4 of the Most Common Causes of Power Surges

Electricity is a valuable resource in our homes and businesses, but an excess of this energy can create problems in the workplace. Power surges are a common threat in buildings that use large amounts of energy, and understanding what causes them will help you mitigate the risks in the facility you run. Consider these common causes of power surges to protect your facility from an outage that could damage equipment and put production behind schedule.

Damaged Wiring

Damaged wiring can cause many issues in the workplace, including power surges. The voltage in exposed wires damaged by sharp objects or mishandling can fluctuate erratically. If the voltage fluctuates too high, it could cause a surge that damages the devices connected to it or, with enough electricity surging through it, shut down a whole portion of the facility.

Ensuring that all cables and their wires are in optimal condition decreases the likelihood of this happening. Network cables, such as ethernet cords, must remain far from sources of moisture since water inside the cable could affect the wires and cause a sudden burst of electricity, permanently damaging the wire and causing a power surge to connected electronics.

Disruptions in Electrical Flow

Equipment that operates with motors or other components that regularly turn themselves on and off can disrupt the flow of electricity.

When an appliance that draws a lot of energy from a circuit, such as an air conditioning unit, turns itself off suddenly, that energy no longer has a focus, resulting in a spike in voltage. This unexpected additional electricity causes a power surge that can shut down the appliance and any other machines on the same circuit.

Lightning

A single lightning strike contains millions of volts of electricity, which is extremely detrimental to most devices that handle under 300 volts of electricity at a time. The chance of lightning striking your facility is typically low, but certain factors may contribute to a sudden strike.

Tall structures, such as radio towers or satellite dishes, need grounding to discharge the high voltage into the ground. It’s important to utilize ways to protect electronics from lightning, such as surge protectors and backup generators. Nature is often unpredictable, and having the means to protect your facility from a surge will benefit production.

System Overloads

Your electrical system has limitations for how much electricity it can conduct, and when too much flows through it, it results in electrical overload. An overloaded system is a common cause of power surges and a threat to facilities with numerous machines.

When you have too many electrical appliances plugged into the same circuit, the system can get overloaded and shut down. This disruption leads to a power fluctuation, resulting in a power surge that can damage your machines.

Use energy-saving appliances and unplug devices that aren’t in use to ensure a surge doesn’t occur. Ensuring the wiring is in good condition prevents overloads and decreases the chance of a power surge.

When you’re in charge of a commercial facility, one of your most important jobs is to keep your employees and equipment safe from dangers like power surges. Take action to mitigate their causes and keep power flowing into facility operations.

About Dan Coconate

Dan Coconate is a local Chicagoland freelance writer who has been in the industry since graduating from college in 2019. He currently lives in the Chicagoland area where he is pursuing his multiple interests in journalism.

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