Thunder and lightning aren’t so frightening- but they can be other things, like “annoying.” If you’ve ever experienced a power surge, you know what I’m talking about.
Power surges happen when the electrical charge of power lines increases. With the greater electric potential, more electricity is free to flow from the outlet in the wall to your technology. When this happens, the excessive voltage causes the technology to create heat. This heat can immediately damage the system, but it can also affect the system gradually. For example, if a computer appears to function perfectly after a power surge, the system may be fine enough to operate, but internal damage has probably occurred.
You might be thinking that the chance of a power surge is very slim. After all, lightning can’t strike so often it affects us, can it? Truthfully, lightning probably won’t be the cause of your power surge. However, there are several other causes of power surges, and these are far more common than your typical lightning-induced surge.
For one thing, technology that uses a lot of electricity, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, clothes driers, etc., utilize a lot of power but at different times. The irregularity of these devices’ electrical use creates an unstable electric flow. In fact, about 70% of power surges originate from within one’s household. The remaining 30% of power surges are caused by wiring issues and downed power lines. As a society that uses electricity 24/7, the chance of a power surge happening is far more common than before.
So, now that you know that power surges post an imminent threat to your technology, what are some things you can do to protect it?
1. Unplug. This is probably the most obvious solution. If your technology is not connected to the power lines, than any damage in the power lines cannot reach your technology. It’s that simple. However, unplugging everything may seem a little excessive. We definitely recommend that for rechargeable devices (such as laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc.) you charge ahead of time before any sort of lightning storm.
2. Surge protectors. Available at your local electronic store for around $20-$50, surge protectors have built-in protection against power surges. The amount of protection each surge protector provides varies depending on the brand and the actual item. One of the best aspects of surge protectors is that they are easy to use, and they often have several outlets, so you can have multiple devices protected from the surge.
3. Surge arrester. A surge arrester is a device that is installed at the main electrical panel of your house. It protects all the circuits in your house from any sort of power surge. Like protectors, these arresters have limits. Investing in one is definitely a good idea, even though these products are slightly pricier ($200-$400 range). These products are more likely to be sold in a home improvement store than an electrical appliance store.
We cannot stress the importance of protecting your technology from power surges. Managing risk is part of our job description, and protecting your technology certainly falls under that category.
If you have any other questions about insurance or risk management, feel free to contact us at anytime. Learn about personal insurance here.