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The Definitive Guide To Surge Protectors

Power surges can cause serious havoc on your home’s electrics – sometimes even causing irreparable damage to certain appliances. Don’t worry, though, there is a simple and essential solution to such a problem – surge protectors. In today’s blog, our electrician in Williams Landing is going to be covering all the bases regarding surge protectors so you know exactly how they work and how they can help you.

What are they?

Surge protectors do exactly what the name implies – they protect our electrical appliances from power surges as well as voltages that go above the 240V Australian Standard. Power surges usually only last nanoseconds – which you might think isn’t enough time to do any damage, but the reality is that it’s quite the opposite. Surge protectors come in various shapes and sizes but usually look just like power boards as they tend to double as them too.

A bit about power surges

Power surges occur when the flow of electricity is momentarily disrupted. There are several reasons why this may occur:

  • Old or inefficient wiring (which our Williams Landing-based electrician can replace for you when identified);
  • High-powered appliances such as refrigerators when they’re turned on;
  • Tree limbs making contact with power lines;
  • Restored power after a blackout (the simultaneous return of power to all your appliances can be too much sometimes and may lead to a surge); and
  • Damaged circuit breakers.

Another reason a power surge may occur is if you use an appliance with a different voltage. For example, the national voltage standard in the USA is 110V – meaning that any appliance you may have from America will need to be converted before it can be plugged in. Otherwise, you run the risk of severely damaging your appliance.

How do they protect appliances?

Essentially, they redirect the extra power. This is done via the surge protector’s grounding wire. The result is unaffected appliances that can enjoy an uninterrupted stream of 240V. Technically speaking, electricity flows through the metal oxide varistor (or MOV for short) in a surge protector. It features a piece of metal oxide and two semiconductors that connect the metal oxide to the power and grounding lines.

The electrons within the semiconductors behave differently depending on the amount of electricity that’s flowing through – if the voltage is below the predetermined level (in our case 240V) then the semiconductors maintain a high resistance. If the voltage exceeds 240V, however, then a low resistance is created. When the voltage is spot on 240V then the MOV does nothing as there is nothing that needs to be done.

Do I need a surge protector?

There’s no harm in investing in a handful of surge protectors for the large appliances around your home such as your refrigerator, computer, home theatre setup etc. The best thing is that they double as power boards so you can just put in a bit extra when purchasing a power board and opt for the surge protector option. The effects of a power surge can range from gradually degrading the appliance each time a surge occurs to (in some extreme cases) electrical fires being caused. It is not uncommon for power surges to fry circuitry in certain hardware as well – killing the device.

Effectiveness against lightning

If you’re looking to purchase a surge protector because you think it’ll protect your devices against lightning strikes – you may be disappointed. Whilst surge protectors are fantastic at redirecting spontaneous electrical surges – the sheer amount of power that a lightning strike delivers is too much for a surge protector. If you’re aware that a lightning storm may occur in your area and you’re worried about your electrics – then we recommend you unplug all your appliances or shut them off from the circuit board.

Are you in need of an electrician in Williams Landing?

Urban West Electrical is a premium electrician’s company that is equipped with all the qualifications and experience to deliver high-end and reliable service in Williams Landing as well as Melbourne’s Western and North/Western suburbs. Whether you need a full house rewiringair conditioning installed or even something as simple as a TV set up – our trained experts are up to the task.

If you’d like to know more about what our Williams Landing-based electricians can do for you, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by filling out the contact sheet on our website or by calling 0417 113 129.