What is a power surge?
A power surge can be an unexpected surge of electricity caused by another item on the electrical system. A few examples: a large appliance may back feed electricity to your home, lightning strikes, trees hit a transformer, or even small appliances like a hairdryer back feeds electricity.
How to Fix a Power Surge
Power surges are sudden spikes of electricity, so there is not really a “fix”. However, there are multitude of ways to help you prevent future surges.
Also, there are actions you should complete after a surge has occurred.
Preventing Power Surges
First and foremost, if you have old electrical wiring, overloaded circuits, or an older electrical panel you need to get those updated. To find out if you have bad electrical wiring or faulty electrical panels check out this article on issues of homes by year. Also, you can read the articles listed below to see if your home has any of those issues.
The above articles may seem like a lot of reading, but if you use the issues of homes by year timeline, it can help steer you in the right direction with some issues.
Be sure all your trees are trimmed and electrical service is debris free. In some cases, electrical service entrance lines are underground. Be sure to make sure your electrical service entrance is properly protected from damage like a lawn trimmer or pests.
In the picture below, the electrical entrance is underground. We can tell from the conduits going down into the ground. Ensuring this area is clear and protected is essential.
You might be able to call your electrical service company for help with trimming large trees if it is before the power line reaches your home.
Next, you will need to purchase surge protectors for your most expensive electronics so they do not get damaged if a surge occurs. It is recommended to use a surge protector of at least 600 Jules of protection. This surge protector on Amazon has 790 Jules of protection.
Whole House Protection
If you want to go above and beyond, you can purchase a whole house surge protector and install it at your main electrical panel. Installation methods are usually pretty simple and listed by the manufacturer. In general, you can just attach it to your main electrical bus bar and then to your neutral bus bar. Do not double tap it into the electrical panel!
Here is a whole house surge protector for Square D electrical panels listed on Amazon. Ensure the surge protector you purchase is made for your brand panel. So a Siemens panel should have a Siemens surge protector. Of course, you should reach out to a licensed electrician if you are not handy.
Unplugging Unused Devices
Another big way to prevent surges is to just not have anything plugged in, who would’ve thought!
You can unplug toasters, hair dryers, hair straighteners, or charging cables when not in use to prevent back feeding and damage.
Not every surge is preventable, but having a whole house surge protector, surge protectors for expensive equipment, updated electrical, and items unplugged can mitigate damage.
Actions After a Surge
- Assess for any damage.
- Unplug all devices.
- Reset circuit breakers if power is off.
Assessing home damage first can help you determine the source and if there is an immediate threat such as a fire.
Moreover, unplugging devices prevents further damage after you reset breakers. Once you are aware that power is back on, functioning properly, then it is safe to plug in your electronics.
Power surges are definitely unexpected and more likely to occur in homes with overloaded circuits or older electrical systems. Using preventative measures, you can protect your home from fires, as well as protect your personal items.
If you have any questions on preventing surges and protecting your home from electrical failure, be sure to comment below.