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How to Protect Your Home From Power Surges

How to Protect Your Home From Power Surges

When you think of electrical surges hitting your home, you probably think of lightning strikes. Florida is ranked at having more lightning strikes, almost 1.5 million, per year than any other state in the U.S. Not only is this a hazard to anyone on the golf course or the beach, it is also a hazard to your home. Lightning can cause immediate damage to your home through large power bursts. But, there are smaller surges coursing through your home daily that can create a lot of damage over time.

Power surges are caused when electric flow stops, then starts back up again. Over half of power surges in your home are caused internally, meaning from occurrences in the home. These can range from the large appliances continually starting and stopping to the use of small appliances such as a hair dryer every morning. Over time, these types of interruptions in electric flow can damage your appliances. Larger surges tend to be from external sources such as a lightning strike or a tree branch hanging on a power line. These surges can cause more immediate damage to your appliances and electronic equipment. Although lightning is a major culprit in ruining home appliances, the smaller surges can create a destructive effect over time. You probably won’t even notice the small damaging surges that can occur hundreds of times throughout the day.

As a home owner, you can choose different types of surge protection to guard against these damaging electronic waves.

A whole house suppressor is the first line of defense for your home. It is installed at the electrical panel and will guard against large surges coming into your home. You can buy whole house surge suppressors from the hardware store. But, having a licensed electrician install it properly and safely is recommended. Large appliances such as your refrigerator, air conditioner, washer and dryer would be protected by this type of suppressor. Even though these are hard wired into your home, about 15% of surges will get through, so the plug-in type is also required to protect your smaller appliances.

The plug-in type of surge suppressor looks very similar to a long power strip. Be careful not to confuse the two. A power strip doesn’t have the capability of stopping surges. The plug-in suppressors are pretty inexpensive, so there isn’t an excuse not to have one attached to your electronics. The more sensitive, electronics such as your computer, monitors, routers and home theater equipment will need them to guard against that extra 15% that can get through the whole house suppressor. Keep in mind that whole house suppressors don’t cover cable, phone lines, or any internal surges in the home, so the plug-in types are an important component in overall protection of your belongings.

Both types can get hit repeatedly and wear down over time, so be sure to check indicator lights to know when you need to replace them. Taking extra precautions against surges can save you thousands of dollars in new equipment and repairs down the road.

Visit us at Shell Lumber to discuss protecting your home against power surges. Call 305-856-6401 or visit us at


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