Keeping Homes Safe from Power Surges

Whole House Surge Protectors to Protect Electronics

A problem that largely goes unacknowledged in modern homes is that of power surges. Power surges are spikes in voltage that last a few nanoseconds but can cause massive damage around the house. They go unnoticed because, most of the time, they don’t do immediate damage, but the cumulative effects of power surges on electronics cannot be underestimated. 

Just like using a water filter to purify water, a whole home surge protector can clean up the power that enters a home and make it safer for electronics. Here is a quick guide to these electronic-saving devices that technicians can quickly install to protect homes. 

What is a Power Surge?

surgeEven in areas with stable electrical supply, power surges are common. They happen as grid-scale events or small events within the home. 

Common causes of power surges are:

  • Storms, especially lightning strikes
  • Appliances with a large current draw, like refrigerators and HVAC systems
  • A fluctuation in the power grid
  • Downed electrical lines
  • Problems at the electricity generation plant

The problem with power surges is that they can cause lots of damage for being as short as they are. Any electronic device with a control board or a motor is susceptible to damage during a power surge. A single power surge could ruin multiple devices or appliances simultaneously. 

Why are Surge Protectors Beneficial?

A surge protector protects sensitive electronics from damage during a power surge. Commonly used surge protection devices are built into many power strips to protect banks of electronic equipment like a computer and monitor or a TV and cable box. But how can these protect devices like refrigerators and dimmer switches?

So many sensitive electronic devices are present in homes that electricians recommend protecting the home with a whole house surge protector. These devices are hard-wired into the panel and divert any large voltage spikes away from electronics instead of allowing them to damage their boards or motors. 

It is not uncommon for a large power surge to knock out a wide array of electronics in the home at once, so homeowners should have a whole house surge protector installed to prevent unnecessary damage. 

When Should Surge Protectors Be Replaced? 

protectorTo protect homes from power surges, homeowners should use a combination of a whole-home surge protector to keep hardwired and plug-in appliances safe and power strips with surge protectors to guard sensitive electronics like computers and phones. Power surges are more common than people would expect, given the reliability of their electricity, but many surges are not harmful enough to overwhelm electronics immediately. Over time, many small surges can work to degrade electronics slowly. This is why knowing when to replace surge protectors is so important. 

Surge protectors should be changed every three to five years, whether for the whole home or in a power strip. After this time, they have absorbed enough energy from power surges to cause them to be ineffective. Other signs that surge protectors are failing include:

  • Damage from power surges
  • Flickering lights
  • Inconsistent power supply in the home from a power strip 
  • Signs of electrical fires
  • Expired warranty  

About Trustworthy Electric

Trustworthy Electric has over 25 years of experience serving the community of Montgomery, AL, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, same-day service, and customer education. Call them today for electrical services in Montgomery, AL.

3 Positively Great Resolutions to Make for Your Home's Electrical System

Don’t Forget To Make Resolutions for the Home’s Electrical System This Year!

The New Year is a time to think about the changes everyone wants to see in their lives. Resolutions about relationships, fitness, goals, and dreams are made to start the new year off right. Homeowners should consider making resolutions not just for themselves this year but also for their home. Take a look at these three ways to improve a home’s electrical for the coming New Year!

#1 - Replace Worn-Down Wiring


The modern home uses electricity 24/7, every day of the year. Electricity runs the furnace, the air conditioner, the hairdryer, and the wi-fi. Without it, not much gets done. It shouldn’t be a surprise that, over time, wires wear down and need to be replaced. But, how exactly does one know when wiring needs replaced?

  • Age: If the wiring hasn’t been replaced for 30 years, it probably needs it. Homes built before 1985 are not wired with materials up to the current building codes, and the wires are more likely to fail soon. 
  • Tripped Breakers: If the circuit breaker is frequently tripped, the home’s wiring may not be up to the demands of the house. 
  • Extension Cords: If several electric-run machines are plugged into extension cords to have everything on in the house, the home’s electrical system isn’t up to the demands of the house. New wiring and outlets should be installed to prevent electrical fires.
  • Stained Outlets: Discolored outlets are a sign of electrical surges and indicate a risk of electrical fires. The wiring is likely failing and needs replacing. 

#2 - Have a Professional Inspect Outlets 

The outlets of the home are a good indicator of what kind of shape the electrical system is in. Having them inspected can evaluate if electrical surges are occurring (thereby indicating that wiring needs replaced), or if wiring has come loose from the outlet. Loose or frayed wiring can cause electrical fires, and needs replaced right away. 

The inspection will also check if the electrical contacts of the outlet are in good shape - if plugs are falling out of the outlet, not only is it annoying, but it indicates the contacts are worn down and need to be replaced to prevent electrical fires. An electrical inspection of the outlets is an inexpensive way to ensure the home’s electrical system is running properly.

#3 - Take Steps to Prevent System Overloading 

Electrical overloads are annoying - every homeowner hates having to flip circuits when the power blows - but, more importantly, electrical overloads are dangerous. As the New Year arrives, homeowners should take the following steps to prevent a perilous electrical overload situation:

  • Map the Circuits of the Home: Knowing what circuits control which rooms is essential to prevent electrical overloads. Knowing how many electrical machines are plugged into rooms and cross-referencing the circuits that keep blowing will allow homeowners to know what rooms need fewer things plugged in, or need an electrical upgrade. 
  • Verify the Load of the Circuits: Electrical circuits can only handle so much electricity. When too much electricity is run through it, the circuits are tripped, and power is cut off. Research the circuits’ recommended load in the circuit breaker, or for a more accurate assessment, reach out to have an electrician investigate the circuits that keep tripping. 
  • Balance the Circuit Loads: Circuits should not bear more than 80% of their recommended load. If circuits keep tripping, they’re being overloaded. Reach out to an electrician to find out if additional wiring is necessary or if other changes can be made to balance the demands on the home’s circuits. Sometimes, just unplugging unused machines won’t be enough to fix the problem, and new wiring or circuits may need to be installed. 

Taking care to improve the home’s electrical system is just one way to make this new year better for the home and its occupants. Reach out to a skilled electrician to find out what methods would give the home’s electricity the TLC it needs for 2021!

About Trustworthy Electric Inc. 

Trustworthy Electric Inc. has worked hard to live by its name since 1994. Their expert staff is continually training to stay on top of the latest technology and methods in the electrical industry to bring only the best service to their Montgomery community. Contact them today for electrical repairs in Montgomery, AL!