Surge Protection – Why is it important?

Do you know what causes surges to happen? 

Did you know that they are damaging your appliances? 

Brisbane storm season is upon us again and many homes are being affected. The damage they cause can be unpredictable and devastating. One very common problem are power surges. Have you had a power surge? Have your expensive appliances fried because of it? Did you know even if your appliances survived they probably still suffered some damage?

Did you know you can easily protect your appliances and homes from surges straight from your switchboard?

Power surges trigger your circuit breakers and shut off the electrics to your home.  Most households will experience power surges at some point, with multiple small ones happening daily. The most common surges happen during our Brisbane summer storms.

Safety switches are NOT surge protectors; they are very different.   Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity and cut power when there is “leakage” to earth protecting you from electric shock. Surge protectors avoid damage to your home and appliances when there are power “spikes”.

A power surge occurs when there is an unexpected interruption to the flow of electricity then started again, or when a device that is supposed to draw electricity from the grid puts it back into the system instead – like a brisbane storm, or the use of an overseas appliance in Australian outlets without the adequate protection. Power surges are not predictable with multiple causes including but not limited to storms, faulty devices, sudden changes in voltage on a circuit or supply faults from your electricity supplier. While we are unconsciously comfortable with using our electrics every day, there are some everyday risks that you need to consider.

Power surges are sudden and quick, they are a rapid increase in power and can cause damage to your electrical appliances.  Larger power surges can instantly do severe damage to a power circuit resulting in complete loss of appliances and melt plastic/ metal components.  Smaller more frequent surges will cause your device to degrade overtime.  In very rare cases surges can lead to house fires.

What are the most common causes of power surges?

  • Bad, faulty and old outdated wiring/ switch boards are the cause of most power surges. These can be extremely dangerous and lead to fires and electrical shocks. It’s important to have an electrician out to inspect and replace any damaged wires.
  • Small power surges happen in your home multiple times a day and usually originate from high powered devices when they are turned on and off – the most common being air-conditioners, fridges and heating devices. These small surges often go undetected but can cause damage to your appliances over a long time period.
  • Tripped and damaged circuit breakers can become a risk overtime if not properly maintained and replaced when required.
  • Fallen power lines, damaged mains and lighting strikes
  • Tree limbs that are touching power lines may cause surges. If there are trees on your nature strip that at risk for damaging lines, take a picture of them and send it to your local council so they can remove/ trim them.
  • Animals can get inside walls of your home, the roof and electrical equipment such as transformers and cause power surges.
  • The restoration of power after a blackout is another common cause as power comes back into all your appliances at once. It’s a good idea to turn off and unplug your devices in a backout then start plugging them back in once power is restored.

What are some warning signs my home is being affected?

You can’t do much about a large power surge like a lightning strike but some indications that you are having smaller surges around the home include:

  • Tripped safety switch or circuit breaker
  • Sudden resetting of power or loss of power to devices
  • Broken or failing electrical devices

What are the main culprits that cause power surges and need protecting?

  • Computers, servers and any data carriers
  • Televisions and large entertainment systems – like media rooms
  • Speakers, stereos and gaming consoles
  • Big kitchen appliances – fridges, dishwashers, ovens and stove tops
  • Washing machines and dryers
  • Light fittings
  • Wi-Fi, internet and phone modems
  • Vacuum Cleaners
  • Air-Conditioners

There are many options and measures you can take to help protect and minimise your risk of power surges

  • Installation of power surge and overvoltage protection devices that are installed in your home’s switchboard – protecting the entire home.
  • For your important, expensive and sensitive equipment like computers we can install a surge protection power point in the wall.
  • Phone line protection
  • Installation of top-quality safety switches
  • Avoid using cheap power plugs and equipment in your home, use quality equipment to protect your appliances.
  • Unplug devices not in use

What is the surge protection installation process?

  • Assess the need for surge protection in your home
  • Inspection of electrical devices
  • Inspection of your switchboard and wiring to make sure it’s updated and of adequate size to cope with the amount of electrical equipment you have in your home.
  • Check and service any existing devices such as safety switches
  • Discuss surge protection options and professionally install your surge protection upgrades

Does my surge protector need to be maintained?

YES!  It will wear out at some point.  The more it is used, the quicker it will need to be replaced.  The size of the power spikes also contributes to wear and tear.  This is why it’s important that you are also using quality equipment in your home. 

Need a great Brisbane electrician? Triforce Electrical can install your new surge protection system to ensure your safety and longevity of your appliances. We spend a lot of money on these appliances to make our life easier, so why not let us help you further.


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