How Can You Prevent a Power Surge?

January 18, 2022
Power Surge Protection in Seattle, WA

You’ve probably never given much thought to how a power surge can affect your home and electronics, but it’s important to take steps to prevent one. Power surges happen when electricity gets out of control and starts running through the wiring in your house. A power surge can cause all sorts of damage to appliances and electronics that are plugged into an outlet or extension cord. You should always be aware of these lurking dangers as you plug in any device. This is particularly true for those that use sensitive circuitry, like computers, TVs, stereos, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Here are some tips on how to protect your home from power surges.

Buy a Surge Protector

A surge protector is a must-have for any home with electronic devices. A surge protector plugs into an outlet and has a series of plug-ins for your electronics. It will protect your devices from power surges and spikes, keeping them safe from damage.

A surge protector is a small investment that can save you a lot of money in the long run. If your TV or computer is damaged due to a power surge, you may have to replace them altogether. A surge protector can help prevent this from happening, and they cost much less than a replacement for your damaged device.

When shopping for surge protectors, it is essential to find one with a three-pronged plug that includes a ground wire. This will help protect against power surges and keep your appliances safe. Also, avoid using two-pronged adapters for three-pronged plugs if the outlets in your home do not have receptacles for three prongs. This is common in older homes, but you won’t be able to properly protect your electronics with two-pronged outlets even if you use a surge protector. In this situation, it’s wise to reach out to qualified electricians for outlet replacement.

Keep Electronics Away From Appliances

If you have an appliance with a motor, like a refrigerator or air conditioner, keep any electronics plugged into the same outlet as far away from it as possible. Electronic devices can create a power surge that will damage the appliance.

You should avoid running appliances such as hairdryers and microwaves at the same time you’re using your computer, TV, or stereo. These items draw a lot of electricity and increase the risk of a power surge. Additionally, do not plug your TV into an outlet that is controlled by a wall switch.

Be Mindful of Your Circuits

If you have a lot of electronic devices in your home, you may want to consider getting a surge protector with more plugs. This will help distribute the electricity evenly and prevent any one device from taking on too much power and causing a surge.

Circuits can become overloaded if too many appliances are plugged into them at once. If any of these devices are turned off or unplugged, the surge protector will detect that there is no longer a power demand and distribute it equally among the remaining items.

Keep an Eye on Your Appliances

If your appliances start to act strange, like they’re not turning on or they’re making a weird noise, it could be a sign that you have a power surge. Shut off all electronics in your home, and unplug them until you get them checked out by a professional.

Sometimes, an appliance will start to overheat if there is a power surge. Turning off the device and unplugging it immediately will help prevent any damage.

Understand Your Home’s Power Outlets

Understanding the difference between a standard (dual-voltage) outlet and a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is essential. A GFCI outlet is designed to protect you from electrical shocks caused by moisture while a standard outlet isn’t. GFCI outlets should be used in any area that may be exposed to water. This includes bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor spaces.

If you feel that your outlets aren’t safe, you can test them with a simple circuit tester. This small device plugs into the outlet and will light up if there’s currently power running through it. If you’re not comfortable doing any electrical work yourself, you can hire an electrician to come and check the outlets for you. If you are around Seattle and the surrounding Puget Sound area and you need any electrical maintenance services, reach out to Brennan Electric.

Use Extension Cords Properly

Extension cords are convenient for powering appliances that would otherwise require an outlet far away. However, they should only be used sparingly and with caution. If you need to use an extension cord to get power to an appliance, do so, but unplug it when the device isn’t in use. This is especially important with holiday decorations like lights, which should also use an extension cord designed specifically for outdoor use.

Check Your Power Cords for Damage

Power cords can wear down over time and become damaged. If you notice that your cords are hot, there is a bad smell coming from them, or they have burned spots, it’s best to replace them immediately.

Don’t Overload an Outlet

If you have too many things plugged into an outlet, it can cause a power surge. Try only to use one or two high-load appliances at a time, and make sure there’s plenty of space between them and the wall. At the very least, make sure there’s enough room between your appliances and walls to fit your hand. If you have multiple high-load devices plugged in at once, a power surge could cause a fire.

It’s also important to pay attention to the power cords of your appliances and electronics. Try to keep them as close to the outlet as possible, and never cover them with rugs or furniture because that could be a fire hazard.

Replace Outdated Appliances With Newer Models

Not all appliances are created equal. Old or outdated appliances could be sucking up more electricity than newer models even if they’re turned off. This can cause damage to the appliance and lead to power surges in your home.

Replace older appliances to reduce overall energy consumption. If you’re not sure how old your appliances are, you can find the manufacturing date on a sticker on the back or bottom of the unit.

Use a Smart Power Strip

A smart strip surge protector is a great way to conserve energy when using electronics. It’s a power strip that has an automatic shut-off feature. If you have a lot of electronics that you don’t use all the time, like a printer or a gaming console, plug them into a smart strip. This will help save energy when they’re not in use. Some smart strips even have timers, so you can set them to turn off at certain times of the day.

Get Help From an Experienced Company

Power surges can be a significant fire hazard in your home. Knowing how to prevent them and react if one does occur can help keep you and your family safe. If you live around Seattle and need surge protection services or any other electrical services, reach out to Brennan Electric. In addition to surge protection, we offer services for electrical panels, lighting, generators, and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, including repairs and installations. Reach out to our team for more information or to set up an appointment.

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