Some people love storm watching, and for good reason. Watching thick, dark, dramatic clouds roll in, lit up by bolts of lightning is a pretty spectacular display of the elements.
But when lightning strikes close to home, it can disrupt the power grid and cause an outage. Even though it happens in a flash, people wonder if a power outage can affect the appliances and electronics in your home.
Power outages occur for more reasons than just storms. They can be due to storms or surges in use – a really hot or really cold day, for example, when suddenly everyone is firing up their furnaces or air conditioning. Storms can cause damage to the power grid in other ways – like when the wind knocks a tree over onto a live electrical line.
It’s a strange feeling when suddenly the power goes out, and can take a minute or two to adjust to the circumstances. So what about your appliances, are they going to be ok?
The damage to appliances and electronics doesn’t normally occur when the power goes out, rather it’s when it comes back on that the network voltage may be higher or lower than the ideal amount.
If the voltage is too high it’s called a surge, and the mini blast can definitely damage equipment and appliances. The most vulnerable are things like TVs, computers or other electronics plugged into the system, and landline phones.
When the voltage returns but is lower than normal, that can also cause damage to appliances, especially ones with motors like refrigerators and other heavy devices. Damage occurs in this case because the motor might not have enough starting power, or it can cause overheating in its wiring until the thermal protector triggers.
There are a few things you can do to protect your home and your appliances. If you are home when the power goes out, it’s a good idea to unplug anything that is currently plugged into an outlet.
(*If you think that the outage is going to be long-lasting, it can be a good idea to empty your freezer into coolers with ice before everything melts and rots. Otherwise, try not to open the fridge often as it will stay coolest if the door is closed.)
You can also invest in surge protectors ahead of time. Some power bars come with built in surge protectors, and it’s a good idea to use these especially in places like your entertainment unit and office where your electronics are being used.
Another option is to have a professional electrician come and install a whole house protector. This type of surge protector is typically wired into your service panel or fuse box. While it is a more expensive option, it can save you thousands of dollars in by protecting your appliances, and it can also give you peace of mind, which is hard to put a price on.
If you have questions about what you can do to protect your home and your electronics and appliances, contact us at BPM today. Our team of electrician professionals is ready and waiting to help!