What Are the Most Frequent Causes of a Power Surge in the Home?

McCarrick Electric is a family owned and operated electrical contractor, fully licensed to perform a wide range of electrical works, including repairing power surge damage to the wiring in your home.

Power surging in the house can cause extensive damage to the wiring and to valuable appliances and electronic devices. During our 25 years in business, our electricians gained firsthand experience in dealing with the most common causes of power surges, from defective outlets to a storm. Thus, we realize how important it is for homeowners to know the causes and first signs of this issue. In many cases, our pros specializing in electrical services can solve the issue before the surge actually occurs, helping you avoid expensive repairs.

In this article, we will explain in simple terms what can cause power surges, how to identify them, and what to do to minimize the damage. Also, remember that you can always rely on our experienced team of electricians to help you with emergency repairs and preventive maintenance on your home electrical wiring. 

What Is a Power Surge?

Before we go in depth with the explanations on the main causes of a power supply surge, let’s define what it is. The power surge meaning, as its name indicates, is a surge of electrical power exceeding normal levels. So, what is normal in terms of voltage and why do power surges happen?

In the US, the standard voltage is 120V. But, in reality, it constantly oscillates between a few volts and 169V. The danger of a power surge starts when the voltage exceeds 170V. This oscillation can be the result of faulty wiring and lightning during storms, among others (we will discuss the causes of surges in detail later in this article).

There are many causes of power surges and some of them can be avoided with preventive maintenance

But what does a power surge do, exactly? Every electrical device plugged in an outlet can be damaged – either by reducing its performance or by complete malfunctioning. Considering that smart TVs, laptops, and other hi-tech devices cost thousands of dollars, you should do your best to prevent power surges in your home.

The Most Common Signs of a Power Supply Surge

Some people have already experienced the damages of a power surge, from destroyed appliances, outlet, and light sources to burnt wiring inside the wall – all needing to be replaced. However, while discussing with the homeowners, our electricians realized that these surges did not happen out of the blue. There were some warning signs, but the homeowners were not aware of their seriousness.

We want you to be able to prevent the typical damage of amperage surges, so look out for these warning signs:

  • Flickering, buzzing or lights
  • Discolored outlets or with visible signs of scorching
  • Frayed wiring 
  • Smoke coming from outlets
  • Warm or vibrating outlets
  • Burning or odd, sharp odors around outlets

If you notice any of these signs, turn off the lights and unplug all the devices from the faulty outlets and call a licensed electrician to inspect your wiring.

What Causes Power Surges in a Home?

Now let us answer the following question: what is the most common risk associated with power surges in a house? Here they are:

Electrical Overload Leading to a Power Supply Surge

This is one of the causes of power surging in the house that is easy to prevent. It happens when you plug too many devices into a single extension cord. In this situation, too much power is drawn from a single circuit. You should consider installing supplementary outlets in rooms where you have many devices that need to be plugged in. An experienced electrician can identify the best placements for these and install them very quickly.

Faulty Wiring Can Lead to a Power Surge

Can a bad breaker cause power surges? Is old wiring what causes power surges in a house? The answer is yes. You can lose a lot of expensive, newly purchased electronics and large appliances if you put off replacing old or damaged wiring.

While it may be a significant upfront cost for any family, replacing faulty wiring and circuit breaker can protect you from a power surge, with much costlier consequences.

Lightning Power Surge

During a bad storm, lightning can send a jolt of high voltage and overload the wiring in your home. A lightning power surge can have serious consequences and, although it cannot be predicted when it happens, you can take the following steps to protect your home from a power surge:

Add protection to your wiring through proper grounding 

Install surge arresters for the most important appliances, such as the fridge or HVAC equipment

Turn off the lights and unplug appliances during lightning storms

Power Outage or Blackout

We end our list on what causes electrical surges with power outages – which usually represent a large-scale power grid failure, affecting an entire city or neighborhood. The failure itself does not cause the power surge; the culprit is the sudden high voltage when the supply of electricity is resumed. 

For this reason, you should unplug everything in your home during a power outage and wait until the voltage in your wiring is at a stable level.

How to Prevent Power Surges and Appliances Damages

The typical damage from amperage surges can lead to repair works and replacing appliances worth several thousands of dollars. For this reason, investing in special outlets to prevent the problem caused by a power surge is a smart investment.

With a special power supply surge can be prevented throughout the electrical circuit in your home

Now that you know what causes electrical surges, here is what you should do when it happens in order to minimize the damages:

  • Reset, unplug, and repower all electrical devices
  • Do all the above before resetting your circuit breakers if the surge was followed by a power outage
  • Check all the outlets, appliances, and electronic devices for damages 
  • Inspect the HVAC equipment – you may need to hire a licensed contractor for this

Finally, after a power surge, destroyed appliances should be photographed, with the date, time, and short description of the occurrence attached. You will need all these details when you file an insurance claim.

Struggling to Fix Power Surge Damage? We’re Here to Help

McCarrick Electric is a family owned and operated company with over 25 years of experience, licensed to perform a full range of residential and commercial electrical works. We can help you with preventive maintenance, as well as with wiring repair and replacement after a severe power surge.

We know why power surges happen and how to fix the damage. Based in Commerce City, CO, we also service surrounding areas, including:

  • Aurora
  • Denver
  • Henderson
  • Brighton
  • Thornton
  • Westminster
  • Highlands Ranch
  • Littleton
  • Parker

We take pride in our attention to detail, work ethic, and professionalism, as well as the affordable cost we offer to all our clients. Call our experienced electricians whenever you need help: 720-434-3960!

720-601-1991 Contact Us