Protect Your Electrical Appliances From strength Surges!

According to a recent WFAA TV news report (see link below), a strength surge caused by the malfunction of an Oncor strength line transformer in Dallas, Texas, led to thousands of dollars in damage to electrical appliances of local residents. While Oncor accepted blame for the incident, they did NOT accept liability, citing the Tariff for Electric Service approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. at the minimum one residents insurance claim was denied, leaving the homeowners to foot the bill for the costly substitute of all the electronic appliances…

So what are strength (voltage) surges? strength surges are a kind of electrical strength disturbance, characterized by spikes in voltage. These voltage spikes are usually very fleeting (they last only a small fraction of a second), and can vary in intensity from a few hundred volts to a few thousand volts. ALL homes experience strength surges of some sort — usually (thankfully) not of a strong enough extent to cause damage. However, incidents such as the one reported in Dallas DO happen, so its a good idea to take measures to protect against them.

So, how can damage from strength surges be avoided? As it turns out, rather simply. Think: Surge Suppressor (also known as Surge Protector). This is a small device designed to protect electrical appliances from voltage spikes. It does this by regulating the voltage supplied to the appliance by either blocking or shorting to ground voltages above a safe threshold. Surge suppressors come in all shapes and sizes (and, of course, price ranges…), so make sure to shop around to get just the right ones for your needs (and pocketbook).

In many situations, a simple, single-outlet surge protector will suffice for individual small appliances, and will also be the most economic option. Alternatively, if you want to connect multiple small appliances, you can buy a multi-plug strength bar with built-in surge suppressor. If you go for the strength bar, make sure that its not just a plain strength bar and that it really does include a surge protector, as they do not by default, unless specifically indicated! Its not enough that it has a switch that allows you to turn the strength bar on and off: it should be clearly labeled on the bar that it includes a surge suppressor or surge protector.

For larger, more important (and costly) appliances (e.g. desktop computer), the additional expense of an Uninterruptible strength Supply (UPS) might be warranted. This is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency strength to a load when the input strength source — typically the utility mains — fails. What differentiates an Uninterruptible strength Source from other auxiliary strength systems is that it provides instantaneous protection from input strength interruptions by method of batteries (hence the popularity of such devices for desktop computers — not only does it protect the computer from strength surges, it also prevents what youre working on from being lost if the strength goes out).

Yes, you may have to fork out a little additional cash for these surge suppressors, in addition to the hard-earned money youve already spent on all your appliances, but knowing that incidents such as that reported in the story mentioned above really can and do occur, just think of it as a worthwhile investment in the future of those appliances…

WFAA TV news report: strength surge caused by malfunction of Oncor strength line transformer in Dallas.

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