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Protecting Your Equipment

Power variations inside your home can damage electrical equipment and appliances. Variations in power can occur for a variety of reasons, but here are a few examples:

  • A circuit in your home is overloaded or reset.
  • Lightning strikes in your area.
  • The power coming to your home is interrupted and then restored. (This will occur when your meter is tested and can also be caused by a storm, tree branches in the power lines, malfunction of electrical equipment, or even an animal getting into the utility’s electrical equipment.)

Some electrical equipment and appliances are more prone to damage than others. Computers tend to be very sensitive and most people are aware of that, but power variations can also damage other equipment. Furnaces, VCR’s, microwaves, and televisions are examples of equipment we have seen damaged over the years; but there are, no doubt, other types of equipment that could malfunction due to a fluctuation in power.

The good news is, in most cases when the power in a home goes off and on, the power variation is not severe enough to cause any damage. But on occasion, customers equipment can be damaged.

Each homeowner must assess their electrical equipment and determine what they feel needs to be protected against loss. A homeowner may also wish to verify the type of coverage they have in their homeowner’s insurance policy for this type of damage, and what their deductible is.


There are numerous surge protection devices on the market today. A general rule of thumb with these devices is you tend to “get what you pay for,” and the more levels of protection you have, the more apt your equipment will be to avoid damage. You can begin with a “whole house surge suppression” device, installed by a qualified electrician. Beyond that, you can protect each piece of equipment with individual surge suppression devices. If you have a piece of valuable equipment, you may decide to protect it with a high quality surge protection device. You may even decide to protect it with an “uninterruptible power supply” (UPS), particularly in the case of a computer where the loss of unsaved information can be a problem. You must choose the devices that best suit your needs.

To summarize, there are several ways you can protect sensitive electrical equipment from damage due to variations in power.

  • Whole house surge protection equipment
  • Individual surge protection devices
  • Unplug equipment during a storm or outage
  • Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)