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What Causes Power Surges in my Home?

By Carrie Dixon, Blog Editor

Lightning causing power surge in a homeThe reason power surges occur is because your home is experiencing a sudden jolt of high voltage electricity. Some surges are minor while others can be more severe. During a power surge, even electronics that are powered off might buzz or flicker, which can be a little unnerving. In addition, surges can fry your electronics and appliances, damage your outlets, and even cause electrical fires. By being aware of the causes of power surges, you can be proactive in preventing them. We’ll go over the most common causes below.

Overloaded Circuits or Outlets

Many of us have multiple outlets in each room in our home, but we may also have numerous electronics plugged in at once. When there are too many electronics or appliances in one socket, this can lead to a power surge or even a fire. If you think this might be a problem at your own home or business, you should hire an electrician to look at the outlets. This person can determine if all the outlets are connected to the same circuit. If this is the case, one outlet may not be the problem. It may be that the circuit is attempting to power far too many devices in the same or adjacent rooms.

Exposed or Damaged Wiring

It’s not unheard of for pests like mice and squirrels to get into your walls and start chewing on the wires they find there. This can cause the wiring of your entire home to fail. Exposed or damaged wiring causes power surges because when electricity flows through the wires, it isn’t handled in the way that it should be. Sometimes with damaged wires, you will smell smoke because the wires are burning or melting due to the flow of voltage. Never try to handle exposed wires on your own as you could be electrocuted. Instead, hire an experienced electrician to handle the situation.

Lightning and Thunder

When it’s storming outside, there is often lightning. The lightning may, in some cases, touch your power line or somewhere nearby and cause a huge spike of voltage. This is one of the reasons that using a surge protector for electronics like your computer or DVD player is suggested. However, if the storm is very strong, it’s best to unplug any expensive electronic equipment. This type of surge can destroy your devices, meaning you will need to replace them.

High-Power Devices

Appliances and machines like air conditioners, elevators, and refrigerators use a lot of power. They can also cause power surges or energy spike. This is because they draw large amounts of power through the circuit, which can overpower other electronics. If this happens, you will likely notice the lights blinking on and off or flickering in your home.

Power Outages

The final most common cause for a power surge is a power outage. You might have noticed than when there is a power outage, the lights that come on afterward are extremely bright. It may seem unintuitive that a power outage can cause a surge, but it is true. There is a large amount of electricity needed to turn back on the power at your home and all the nearby homes and businesses. All of this energy going through the lines so quickly can lead to a power surge itself.

To keep yourself safe from power surges, one of your options is to have a home surge protector installed. Surge protectors on all your outlets can also be a great way to protect your home. If you are experienced regular power surges, it may also be time to bring in a local electrician to make sure everything is operating properly.