When something increases the electrical charge somewhere in the power lines, the electrical potential energy increases. This can make the current of electricity running to the outlet in your wall increase, and that is called a power surge. Several things can cause a power surge to occur, and any of these can destroy your computers and devices if you don’t have them properly protected. Ask computer repair specialists, and they’ll tell you that there are several ways to protect your machines from a power surge. If you what to watch for and take the proper precautions, you will be much less likely to have your expensive technology fried by too much power.
Causes of a Power Surge
Lightning is probably the best known cause of a power surge, but it is actually the least likely to happen. Even so, lightning occasionally does strike too near a power line, and causes a major increase of electrical pressure. The lightning can strike the ground, a building, or even an electrical pole, and add extra millions of volts to the existing current. When the cause of a surge is lightning, sometimes any protection you put in place will still not be enough, short of unplugging everything in your home.
High-power electrical devices, like refrigerators, take a lot of electricity to turn on and off. Sometimes, the switching of these appliances causes the current in the electrical system to become unbalanced, and even briefly this can cause a surge. This is a much more common cause than lightning and doesn’t cause quite as much damage in one occurrence, but it can still cause serious harm.
Bad wiring or electric company issues, like downed power lines and faulty equipment, are other common causes of a power surge, and vary in severity. There isn’t much you can do to predict such a problem, so instead you should take precautions.
Precautions You Can Take
- Surge protectors are one of the fastest and easiest ways to protect the electronics in your home from power surges. Sometimes these are called power strips, and not only can they protect your computer from getting fried, they can also give you extra outlets too. This device helps by diverting power in the event of a surge, preventing too much electricity from being sent to the electronics plugged into it. These need to be tested regularly to be sure they are still doing their job.
- Have the wiring in your home inspected regularly. This is a good idea for many safety reasons, but one of the things it can save you from is power surges due to faulty wiring. You can also prevent electrical fires and expensive repair work later.
- Unplug your computers and devices. IT specialists recommend this as the best way to save yourself from power surge damage. If severe weather is likely to produce lightning, the best thing you can do is shut down and unplug your computer. Lightning has been known to overpower surge protectors and fry electronics despite the best precautions, and unplugging is the only way to keep them completely safe.
If you follow this advice, you will be protecting your computers and electronics to the best of your ability. But, accidents do happen, and if you have a computer which has been damaged by a power surge, give us a call to see how we can help you.