Are Power Surges Always Seriously Damaging


Before we delve into power surge effects and howthey are damaging our home electronics and appliances, you must first understand what exactly counts as a power surge. A power surge in simple words can be described as a sudden spike in the electrical voltage that usually lasts for about a few seconds. But there is always the question of how lethal those few seconds can be.

Power Surges

Also referred to as electrical surges, there are certainly natural and unnatural factors that trigger surges, but just because there is no final solution to ending the problem of power surges entirely, there are however ways in which homeowners can protect their appliances and electronics from any extensive damage that could otherwise land them in hundreds of dollars’ worth of bills.

So are power surges always seriously damaging to electronic devices and appliances? Here’s a brief read on factors that actually cause a power surge in order for you to understand how intense the impact can be.

What Causes Power Surges

1. Lightning

A very obvious factor that triggers power surges is lightning. That is why you would usually find your mom franticly trying to unplug the big LCD in the living room, the microwave or even the expensive lamps she bought for her room. And rightly so because when there is a storm in your area, anything can happen.

Lightning enters our homes through power lines and cables, and a single bolt carries millions of volts which are sent through the grid and into our homes. A regular home requires merely a few hundred volts so imagine how damaging ten times of that could be.

2. Power Blackouts

Due to certain weather conditions, there may often be power blackouts within the grid, or even during scheduled maintenances for that matter. But the problem arises when the power is switched back on – the immediate release of power means jumpstarting an extremely high level of electricity back into the grid. This massive influx is what triggers power surges in our homes when the power supply is way more than what is required. So when someone switches on a power outlet, there is a high chance anything plugged in may get damaged.

3. Wiring

The wiring itself can trigger a power surge, in the case where it is faulty or old, and that is because damaged wiring offers a lesser electrical resistance. So anything that counts as a conductor can trigger a surge.But, in general, is within the household structure so how it is possible to know when there’s any damage or is faulty? Well, here are some telltale signs that homeowners can watch out for: burn marks or a foul odor coming from an outlet, an audible buzzing sound coming from an outlet, and constant tripping of the circuit breaker.

4. Electronic Appliances

Electronic devices and appliances themselves can trigger power surges. How so? Every electronic device installed in your home has a different voltage requirement. That is to say that your air conditioners require a different level of voltage than your television does. It is because of this reason that sometimes, and you may have noticed as well, when switching on heavy-duty appliances, there sometimes is an abrupt but excessive inflow of electricity that can lead to the appliance jump starting. That is a power surge in the case of an electric appliance switching on. This is also partly why hotels usually have their own hairdryers installed in bathrooms or voltage numbers listed on the power outlets for the customers’ knowledge.

5. Overloaded Power Outlets

Yes, overloaded power outlets can also trigger a power surge. Just as we already mentioned above that every electronic device and appliance requires a different level of voltage, so plugging in multiple devices to a single power outlet is likely to trigger a surge should there be an imbalance in the voltage required from every device that is plugged in.

How to Prevent Damage to Electronics

Although there is no permanent solution to eradicating the problem of power surges entirely, there is a way to reduce the damage or better yet temporarily protect the electronic devices and appliances in your home from any damage. Here’s what you can do.

1. Invest In a Surge Protector

Surge protectors are your best bet at grounding the excess electricity from passing onto any device that is plugged into the power outlet. They also help prolong the lifespan of the device itself but the lifespan of the surge protector itself depends on how many surges it has endured – and their intensity too.

2. Unplug Electronics That Are Not In Use

A good habit that will go a long way. Unplug the television at the end of the day, or the microwave oven once you’re done using it. This prevents any unnecessary damage to devices in the event that a surge occurs since they won’t be plugged in, in the first place!

3. Subscribe To a Surge Protection Plan

Local electrical companies usually have surge protection plans that cover the repair expenses and in severe cases the cost of replacing any appliance or device that has been damaged due to power surges. And the costs can go up to thousands of dollars in annual coverage.


To say that power surges are damaging would be stretching it by far. They are damaging to electronic devices in the long run yes, however then again it depends on the intensity of the surge. Sometimes they are close to nothing because the voltage spike isn’t too high, while in some cases surges can damage devices within those few seconds. There really is no knowing. But we hope this article gave you a good insight into some of the common causes and ways to protect your electronics so that you are better prepared from here on out!

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