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Is Your HVAC System Protected From Power Surges?

July 20, 2014

Most people understand the importance of surge protection for their expensive electronics; in fact, many people would not dare to plug their electronics in without a good surge protector. Unfortunately, few see the need for surge protection for their heating and cooling systems. HVAC systems are expensive and have many sensitive electrical components. Repeated spikes in power voltage can cause expensive damage and the need for early replacement of equipment.

A minor investment in a surge protector makes smart financial sense, especially if you want to protect your home utilities. Even if the HVAC system survives each surge, every subsequent surge causes additional damage, which will shave years off the life of the system. A power surge takes place when a particular event causes the electrical current or voltage to spike for a short duration.

The most familiar source of power surges is probably lightning; however, it is, in fact, one of the least common causes. A more common cause is the operation of high–powered electrical appliances, such as refrigerators, elevators, dishwashers, and air conditioners. These appliances consume a lot of energy when switching on and off internal components such as motors and compressors. The switching creates abrupt, brief power demands that upset the steady flow of electrical voltage in the entire electrical system.

Other common causes of power surges include downed power lines, faulty wiring, and problems with the utility company’s equipment. In the modern electricity distribution systems, surges are an unavoidable occurrence; hence, it is important to invest in a high quality home power surge protection device.

A standard surge protector passes electric current along from the outlet to the appliances plugged into the power strip. When the voltage spikes or surges the device diverts the extra power into the grounding wire. Surge protectors can help, but low quality ones provide little or no protection. Whole house surge protectors, although relatively pricey, can help a lot.

Combining the point–of–use surge protector with the whole–house unit adds additional power dissipation capability. Damage is significantly reduced with quality surge protectors, both whole house and point–of–use, and good electrical installation.

Finally, it is important to call your local HVAC service technician for reliable HVAC maintenance and to check and make sure your home or business has reasonable protection against power surges.

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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