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The Hazards of Electrical Surges

Serving Families Throughout Clackamas
Fried outlet.

Whether you've walked into your home to be met with blinking and incorrectly timed clocks on your electrical devices, or you've been home during a severe storm and lost power, you know the hassle of dealing with power loss due to electrical surges.

But what many homeowners don't realize is how serious an electrical surge can be.

How dangerous are power surges?

The average electrical device and appliance operates at a 120-volt alternating current. During a power outage (when surges are common), currents can spike past the peak voltage of common electrical equipment — 169 volts. This sudden spike will cause an electrical arc within the electrical device or appliance, causing damage to electrical components due to the increased amount of generated heat. Unless you dabble in electronics or engineering, you may be thinking, "Okay...but what does all that mean?"

That damage caused by the power spiking can cause short circuits or even total failure of some of your most expensive electronic appliances — and we don't mean the blender. You may lose AC during a heatwave, or your furnace could go out in the dead of winter. You could find yourself forced to replace all major appliances in your kitchen, including the refrigerator that's already starting to rise in temperature with all of your perishable groceries inside it.

From one severe power surge, you might lose all of your appliances and electronics that were plugged in at the time, along with your expensive HVAC equipment. If a power surge starts an electrical fire, you could even lose your home.

What to Do After a Power Surge

A large power surge, such as one caused by a lightning strike, can destroy circuits and wiring in an instant. If you do face a power surge, follow these steps to safely assess the possible damage:

  1. If the surge has caused a power outage, unplug all devices and appliances before resetting the circuit breaker.
  2. Assess your home for any damages by going through your home and inspecting all of your appliances and electronics. Turn your devices on and off one at a time to see if they are still functioning.
  3. Reset your HVAC unit or have a professional come by and inspect the unit for any electrical damage. Resetting your HVAC unit should be done according to the manufacturer's specifications. If you don't have your owner's manual, let a professional reset the system.

Power surges can be seriously scary, which is why whole-home surge protection is so important. Protect your expensive appliances and your cherished memories by protecting your home from surges and electrical fires caused by power spikes. For all your electrical needs, contact A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical by phone at (503) 694-3396 — or reach out online!