Home?
The Maynard Man is glad you asked! Many homeowners opt for a number of small surge protectors that resemble power strips, to divert electricity. However, this solution can be costly and ineffective as power strips aren’t powerful enough for comprehensive protection.
The real solution is whole-house surge protection. This is an inexpensive and wide-ranging way to protect all the appliances in your home, as it diverts potentially damaging electrical surges to the ground wire directly from the central service panel.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to predict a power surge, and nothing you can do afterward to limit the damage that a power surge might have done to your appliances. But you can absolutely protect against these surges with whole-house surge protection!