Have you got the correct surge protection?
A common misconception about power surges is that they only come from lightning strikes. Whilst huge spikes come from lightning strikes there actually constant power fluctuations going on all the time. These fluctuations over time can wear down on your appliances and hardware and eventually result in them no longer functioning.
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Due to the massive misconception on surges and where they come from, many homes still do not have any form of surge protection. Home theatre systems, big screen TV's, gaming consoles and computers all cost 5 times as much as surge protection and it is that surge protection that will keep all of them working in the event of a surge.
Experts recommend having a two-tiered protection system with one surge protector in your meter box (switchboard/electrical box) which protects the general household wiring from surges from the mains. The second as individual protectors between each of your major appliances and electrical outlets. This ensures that if a surge reaches your appliance it will be too weak to do any damage.
Surge protection devices
There are many different types of surge protectors for different appliances. Whilst they all do the same thing they work in many different ways.
Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) : The most common type of surge protectors use this style to divert the surge to the ground. The downside is MOV degrades more and more each time and do not last long.
Gas Discharge Arrestor (GDA) : These work by gas becoming conductive during surges which then is diverted to the ground.
Silicon Avalanche Diode (SAD) : The SAD surge protectors divert the surge to ground similarly to MOV. Whilst not to the same level as a MOV it doesn't degrade with each use and lasts much longer.
More expensive style surge protectors will use a combination of all threes of the above systems as well as have fuses. When deciding on a surge protector your budget and cost of equipment you want to protect will need to be factored in. Any surge protection is better than no surge protection.
Lightning strike surge
As most people think that surges only come from lightning strikes did you know that there are actually 2 types of surges you can receive from a lightning strike
- Indirect strike : When lightning strikes an object the energy travels from the strike into the cables within a certain distrance from the point of impact. The surge comes from the energy travelling down the cables finding its way to earth.
- Direct strike : When lighting strikes a building or cable the goes into the building. The energy from the strike finds its way to earth through the building or through equipment within the building.
Although direct strikes are very rare, in the instance that this does happen it can be catostrophic to your home or business. The indirect strike is more devastating as it is more common and isn't as obvious as a direct strike to a building.