Poss Electric Blog

Licensed and insured North Atlanta electrician

Surge protection

A surge protector is a device to protect electrical appliances from voltage spikes (power surges) that may occur from lightening, power outages, short circuits, and many other unpredictable accidents and natural occurrences .   Minor power fluctuations by dryers, refrigerators or any other energy sucking devices can also cause damage that is not instantaneous and probably not even noticeable until a year after you bought your new microwave, it suddenly stops working.   Power surges cause a great amount of heat to run along electrical wiring and cause the wire to burn because more voltage than the wire was designed to hold is being forced into it. A surge will follow any wire (including phone and cable) into a house meaning that all common electrical devices are at risk for damage from a power surge including TV’s, computers, fax machines, refrigerators, ovens, and even outlets, switches, and dimmers. Surge suppressors use a Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) to divert extra voltage to the ground wire preventing voltage overload on electrical wires.

Going without surge protection is an expensive and frequently dangerous gamble.  Was it coincidence that on the same day I write this blog I got a service call from a client of ours in Vinings whom we installed a whole house surge protector for last year? Granted, she was in the market for a bath fan installation but she also wanted us to do a maintenance check on her electric and give her a “crash-course” in surge protection.  She admits she was a little worried since her neighbors across the street recently suffered a power surge sparking an electrical fire.  If the surge emanated from an external force (such as a downed power line or even maintenance from the power company) our customer could have easily been affected too had we not installed surge suppressors. 

We suggest a one-two punch when it comes to surge protection.  Whole-house surge protectors defend against big, dangerous power spikes but up to 15% of the energy can “leak” which is where we recommend individual (plug-in power strips, etc.) on vulnerable appliances and electrical systems.  Whole house surge protectors are hard wired to the panel and should be installed by a professional electrician. For a standard home with a 200 amp panel the process takes approximately 2 hours. However, we recommend smaller but separate whole house protectors for phone and cable lines which are at an additional cost. Individual “plug-in” suppressors come in a varying array of options and prices. Expect to pay $20-$70 for a quality power strip or surge station.  Or you could invest $100-$250 for a UPS (uninterrupted power supply). UPS’s completely eliminate electrical power fluctuations and have a short-term battery back-up should the power shift or go out completely.

We have installed whole-house surge protectors all overl North Atlanta including Roswell, Alpharetta, Kennesaw, Canton, Marietta, Smyrna, Acworth, and Woodstock. Call Poss Electric to get a free estimate on whole house surge protectors to safeguard your home today!


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