If your electrical appliances have never malfunctioned due to fluctuations of electrical current, you should consider embracing measures that will protect the appliances from the dangers of fluctuations in the future. Power surges and spikes are the most common type of electric current fluctuation. They are usually caused by downed power lines, blown transformers, and electric power grid switching. However, over 50% of power spikes at home are caused by appliances that have large motors such as compressors, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Whatever the cause, you need a plan that protects the appliances, and one good plan is installing surge protectors in your home's electric grid.
Understanding The Fluctuations Of Electric Current
The work of a surge protector is to offer protection against power surges. But what is a surge? A surge is an increase in voltage -- force that pushes the current -- above the normal levels. The difference between a surge and a spike depends on how long the increase in voltage will last. If the increment lasts for more than three nanoseconds, it is called a surge. But if it lasts for two nanoseconds (billionths of a second), it is called a spike. Even if a surge does not incur immediate damages to your machine, it will exert a strain on its components and wear them down with time.
Where To Connect Your Surge Protectors
There are two places you can connect your surge protector. One is at the circuit breaker and the other one is at an electrical outlet. And hence, the two points (circuit breaker and outlet) classify surge protectors into two categories: whole house surge protectors and point-of-use surge protectors. The latter is the type of protector connected to an electrical outlet for while the former is connected to a circuit breaker.
A whole house surge protector reduces the excess voltage before it enters your home while a point-of-use protector regulates voltage before it gets into the appliance. But if you want a protector that also saves energy, go for point-of-use surge protectors. These protectors have the ability of limiting vampire power, which is the electricity drawn by appliances when they are switched off.
How Surge Protectors Protect Your Appliances From These Fluctuations
Surge protectors have different working mechanisms, but basically, they work under the same principle: diverting extra current -- surges or spikes --into the grounding wire of the protector. The most common types of surge protectors use a device called a metal oxide varisitor (MOV). The device has a metal oxide in the middle that is connected to the grounding wire by two semiconductors. The semiconductors offer some form of resistance that is dependent on voltage. If the voltage is normal, the MOV does not react, but if the voltage is too high, the MOV absorbs and conducts much of the current so as to get rid of the extra voltage. And as soon as the current is directed into the ground via the grounding wire, the voltage gets back to normal and your appliances are kept safe. For more information, contact an electrician.