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Peter Blondin
e-Pro, ABR, MBA Realtor

What homeowners should know about power surges at home

by Peter Blondin 07/10/2024

Every homeowner should be aware of when and how a power surge in house electrical systems can occur. 

While some causes are beyond our control, the more prepared you are for the possibility of the occasional power surge, the better you can mitigate any possible damage or hazards.

Here is some of the most important info to know about power surges to make sure you're prepared to handle them:

What causes power surges?

Power surges happen whenever there is an interruption or sudden increase in the flow of electricity. The main causes of a power surge include:

  • Electrical overload caused by drawing too much power from one circuit.
  • Faulty wiring.
  • Lightning strikes.
  • Power outages or blackouts.

How do power surges cause damage?

While many modern electronic devices and appliances have built-in surge protection, a power surge can still damage them or your home's systems. 

A sudden increase in voltage can overheat and damage the circuits inside electrical components, rendering them unusable. Sometimes, these circuits can be fixed or replaced, but other times the damage is irreparable.

Power surges can also have more serious effects, like causing fire or deadly electric shock. They can cause damage to your HVAC system and electrical outlets, which should be addressed by a licensed professional.

Does insurance cover power surge damage?

Homeowners insurance policies with personal property coverage will typically cover the costs of damages from power surges, but only if the cause is a lightning strike or excessive voltage from an external source. 

Damage resulting from faulty wiring or unsafe outlet use may not be covered.

How can I prevent power surges at home?

Some of the best ways to prevent power surges at home are:

  • Unplugging electric devices when not in use.
  • Avoid overusing extension cords or plugging too many devices into a single outlet.
  • Always use surge protectors, especially for vulnerable devices like computers.
  • Upgrade your home's outlets to newer models with built-in surge protectors.
  • Have your home's electrical system checked by a licensed electrician to identify any faulty wiring.

Unfortunately, sudden voltage spikes from an electrical provider or a nearby lightning strike cannot always be predicted or prevented. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, you can significantly reduce your chance of power surge-related damage at home.