What is a Power Surge?

powersurge1Power surges occur when something boosts the electrical charge at some point in the power lines, which can increase the current flowing to your wall outlet. According to Larry Kaufmann, an energy expert at DTE Energy, power surges happen more frequently than people realize.

External power surges are caused by lightning strikes or huge demands of power; internal surges are typically caused by circuits that are simply overloaded.

Lightning is probably the most familiar source of power surges, but it actually is one of the least common causes. When lightning strikes near a power line, whether above or below ground, the electrical energy can boost electrical pressure by millions of volts.

Operating high-power electrical devices (elevators, air conditioners, refrigerators) is a much more common cause of power surges. These high-powered pieces of equipment require a lot of energy to switch on and turn off components like compressors and motors. This switching creates sudden, brief demands for power, which upset the steady voltage flow in the electrical system.

Other sources of power surges include faulty wiring, problems with the utility company’s equipment, and downed power lines. In today’s system of electricity distribution, power surges are an unavoidable occurrence.

Power surges can be severe enough to damage appliances, computers and other devices. The damage can be immediate or gradual. Internal surges result in a lower quality of power that leads to a loss in voltage, which can cause the flashing digital clocks, dimming lights, overheating equipment or electrical hardware damage.

If you are concerned about power surges in your home or business, ask Oak Electric Service about whole-house surge protection.

Oak Electric Service is one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical and renewable energy contractors. Give us a call at (800) 964-7070. We are standing by to answer all of your residential and commercial electrical questions. We will always personally answer your phone call – you will never reach an answering service! Be sure to ask about our “Free Electrical Safety Inspection” with every job. We invite you to visit our website at www.oakelectric.com to learn more about us.

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