Not so long ago, the need for surge protection could have been considered an insurance policy, and chances of needing it were very slim. But our weather patterns have shifted, and we have seen more and more violent weather in Barrie, Orillia and the Muskoka Lakes. This not only increases the chances of power surges from lightning strikes, but also surges that caused as hydro lines collide due to tree damage and high winds.
Why Electrical Surges Cause Damage
Surges of electricity generate heat; and large surges like lightning strikes, or transformer failures, can crisp the entire wiring system of a home; the wires, outlets, fixtures, light switches and everything that is plugged into the outlets.
Even without something catastrophic happening, small surges happen frequently within the boundaries of our home’s electrical system. While smaller surges do not really cause damage to the wires and receptacles, they do significantly impact electronic equipment in a negative way. As our larger pieces of equipment cycle on and off throughout the day, small surges are created and travel through our wiring. Because of the very fine nature of electronics, they are especially vulnerable to the heat damage caused by power surges.
The average home currently has about $10,000 of electronically controlled equipment. Our homes are densely populated with sophisticated entertainment equipment, computers, tablets and cell phones which is obvious to anyone who owns them that they are electronic devices. But, did you know that many of our refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers are now relying on sophisticated electronics to make them more energy efficient as well?
How to Protect from Surges
Properly protecting your electrical and electronic equipment requires a two stage process.
Stage-one is powerful protection installed at your electrical panel. Stage one stops the travelling surge as it enters the home instantly redirecting it to the home’s grounding system. It not only provides protection for your equipment, but also protects your wiring and electrical panel. The surge protector at your panel should be rated to stop at least 150,000 AMPS with a response time of < 5 nanoseconds.
Stage-two protection is provided throughout the home (at the outlets). Surge outlets or surge bars provides additional protection from smaller surges that are part of normal electrical cycling within your home. It has been reported that the lifespan of electronic equipment is longer for equipment that is surge-protected vs non surge-protected equipment. Outlet protection should have a rating of at least 100,000 Amps with a response time of <1 nanoseconds.
To answer the question about surge protection being a must-have item: Stage one protection, or panel surge protection is absolutely as an essential piece of equipment in a well-maintained modern home. Stage two protection should be seriously considered if you have made the investment in high end electronics for your home.