While you may not be able to prevent a power surge from happening, you can take some steps to prevent short- and long-term damage in your home and electronics. Here are some basic home safety tips to keep your electronics and appliances safe from damage caused by power outages and surges:
Unplug During a Storm
Electronics are not only very expensive, but they also hold a lot of personal and important information. The best practice in keeping your most sensitive devices safe during storms is to simply unplug them. Regardless of how advanced your technology is, the voltage from lightning is always more- than what your devices can handle. So, if you know a storm is coming, you can guarantee the safety of your important electronics by disconnecting them from the line of power.
Use a Surge Protector
You might be thinking, are surge protectors necessary if you can simply unplug your important electronics? The answer is always “yes” because you may not be home to unplug everything before a storm arrives. When a power surge occurs, a surge protector will redirect any extra voltage of electricity into metal oxide varistors (MOVs)—in other words, the MOVs will suppress the jolt of voltage and prevent damage to the devices protected by your surge protector.
To make sure you are correctly using your power strip-style surge protector, follow these tips:
Only plug in one surge protector per double wall outlet.
Don’t overload your surge protector by plugging in too many high-voltage electronics.
Keep your surge protector in a safe location away from water or anything that prevents air flow.
Check that your surge protector is not overheating or damaged.
Even if you are using a power strip-style surge protector correctly, there are still many electronics in your home to account for. And although small surges don’t always immediately ruin your electronics, the minor damage can lead to issues later. So, an even safer option for all the other electronics and appliances in your home (you know, the ones that take up every room but still don’t pay rent) is to install a whole-house surge protector.
Similar to a power strip-style surge protector, a whole house surge protector is designed to redirect the excess electricity—this time, into the ground before it even enters your home. The larger benefit is that they are built to handle multiple surges over a longer period of time and will protect devices and appliances throughout your home.
A power strip-style surge protector will not be able to withstand the high voltage of a direct lightning strike, but a whole-house surge protector can help minimize damage. As long as your home has proper grounding and wiring, a whole-house surge protector can help redirect the excess electricity.