Power surges can occur at any time. No matter the cause, their destructive potential remains the same. In Canada, power surges cause millions of dollars in property damage.
In a home, electronic devices are the most vulnerable to power surges. Since this equipment is often expensive, it is important to protect it properly with a device designed specifically for this purpose.
The experts at Fillion will explain how a surge protector can extend your audio-visual equipment‘s service life and even improve its performance!
Where do voltage variations come from?
Voltage variations can come from external causes such as lightning and high winds that disrupt the electrical distribution network. It should also be noted that the alternating current (AC) distributed by power companies is not always perfectly equal.
That said, voltage spikes that can damage electronic systems usually occur when power returns after a power outage. This is why you should always unplug your electronic devices during thunderstorms and power outages.
Your home’s electrical system
In a house, voltage variations can occur when several electrical appliances are connected to the same circuit. Circuits that serve motor-driven appliances are the most susceptible to voltage variations.
How does a power surge damage electronic equipment?
Electricity in North America is distributed by utility companies in the form of 120 V, 60 Hz single phase alternating current (AC). Most electronic devices are therefore designed to work with this type of current. However, during voltage spikes, the current can exceed the 169 V ceiling.
If the voltage exceeds the equipment's design voltage, it can cause an internal arc. This generates heat that can damage the circuits and other components of an electronic device.
Small power surges can therefore gradually affect your television and compact home theater system and reduce their life expectancy. In large surges, the internal arc can even compromise some components’ integrity for good.
How do surge protectors work?
There are various devices that can protect your electronic equipment. Some go even further and maximize your equipment’s performance.
However, they should all be plugged into a grounded electrical circuit for maximum protection.
Traditional surge protectors
Sold in most large stores, standard surge protectors contain metal oxide varistors (MOT). During power surges, they will be stressed and transform the excess voltage into heat.
Power strips and intermediate sockets sold in supermarkets sometimes also contain gas spark gaps to supplement the integrated lightning and surge protection. The excess voltage is then evacuated in a controlled flash.
Power management devices
Sometimes called power conditioning devices, electric power management devices are much more advanced than surge protectors. They filter the electrical current to let only non-destructive current flow to the equipment connected to them. They also eliminate noise and distortion that can be caused by inadequate voltage.
It is also important to mention that unlike traditional surge protectors, high-end surge protectors are mostly non-sacrificial. This means that their components do not lose their effectiveness over the course of surges and can protect your electronic devices for many years.
Protect your investment!
In conclusion, if you want to provide your electronic devices with the best possible surge protection, don't just plug them into an inexpensive power strip. You might regret this decision deeply! Instead, equip yourself with a device capable of evacuating voltage spikes before they damage your equipment.
Contact the Fillion experts for professional advice when choosing your surge protector!