A power quality disturbance is any change in the electricity reaching your home that interferes with normal operation of electrical equipment. You can protect your home and equipment by understanding power quality and taking some simple steps to handle the three most common types of power quality problems: momentary power interruptions, electrical noise, and voltage surges.
Momentary Power Interruptions
Momentary power interruptions are often confused with surges but are entirely different. These interruptions occur when power is completely cut off from your equipment momentarily. IPL equipment has built-in protective devices that will interrupt power for less than a second to allow tree limbs or animals to break free of our lines. While they can cause an inconvenience (most commonly blinking clocks and audio/visual device displays), momentary interruptions are generally a way to prevent longer customer outages.
To eliminate the frustration of these interruptions purchase equipment with 9-volt battery back-up or power carry-over features.
Electrical noise is usually noticed as snow on your TV screen or static on your radio. Noise also causes more inconvenience than damage.
To avoid this problem, don’t use appliances that create the problem (like a hair dryer or blender) when the TV or radio is on and use a cable modem system with your computer.
Voltage surges, short periods of high voltage, happen in the blink of an eye. An extremely high voltage surge can damage major appliance motors and destroy sensitive electronic equipment in an instant. Low-level surges slowly wear down sensitive micro-processors, causing equipment to unexpectedly fail for no apparent reason.
Normal, everyday occurrences can cause voltage surges, such as:
- Bad weather
- Nature (animals, birds, trees)
- Accidents involving power poles and lines
- New construction in an area
- Neighbors using major power equipment
- Normal utility maintenance operations to keep power safe and reliable
- Faulty wiring, loose connections, poor grounding
- Operation of heating/air conditioning systems
- Major appliances or other large motors switching on and off
To protect against voltage surges, have a licensed electrician install a panel surge protector inside your home at the electrical panel. Also, request that the electrician:
- Check home wiring for faulty or loose connections, improper grounding, or other wiring problems.
- Check that the TV cable and telephone grounds are bonded with the electrical ground.
In addition, you’ll need to install:
- A surge suppressor with a TV cable/antenna connector to protect your television/VCR
- A surge suppressor with a telephone connector to protect your telephone answering machine and computer modem.
- Individual plug-in surge suppressors for sensitive equipment like your computer, garage door opener, microwave oven, home security command unit, refrigerator/freezer with microprocessors, compact disc player and stereo amplifier/receiver.
- An appropriate suppressor for your satellite dish. Satellite dishes require a specially designed suppressor that you will need to order from your satellite dish manufacturer or sales representative.
More information on surge suppressors.