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Penticton Electrician: The Shocking Truth About Surge Protectors

Articles Surge Protectors

It’s probably not often (if ever) that you consider just how many digital or electronic devices you have plugged in around your home. How about all the ones that don’t plug in, like your dishwasher or furnace? Have you ever thought what might happen to all those devices in the event of a major power surge to your home’s electrical system? It’s a situation most of us would rather not think about, however if you’re home is without a Whole Home Surge Protection and Monitoring System, you may be more vulnerable than you realize.

Like it or not, digital technology has permeated just about every industry, and the volume of electronic devices in your home is likely way more than you realize. First to mind are Blu-ray and DVD players, audio and home theater equipment, TVs, satellite receivers, alarm systems, and computer equipment (including routers, modems, and printers). Add to the list all the stuff with an electronic control board inside — such as your furnace, central vacuum, washer and dryer. Don’t forget to include just about everything in your kitchen from the microwave to your range, fridge, toaster, and every other gadget with a power cord living on your counter.

But My Electronics Are Old, Why Should I Be Worried About a Power Surge?

Sure, we all know electronics have a pretty high rate of depreciation, but it’s the replacement costs and inconvenience that really count when they do fail. Can you do a quick tally of the replacement value of all those electronic items in your head. No? Well allow me to help you out. A basic 20 year old home with normal appliances, audio, computer and heating equipment could be estimated between $10,000-$20,000 in replacement costs. Sound far-fetched? Think about the replacement cost of your iPhone ($700) or iPad ($500) or laptop ($800) plugged in at your desk right now, then add on an appliance or two and you’ll begin to see the bigger picture.  Whether you love or hate this stuff, it’s an inescapable part of the way we live. However, when it comes to power surges it’s like Kryptonite and you won’t be able to revive dead electronics when they get hit by one.

Surge Protection - Okanagan Residential Electrician | Pilot Electric

I’ve Got Power Bars & Surge Protectors, So My Penticton Home is Protected Right?

Unfortunately the reality is a surge is often too much for your lowly surge protector, and those don’t cover devices that plug in to specialized wall ports for appliances. You may already know about the importance of your home electronics having some surge protection and may likely have a few of your electronics plugged in to surge protectors throughout your home. You may also believe that if you experience a nearby lightning strike, or some other type of power surge, your “expensive” stuff is 100% protected. It probably isn’t. The power bar style surge suppressors that most people have in their homes provide only a very basic, low level of surge protection at best. Unless you’re invested several hundred dollars in an audiophile level surge suppressor, that power bar your computer or TV is plugged into will likely fail in the event of a major power surge. That’s why a Whole Home Surge Protection System is a crucial element of a comprehensive power protection strategy.

Surge Protection - Okanagan Residential Electrician | Pilot Electric

What is a Whole Home Surge Protection System, and Why Should I Use One in My Naramata Home?

A Whole House Surge Protection System works by sensing high voltage surge conditions and bleeding them off before they reach and damage your expensive electronics. Think of it as being your water tanks pressure relief valve, but for your home power distribution system instead. Under normal voltage (pressure) conditions, everything is fine. However if the voltage (pressure) surges suddenly to above safe levels (boils over), the Surge Protection (valve) opens and bleeds off the Surge (high pressure) before anything is damaged. The reason why they’re better than just power bars is that:

#1. Whole Home Surge Protection Systems divert the surges at their SOURCE.

Power surges commonly come from disturbances on the power lines outside of the home. These disturbances can be caused by lightning strikes, irregularities in the Electrical Utilities power generation or by Heavy Industry that may use large electrical machines or motors. These surges enter through your power meter and Main Power Distribution Panel. Whole Home Surge Protection Systems are always located at the home’s Main Power Distribution Panel, and are designed to deflect surges before they have a chance to enter the home and cause any damage.

#2. They offer a much higher LEVEL of protection than what you can get in a standard power bar.

A good quality Whole Home Surge Protection System will often have a maximum power surge rating 3-5x higher than that of a standard off the shelf power bar. They are also rated to take multiple surges over several years before failing. And, in the event they do fail, they often have self-monitoring capabilities and built-in alarms to notify you if you’re no longer protected.

#3. They protect EVERYTHING in the home.

Your basic power bar only “protects” the stuff plugged into it, and it doesn’t do a very good job at that. Conversely, a Whole Home Surge Protection System protects everything electrical in your home whether it plugs in (computers) or is hardwired (Central Heating and Appliances). There’s no need to worry about what should be protected and what shouldn’t because everything is covered.

Surge Protection - Okanagan Residential Electrician | Pilot Electric

My Okanagan Home Needs Surge Protection, What Should I Do Next?

While some basic electrical repairs around the home such as replacing smoke detectors and light fixtures may be attempted by the DIYer, installing a Whole Home Surge Protection System isn’t one of them. Considering that the point of the system is to protect your investment in your expensive electronics, is it really worth it to cut corners? Instead, why not hire a professional local Penticton electrician to do the job. At Pilot Electric we can install a range of Protections Systems, from the most basic home systems to commercial grade surge suppression. If you have a Security System, we can integrate it with the Surge Protection System so you’re notified in the event of a failure.  Better still, we’ll give you a complete range of custom solutions, with upfront pricing so you can choose the system that’s best for YOU!


If  you live in the Penticton, Summerland or Naramata areas and you’re considering a Whole Home Surge Protection System, give the professionals at Pilot Electric a call. We’ll send out a top local electrician to assess your situation and needs.



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