What is a Surge? What is Whole Home Surge Protection?

by | May 29, 2015 | Blog | 0 comments

Every home is equipped with expensive electronic devices and appliances, from iPhones, to Plasma TVs, to computers and refrigerators. All of these appliances or electronics listed require the use of your home’s circuit board.

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Does You Really Need Home Surge Protection?

We’ve all scoffed at the idea one time or another, but the answer to this question is a definite “yes!” And by surge protection we don’t mean a power strip that doubles as an extension cord. A surge protector is so much more than a piece of equipment that allows you to charge your laptop, phone charger and tablet all at the same time. In fact, a surge protector is what protects these devices.

Protect from what, exactly?

From power surges! A power surge occurs when an electrical charge is boosted somewhere in the power lines. This then increases the electrical potential energy, which, in turn increases the current flowing to your outlets. It’s always moving from one end of a wire to the other.

We can measure electrical potential energy in terms of voltage. When the voltage goes beyond the norm for at least 3 nanoseconds, it is called a surge. A surge that is really high has the potential to damage or even destroy your most prized electronics.

Boiled down, a surge is simply a spike in the voltage.

As a homeowner, it’s important to know that surges are not just a one-time occurrence; they happen quite often, actually. In fact, your home receives hundreds of power surges a day.

Common Types of Surges:

Internal: These are surges that happen within your home. Internal surges occur when a motored device shuts on or off, redirecting electricity to and from other appliances.
When it comes to internal surges, the biggest offenders are refrigerators and air conditioners, though smaller appliances like a hair dryer or vacuum can be a problem too.

External: Occurring outside your home, external surges are most often caused by a fallen power line or a lighting strike. It is important to note that even after power returns to your home, surges can travel through phone lines or cable TV lines.

How, then, can I protect my devices?

With whole home surge protection, of course! Whole home surge protection is directly installed on the main and subpanels of your home or business. This provides security against power surges for the whole electrical system, including your lights, HVAC system, telephone wires, and cables.

We all have expensive electronic devices that we’d like to see last a long time. We may have already thrown out a TV or stereo because of a power surge and not even realized it. A good whole home surge protector will last you 20 years or more.

You could purchase a bunch of surge protector strips (make sure they are rated UL), but these will only protect the devices they are connected to. You probably don’t have surge protectors for your washer, dryer, heating and air conditioning system, refrigerator, and other expensive electronics and appliances.

In the meantime, for a good guide on purchasing surge protection strips, see this LifeHacker surge protection guide.

If there is an electrical disturbance in an one area of the home, it could cause disruption in a different area. Remember, our electrical system is interactive.

Watch this video for more information on whole home surge protection:

While home surge protection may seem like a costly endeavor, it’s far more expensive to replace costly electronics and appliances. When it comes to all things surge protection related, give Boulden Brothers a call. Our trusted professionals can help determine the best home surge protection solution based on your budget and needs.


Boulden Brothers is available to answer any electrical and home surge protection questions you may have. Your safety is important to us. Feel free to give us a call; we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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