Most of the time when people think of power surges and electrical problems, they think of things like lightning storms and faulty wiring. But what if we told you that the very appliances you rely on for keeping your food cold, reheating leftovers, and relaxing in front of the tube at the end of a long day are also responsible for these issues?
The truth is that there are several appliances that can cause minor power surges and electrical problem in the house, and today you're going to find out everything you need to know about this matter, including how to prevent it.
What Appliances Can Pose Electrical Problems?
Some appliances are more liable than others to cause internal power surges (ones that aren't caused by external factors like lightning strikes), and they include ones that draw large amounts of power.
Common culprits include large appliances like the water heater, refrigerator, air conditioner, and washing machine.
However, smaller devices can have an impact as well, and they include hair dryers, space heaters, and even power tools. The reason for this is when one of these devices turns on or off, power gets diverted to or from other areas of the house, and this causes the electricity spike that’s characteristic of a surge.
Power Surges and Fire Hazards
For the most part, power surges are just annoying and possibly damaging to your appliances, but in the worst-case scenarios, they can be extremely dangerous.
This is especially true when the surge is external and caused by a source like lightning because these can be strong enough to melt plastic and metal, destroy electrical panels, and cause house fires.
The good news, however, is that cases such as this are rare. What's much more likely to happen during a power surge, especially an internal one caused by appliances, is that devices with microprocessors might be damaged. Or the wiring in your appliances and home could be worn down. Over time, repeated surges will cause cumulative wear and an early breakdown.
How to Tell if Your Electrical System Is Malfunctioning
Many homeowners call electricians because they're seeing symptoms of strange electrical behavior in their homes, and this can involve lights, appliances, receptacles, cords, and more. Power surges are just one of the issues that can cause electrical problems in the home, but regardless of the cause, the symptoms you should be on the lookout for include:
- Burning smells (when you haven't left the toast in too long!)
- Hot electrical cords or light fixtures
- Getting shocks
- Recurring circuit breaker trips
- Flickering lights
How Can You Protect Yourself and Your Family from Electrical Issues?
Electrical problems in the house can be scary and expensive, but we have some really good news when it comes to power surges: the fix is typically simple and affordable. If you know exactly which appliances are causing the problem, you can install a surge protector on the applicable receptacles.
If you're dealing with surges because of multiple appliances, consider having a whole-home surge protector installed on your electrical panel. Otherwise, if the problem is old faulty wiring, you might want to consider a professional electrical panel upgrade.
Electrical problems in the house don’t always have mysterious sources, and sometimes the issue is as simple as minor internal power surges caused by power-hungry appliances. As long as you watch out for the symptoms of other problems and install surge protectors to protect your appliances and wiring, then you'll be able to keep your home and family safe from harm.