Protecting your new 80” TV from an electrical surge

So you did it! You outfitted your man cave or living room with that new smart, large-screen television. Congratulations!

Now, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy…

Until your home experiences a power surge, potentially putting your new addition to your entertainment lineup on the sidelines.

What can you do to protect your investment?

What is a Power Surge?

A power surge may last for only a few millionths of a second, but at its worst, it carries tens of thousands of volts, enough to fry circuit boards, crash hard drives, and ruin DVD and home-entertainment systems. Lightning-induced surges are the most powerful and most feared: A 200,000-amp jolt crashing through a power line will burn standard 20-amp wiring like a lightbulb filament. But a lightning strike has to be less than a mile from the house to cause harm, and in fact most surge-related damage is not caused by lightning.

Far more common, if not as dramatic, are surges caused by downed power lines, sudden changes in electricity use by a nearby factory, or even the cycling on and off of laser printers, electric dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators, and other energy-sucking devices in the home. The damage inflicted by these minor power fluctuations can be instantaneous — or may not show up for some time.

Protecting Your Whole House

Guarding against surges requires a two-pronged approach: a whole-house suppressor to tame the big, dangerous power spikes and an individual circuit (or “plug-in”) surge suppressor for vulnerable appliances and electronic devices. Both types essentially act like pressure-relief valves. Normally they just sit there, allowing electric current to flow through them. But with higher-than-normal voltage, the devices instantly divert excess voltage to the ground wire. (The best ones react in less than a nanosecond.) As soon as voltage levels return to normal, the flow of electricity is restored, unless the surge was big enough to melt the fuse built into some units.

Typically, whole-house suppressors are hard-wired to the service panel, a process that requires a licensed electrician. Whole-house systems should be rated to stop a 40,000-amp surge, at minimum. Features to look for include thermal fuses, and lights or alarms that indicate when a device has taken a hit.

Protect Your New TV

To make sure your new investment is always ready when you need it, call the pros at Mister Sparky and ask us about whole house surge protection. Or book an appointment here