A power surge is a short burst of energy caused by a quick change in the conditions of an electrical circuit. Power surges are inevitable, which is why it’s so important for properties’ electrical systems to be protected against them, as a lack of surge protection could lead to massive losses in equipment and the need for an appointment with commercial electrical contractors in Alexandria, VA who can provide the required repairs.
About 60 to 80 percent of power surges are caused by problems that arise within the facility that houses the electrical equipment. The rest are caused by external events that may affect the internal electrical system through various power cords, cable lines, telephone lines and more. Examples of events that can cause power surges include:
- •Problems with the local power system: Low-quality power is one of the primary causes of downtime. The most common source for this issue is the local electric company. Some of the points of failure in the system could be faulty wiring, downed power lines, breakdowns of equipment, capacitors switching or grid shifting. In addition, large users on the same power line can create power surges, as can heavy electrical equipment that frequently turns on and off.
- •Lightning: While it is rare for direct lightning strikes to cause power surges, it can happen, as this accounts for about 2 percent of damage caused by power surges. When this happens, the power surges produced can be devastating. In addition, the electromagnetic fields created by lightning can induce their own power surges that affect radio frequencies, telecommunications and power.
- •Facility events: Switching between high-powered electrical devices is one of the most common causes of surges generated within a specific facility. Other common causes include ignition and interruption of electrical arcs used for welding, tripping of circuit breakers and fuses and more.
With all this in mind, it is important for homeowners and facility operators to address the risks associated with power surges and take whatever steps are needed to prevent them from causing serious issues in their electrical systems. Properties should have surge protection installed to guard against external sources at any point where external power is supplied to the property. All electrical systems should have a common “ground” and should enter the building within just a few feet of each other to make it easier to provide this protection. In addition, communications and low voltage lines should be kept away from power cables within the property, and should cross at right angles whenever possible.
If your facility is an industrial facility that features large motors, welders or other such equipment, make sure to include surge protection at distribution panels throughout the facility. There should also be surge protection in place for other specific individual pieces of equipment. Finally, all electrical and telecommunications systems should be designed and installed in a manner that minimizes power disruptions as much as possible.
For more information about surge protection in your home or business and the specific steps you should take, contact an experienced commercial electrical contractor in Alexandria, VA at Walsh Electric today.