Surge Protector vs Surge Protection Plan
1026 views | June 30, 2021

Surge Protector vs Surge Protection Plan

This article will provide information on how power surges happen, types of surge protectors, and surge protection plans.

Is it possible to make it through a day without using a single electrical appliance or electronic device? Today, we rely on electrical devices more than ever, not only for work but also day-to-day living. That is why it's important to ensure all your home appliances and electronics are well protected against power surge damages.

An electrical surge protector shifts any excess electricity from a surge to the ground wire or diverts the surge and lessens its impact. This process prevents appliances and electronics from getting damaged. In addition, a surge protection plan reimburses the homeowner for damages resulting from the surge, depending on the benefit amount.

Both are good options, and there is no harm in investing in both because complete home surge protection provides peace of mind, no matter how often power surges occur. Without either protection, power surges can damage expensive electrical appliances and devices.

No one wants to be in a situation where they have to replace expensive appliances. This article will provide information on how power surges happen, types of surge protectors, and surge protection plans.

How Do Power Surges Cause Damage?

A power surge, also known as a transient voltage or voltage surge, is a rapid spike in voltage. The magnitude of a spike can differ quite drastically from a small-scale spike of a few volts to a large-scale jump of thousands of volts.

This unpredictable difference in fluctuation is the one thing that makes most power surges undetectable. So, how exactly do power surges inflict damage on appliances and electronics?

Most power outlets operate on a 120-volt system. But, this does not mean that 120-volts of electricity is continually running through the house. Instead, there is an alternating current that increases and decreases in a fixed rhythm.1

The majority of appliances and electronics can't handle more volts than their manufactured allowance. So when a power surge occurs, it causes a flow of electricity that rises above their voltage specifications, causing an arc of electrical current.

This arc generates heat that damages circuit boards and electronic components. It's more than likely not to notice the damage to devices after a small-scale power surge. But, even the slightest fluctuation impacts appliances and electrics and reduces their lifespan until one day they stop working.

Causes of Power Surges

Internal Sources within the House

80% of power surges happen due to internal sources within the house, making them the most common reason for power surges.2 When electronic devices consisting of compressors and motors turn on or off, they divert the flow of energy going to and from other electronics.3

This circuit overload occurs more often with space heaters, hairdryers, HVAC units, air conditioning window units, power tools, and large appliances. When small power surges occur too often, it can lead to electronic rust and gradual degradation of the device.

Outdated Electrical Systems

Outdated wiring is another internal source of power surges. Outdated electrical systems can lead to faulty wiring, specifically in older homes. For example, homes built between 1965 and 1973 may have cheaper aluminum wiring, whereas modern homes have standard copper wiring. Older aluminum connections have inherent weaknesses and cause power surges. 4

Lightning Strikes

Lightning strikes are an external source that can cause strong power surges that can instantly destroy any electrical devices plugged in during the surge. The electricity from lightning strikes can enter the house via Cable TV, satellite dish, electrical service lines, or telephone line.

Fallen Tree Limbs and Maintenance Work

Lightning strikes are an external source that can cause strong power surges that can instantly destroy any electrical devices plugged in during the surge. The electricity from lightning strikes can enter the house via Cable TV, satellite dish, electrical service lines, or telephone line.

Is There Power Surge Protection?

The best protection is to invest in a high-quality surge protector or a whole-home surge protector.

Surge Protectors

It should be evident by now that power surges are inevitable and unpredictable. But, damage to appliances and electronics is still avoidable. Therefore, surge protection devices are a vital investment for saving electrical appliances and electronic devices from surge damage.

Types of surge protectors:

1. Whole-house surge protectors or point-of-entry surge protectors:These devices are installed alongside the main electrical panel and protects electronics by diverting external electrical fluctuations towards the ground. It's best to combine them with other surge protection devices.

2. Surge protector or surge suppressor power strips: Most people know how surge protector power strips operate. A power strip includes multiple electrical sockets attached to a cable, plugged into a wall outlet, providing power to numerous electrical devices from that single power strip. However, not all power strips have built-in surge protection, so it's important to ensure that the power strip has a surge protection feature.

3. Backup battery surge protectors: These devices are handy during a power outage as they provide instant backup power to devices connected during that period. These will allow wall outlet power to charge the battery instead of directly charging devices at the outlet, preventing power surges.

4. Outlet adapter surge protectors: These surge protectors are similar to power strips but plug directly into a standard wall outlet and are cordless. They not only save space but also protect plugged-in devices.

Surge Protection Plan

Surge protection plans are definitely worth the money, especially if the homeowner's insurance plan doesn't cover power surge damage. If a power surge caused by a lightning strike or electric company maintenance work occurs, most homeowner's insurance plans cover the damage.

Some insurance plans provide a full payout, while others reimburse depending on the appliance. In addition, a surge protection plan protects homeowners from incurring any unexpected cost due to power surges.

FirstEnergy Home's surge protection plan will also cover repairs or the replacement cost for vulnerable devices such as TVs, laptops, and tablets. As mentioned, having both a surge protection plan and a surge protector is beneficial.

The Bottom Line

There is no reason not to invest in a surge protector. On the other hand, a surge protection plan will provide you financial stability after a power surge. If you reside in an area with constant thunderstorms, investing in a surge protection plan is a wise choice.

FAQs:

I've never had issues with surges. Do I still need surge protection?

There are barely any areas that don't encounter problems with power surges. Today's electronics are more sensitive than electronics from just a few years ago, and it's impossible for them not to be damaged if there is no surge protection at home.

How much does a whole home surge protector cost?

There are many surge protectors available on the market; you should find one that fits your budget. However, it's essential to research each product before investing in getting complete protection for your appliances and devices.

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1HyperPhysics. Household Wiring. Retrieved from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/hsehld.html#:~:text=The%20high%20voltage%20(about%20120,the%20wider%20prong%2C%20the%20neutral
2NEMA. The Need for Surge Protection Devices. Retrieved from https://www.nemasurge.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Surges-What-Where-Why.pdf
3Marionks. 5 Causes of Power Surges and How to Protect Your Property. Retrieved from http://marionks.net/docs/Surge_Protection/SurgeCauses.pdf
4 International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Inspecting Aluminum Wiring. Retrieved from https://www.nachi.org/aluminum-wiring.htm

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