Florida homeowners know the importance of protecting your home when a hurricane is approaching. Store loose items in the yard. Put shutters on the windows. Load up on bottled water and canned goods. These preparatory steps are all second nature.
When thinking of our homes’ electrical needs, we tend to think about the damage the storm will do to power lines. Few Florida residents consider the potential losses due to electrical power surges, especially prevalent during hurricanes. These brief elevations of voltage can damage or destroy televisions, air conditioners and other appliances large and small.
What is an Electrical Power Surge?
Power surges are sudden spikes in the electrical current in your home.
These spikes in power can originate in several ways:
- Power grid switching performed by the electric company
- Switching on high-powered items inside the home
- When motors on large appliances kick on
- Lightning strikes in the area or near power lines
Protecting your home from power surges with surge protectors
You may be familiar with surge protection units used to protect computer systems at work, like uninterruptible power supplies. Perhaps you use power strips with built-in surge protection in your home office or for electronics like TVs and sound systems. These small power surge protection devices can usually protect up to six pieces of low-powered electrical equipment against minimal voltage spikes. Advanced Power Strips (APS) can even help save on electric bills by lowering the amount of electricity wasted by idle electronic devices.
Unfortunately, most people forget that the most expensive electrical appliances and HVAC units are unprotected. The good news is you can and should protect your most valuable items from the damage of electrical spikes.
In fact, you can protect your entire home’s electrical system from dangerous energy spikes with a whole house surge protector. This is a device that is installed in or attached to your home’s main electrical panel to shield your entire electrical system from surges.
How does surge protection protect your home in a hurricane?
Although hurricanes don’t generally produce a lot of lightning, the high winds and excessive rain wreak havoc with the electrical grid. Power often flashes on and off, sometimes going out altogether for days on end. Have you’ve forgotten to turn off or unplug video games, televisions and other devices? The flood of electricity when the power comes back often causes damage to devices that were left on before the outage.
Imagine having your power restored after days in the dark, only to have your electrical appliances destroyed by the surge. These fluctuations in voltage can also harm the electrical system, heating/cooling system, as well as large appliances. In the worst cases, fire can occur which puts your family’s safety in jeopardy.
This situation frequently occurs during hurricanes, unnecessarily costing thousands of dollars in damage.
A whole-house surge protector diverts elevated jolts of electricity from entering the electrical panel. It serves as a “gatekeeper,” only letting in the correct amount of power. Excess energy goes into the ground. Therefore, it protects all of your electric devices at the same time, while also protecting your home’s electrical system and major appliances.
How Do You Install Surge Protection in Your Home?
Electrical work of this nature is not a do-it-yourself project. A licensed electrician should install a whole house surge protector. The cost-benefit ratio is worth it to most homeowners because you’re not only protecting your belongings but also your entire home and family.
Seek an electrician experienced in the installation of whole home surge protectors. He or she will recommend the best model for your home. Your electrician will evaluate your home’s electrical draw and choose the most efficient and effective surge protector to meet your needs.
You can purchase full home surge protectors at home improvement stores. Before doing so, it’s best to get an electrician’s suggestion first.
Some of the specs you’ll need to look for include:
- UL Certification
- Line to Neutral (L-N), Neutral to Ground (N-G), and Line to Ground (L-G) protection on both of the incoming lines
- Is the Maximum Surge Current Capacity adequate?
- What is the Short Circuit Current Rating (SCCR) of the surge protection device?
- What is the clamping voltage?
- Are there connections for phone and coaxial cable to protect those lines, as well?
If you don’t know what these specifications are or why they are essential, seek the assistance of an experienced electrician. Electrical work is very hazardous and is not a learn-as-you-go home project.
The licensed, bonded and insured electricians at Suncoast Electric Panel Solutions have the experience to recommend and install the surge protection equipment your home needs. They offer 24/7 emergency service in Miami, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Protecting your home and family from dangerous power surges before a hurricane is easy with a whole house surge protector. Call today at 954-289-0411 or 561-220-0183 to make an appointment.