Woman plugging the wire to the outlet

Protecting Your Home From Electrical Surges

When you set up a desktop computer, you need a surge protector to plug multiple components into one power outlet. The most crucial function of surge protectors is to protect your electronic devices from a high-voltage power surge. Random power surges can cause permanent electrical damage. Allstate Electric can help you prepare for rough weather with a surge protection system. Read on to find out how surge suppressors protect your electronics and appliances.

What Is a Surge?

The standard voltage for household and office wiring in the United States is 120 volts. A power surge occurs when the amount of voltage flowing through electrical devices exceeds 120 volts. It releases an arc of current that goes through the appliances and generates heat.

Sudden Demands for Power

Various things can cause a power surge. Lightning is one of the most known causes, although it’s rare. Air conditioners and refrigerators are high-powered appliances. The inner workings of their motors and compressors require a lot of energy to switch off and on. This switching creates sudden, brief demands for power while upsetting the flow of voltage, causing instability. Other causes of power surges include faulty wiring and problems with the utility company’s equipment.

How Does an MOV Work?

A surge protector guards against damage from sudden spikes in power. It pulls the current from one outlet while passing it through other devices plugged into your surge protector. The metal oxide varistor (MOV) is a component within surge protectors that redirects the extra voltage. It has three parts:

  • MOV
  • Hot power line
  • Grounding line

Two semiconductors connect the power and grounding line with a piece of metal oxide material in the middle. A MOV connects the grounding line and the hot power line. The semiconductors control the amount of current that flows through a circuit. If voltage is low, then the electrons in the semiconductors react to create a very high resistance.

If the voltage is too high, then the electrons create a lower resistance. A MOV redirects excessive current to remove the extra voltage when the voltage is too high. It diverts the excess voltage and sends it to the grounding line. The voltage returns to normal in the hot power line, and the MOV’s resistance increases. The MOV changes the course of the surge current while allowing the standard current to continue powering the other devices plugged into the surge protector.

Households in Benton, Arkansas, located in Tornado Alley, are vulnerable to power surges. They can damage your appliances and electronics by melting the plastic or frying the circuits. If the increased voltage does not permanently damage your electronics, it can still put extra strain on the components. Eventually, your appliances wear down and stop working altogether. Contact our team at Allstate Electric today for help with surge protection!