The summers in Southwest Florida bring almost-daily thunderstorms. These storms can be very brief but intense, including quite a bit of lightning. When living in an area with such frequent lightning strikes, it is important to consider the power surges that can accompany these storms and protecting electronic equipment.
Power surges can occur when lightning strikes near the lines that bring electricity to homes. But summer storms can also cause power surges with heavy rain or wind that down power lines. Pretty much any damage to the power infrastructure can cause a power surge in some way. When there is a power outage, the power grid redirects power in an attempt to compensate for the outage, which can cause sudden changes in the flow of electric current, including spikes and surges.
Power surges can also be internal, the result of a change in the power demands within a home. For example, turning on an appliance creates more demand for electricity and causes the current to flow differently throughout the house. Any change in flow can cause small surges and spikes, and the larger the power needs of the appliance, the greater the change will be. A dryer or air-conditioner will can often cause power surges when turning on or off. But even these smaller surges, if not mitigated with some kind of protection, can cause damage over a long period of time.
A power surge damages electronic equipment by sending more electric current into equipment than it is designed to handle. Most modern electronics that rely on microprocessors and related technology are highly sensitive to increased electric current. Smaller and smaller wires for smaller and smaller electronics have a narrower and narrower threshold of acceptable electric current, meaning that modern electronic equipment is much more sensitive to power surges than in the past. The overload of electricity can overheat sensitive wires within the equipment, and even if a single surge is not enough to burn out those wires, over time the damage can accumulate. Eventually, the equipment will begin to malfunction or stop working altogether.
Because power surges are commonly associated with storms, and these kinds of storms are so common in Southwest Florida, it’s important to consider ways to protect electronic equipment from the effects of even minor power surges. Generally, power surge protection acts by shunting any sudden excess electric current into a grounding wire and harmlessly away from sensitive equipment, maintaining the expected and appropriate power level for that equipment. This protection can be implemented individually at an outlet, or collectively for the entire house.
Residents of Southwest Florida should be aware of the danger of power surges, especially because of the region’s frequent summer storms. All Day Air Cooling & Heating recommends a whole-house surge protection to best protect all the appliances in the home at the electric panel. Call (239) 357-0727 to discuss your own surge protection needs with an expert.