With summer giving way into fall, we’re in the heart of hurricane season here in Florida. And this year’s season is expected to bring some pretty serious storms to our shores. If you’re like most people around Florida, you’re likely doing everything you can to prepare so you’re ready for the event that any hurricanes make landfall. However, how much are you preparing to protect your home?
For the average homeowner, acquiring some plywood to shield windows and sealing areas which are prone to leaking is about the extent of the effort most people take. What they usually don’t think about is the fact that serious storms can cause electrical surges. Whether it’s a malfunctioning part of the electrical grid or a lighting strike on your home or something near it, electrical surges are more common during hurricane weather, and they can cause immense destruction and damage to your home faster than the blink of an eye.
What Is an Electrical Surge?
An electrical surge is a sudden burst of electrical current or voltage through the wiring and electrical components in your home. Normally, the power which flows through your walls and devices is carefully regulated and tuned to a consistent level (either 110 or 220 volts of AC power). However, electrical surges can cause hundreds, thousands, or even up to hundreds of thousands of volts to surge through your lines for an instant.
To understand what this can do, think about the idea of a dam breaking and water suddenly rushing through a valley below. The sudden influx of energy wipes out trees, roads, buildings, and just about anything else in its path. Much the same way, the extra power can melt electrical lines, burn insulation, melt or burn plastic, and destroy any electrical devices which are connected to the system. Computers can quickly fry and have hard drives containing valuable data destroyed, cell phones can be completely wiped out to the point where they can’t be recovered or restored, and even heating and air conditioning systems can be damaged to the point where they need significant repairs or even complete replacement.
Protecting Your Home From Electrical Surges
Fortunately, we have ways of protecting our homes and devices from the damage of a major electrical surge. Whole-home surge protection provides an extra line of defense against electrical surges, keeping them away from your most important devices. Think of it sort of like one giant fuse for your entire home—when the surge protection device senses a surge traveling through the line, it quickly shuts down and cuts off all electrical flow through your entire home. While this does take your electricity offline, it does so in order to prevent damage to your most important appliances and devices.
Whole-home surge protection is installed directly in your main electrical panel, usually between your main electrical input and the various circuits in your home. However, in some cases people choose to only protect the circuits which contain the most valuable and important devices like major appliances, data centers, or the circuit which has your heating and cooling system on it. It’s up to you how you want your home protected, so work with a skilled electrician to make sure your home is protected appropriately.
A whole-home surge protector is more affordable than you might think as well. And likewise, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your home’s electrical devices are protected from the devastating effects of a surge provides you with an absolutely invaluable peace of mind.