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Surge Suppression Devices 101

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Energy Quality for the home

Surge suppression devices can be quite confusing for most. Today we will attempt to shed some light on the subject.  

Question #1 would most likely be, "Why do I need a surge suppression device on my home anyway?" Right?  Electrical surges or transients are produced by switching on or off of many loads (Anything that uses electricity) in your home.  I could be the refrigerator cycling on and off, a light switch, turning on or off of a computer, washing machine, dryer, etc, etc.  The list could literally go on and on.  In decades past this was really no big deal due to the robustness of the analog controls which they were controlled by.  However today is quite different, your steam iron, your curling iron, even your popcorn popper has a printed circuit board inside.  These printed circuit boards do not withstand the surges or transients of today.  The simple turning on of your AC unit can cause electrical spikes of 100% or better.  So what to do you ask?  These spikes over a relatively short period can easily destroy the electronics in our homes.

Surge protection devices can actually "clamp" the excess voltages that are present in our homes.  This can produce actually very realistic results.  Surge suppressors contain MOV's or  metal oxide varistors, the function of this is to "clamp" excess voltage as it seems.  These do have limitations known as "let through" voltages.  This MOV actually only conducts the over voltage part of the electric current.  These MOV devices are installed in a series, their fore as the voltage moves through each one lets through a little less.  This lessens the danger of the spike.  Heat is of course a byproduct of this event.  Although it's true that diversion devices tend to dissipate much of the transient energy as heat, they do not eliminate transient power spikes. They primarily reduce the voltage levels and incidentally cut the energy levels, which isn’t always sufficient protection. It may also be necessary to add filtering to the protection scheme. Filtering devices do not divert the transients, but use inductive and capacitive elements to absorb them.

These devices are actually designed to absorb voltages/spikes for lighting. Any device you purchase should have a LED indicator to verify that it is stilly working.  Also would be a really strong 20 or 25 year warranty which would include warranting against lighting damage.









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