You May Need Surge Protection for Your Whole Home

If you value your expensive electronic equipment or costly kitchen appliances, HVAC and plumbing company Southern Trust Home Services suggests checking for potential gaps in your home’s electrical system safety and taking action to protect valuable property.

“Whether you’re experiencing a hot, Virginia summer lightning shower or a power outage from a cold Roanoke Valley ice storm, power surges can be destructive to your home’s electronics,” said Ted Puzio, owner of Southern Trust Home Services. “There are things every homeowner should do to ensure they are protecting their expensive appliances, as well as their whole electrical system. Following these tips can make weathering the storm season easier.”

Puzio recommends that homeowners follow these four steps to keep their property safe from electrical storms and surges.

Unplug items not in use. This won’t apply for every item in your home, but for those items not in regular use, an unplugged item is safe from starting a fire or falling victim to a power surge. An alternative is to plug items into a power strip with an on/off switch.

Don’t overload any one circuit. In a properly installed electrical system, an overloaded circuit should shut off automatically by tripping the breakers or fuses, but an internal surge can still damage electrical devices. One solution to an overloaded circuit is to shift devices to other circuits, although Puzio cautions that an extension cord is not a long-term solution to this problem and should only be used on a temporary basis.

Implement wall socket plug-in surge protectors and GFCI outlets. Not only will the plug-in surge protectors help you turn off unused devises more easily, they are also a first step in protecting power surges to your electronic equipment.

A ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to trip quickly enough to prevent an electrical incident. These types of outlets are often recommended and, in some locations, required for kitchens and bathrooms as a fail-safe against power surges in outlets that come in frequent contact with water, but they’re a good option to use throughout the home.

Consider installing a whole-home surge protector. Most homes these days house several computers, televisions, high-end stoves and refrigerators and even life-sustaining medical equipment.

A whole-home surge protector can ensure you don’t lose data, burn out costly electronics or interrupt the functions of critical medical equipment. Installed at the main electrical panel, these whole-home protectors fortify your appliances against external surges and also protect your entire electrical system from internal issues.

Puzio said homeowners should consult a licensed electrician before installing a whole-home surge protector to the panel box.

“A professional electrician can examine your electronic set up and recommend the best surge protection for your needs,” he said. “If you are seeing warning signs of electrical issues – like lights flickering or regular power surges – you should call in someone to check. If you are not seeing issues, it can be best to head off any future troubles with an electrical inspection, rewiring and surge protection service.”

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