How Do Power Surges and Power Outages Differ?

Ebrill 7, 2022

Reach out to Dreiym Engineering for any Corrosion, Electrical or Forensic Questions.

When a home or business experiences electricity problems, it is always inconvenient for those involved. They disrupt normal activities and potentially put homeowners in dangerous situations. This level of risk varies depending on whether the disruption is due to an outage or surge. Knowing the difference between power surges and outages is key.

What Is a Power Outage?

A power outage refers to any time a property or area loses electricity. This includes losing electricity because of:

  • High winds
  • Damage from wildlife
  • Fallen trees
  • Powerline damage from car accidents

The biggest risks from power outages come from what happens when crucial equipment and appliances go offline. For example, if air conditioning units go out during a heatwave, it puts vulnerable citizens at risk of heat strokes.

What Is a Power Surge?

The word surge calls to mind a sudden flood started by a rush of water, and a power surge follows the same idea. A power surge occurs when a sudden rush of electrical power overwhelms a system that isn’t built for it, often damaging appliances and electric equipment.

Several factors may cause a power surge. For example:

  • Lightning
  • Faulty or outdated wiring
  • Electronics that use a large amount of electricity, such as hair dryers or space heaters
  • Power returning after an outage

When these surges happen, they can cause damage to appliances and equipment that are attached to the system and possibly even fires.

The Differences

How do power outages and power surges differ? Power outages and surges can often have similar results—namely, the loss of your power. But while the risks associated with power outages are more indirect, the risks associated with power surges are more immediate. However, you can and should guard against both as much as possible.

How To Prevent Power Surges and Outages

Be Aware of Surrounding Landscaping

Stormy weather is one of the most common causes of power disruptions. One of the common ways this happens is when high winds or lightning knock over trees that are close to your house. One way to prevent this is by ensuring your trees have been pruned so that branches don’t come too close to wires or rooftops.

Unplug Appliances During Storms

The other common cause of storm-related power surges, lightning, cannot necessarily be avoided. However, you can unplug appliances and power strips before a storm hits so that the electricity won’t flow through them.

Examine Your Wiring

Electrical problems can happen even in fair weather if the wiring to a home or business is faulty or outdated. Bringing this wiring up to code is necessary to protect yourselves and your property; however, this is a task that is dangerous to take on without experience, so it’s best practice to contact a professional.

Dreiym Engineering employs experienced electrical engineering consultants who will be able to examine your property with the goal of improving your electrical infrastructure. This will minimize the chances of the power going out.

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