Electrical surges can originate from inside or outside your home. In fact, internal surges account for roughly three-quarters of all power surges and can be caused by modern technology. Today’s homes not only have refrigerators, microwave ovens, air conditioners, and water heaters to consider. But they also have dishwashers, garbage disposals, home entertainment systems, and automation technology that soak up a great deal of electricity and power. There are more devices running in the average American home than there were just a few years ago, making surge protection all that more important.

electricians repairing circuit breaker panel

On average, a home has more than 20 energy spikes per day. Energy fluctuations can reduce the lifespan of home appliances and electronics. Internal surges can be serious enough, but external ones are often many times more powerful. A lightning strike is over in an instant. But it can damage televisions, computers, refrigerators, HVAC components, garage door openers, and other systems, as well as wiring, beyond repair. One powerful strike can leave you spending a fortune replacing damaged equipment.

Choosing the Right Surge Protector

Surge protection is a must. It may seem easier and cheaper to install power strips, but these offer little protection from power spikes. The level of protection provided by a surge protector is measured in joules. The higher the joules, the more the device can handle.

When shopping for a surge protector, consider one with connections for cable and phone lines, because power spikes can travel through these as well. A protector with USB connections can be useful (it can charge your devices), but remember the amperage used takes up some of the unit’s capacity. For more functionality and faster charging, choose a 2-amp surge protector rather than a 1-amp device.

The type of surge protector you use is also an important consideration. The two main types include:

  • A point-of-use device that protects appliances plugged directly into it. Rather than being suppressed, the surge is diverted through the ground.
  • A service entrance surge protector mounted inside the electrical panel or to the electric meter, which protects components that can’t be linked to a point-of-use device.

The latter is a whole house surge protector that prevents powerful surges from damaging appliances, electronics, and wiring throughout your home. But you also need to be aware of the level of surge protection that’s provided. You can tell this by looking at a surge protector’s:

  • Surge strength: A 150,000-amp rating is preferred for a whole house surge protector. This is the amount of power the device can handle without failing.
  • Clamp level: The voltage level at which the device activates. Whole house protectors should have a clamp level of about 150 volts, while point-of-use devices should be around 130 volts.
  • Response time: Measured in mere nanoseconds, a surge protector’s response time is the period from when a power spike occurs to when the device activates.

Need Surge Protection? Consult with Express Electrical Services!

Our Los Angeles and Orange County electricians are trained and experienced at installing whole house surge protectors. At Express Electrical Services, we’re committed to ensuring the safety of every household we serve. Power surges can lead to minor inconveniences to serious events such as electrical fires. We can help improve your safety, give you peace of mind, and add value to your home (a whole house surge protector can be a desirable feature that potential homebuyers look for). Contact us today to learn more and have us install a reliable, inexpensive whole house surge protector in your home.