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How can you keep your home and devices safe from common voltage surges?

An electrician looking at a large fuse board

What are SPD’s?

Surge Protective Devices or SPD’s protects electrical devices and installations from power surges and spikes. These power surges are caused by huge voltage spikes from sources such as lightning strikes, blown fuses, faulty wiring or downed power lines. Surges can also be caused by transformers and the switching of motors- these are becoming more common due to the increase in electric vehicle charging and certain washing machines over the past decade.

These voltage spikes and surges can cause electrical wires to heat up, in turn causing damage to and destroying electronic devices such as computers and televisions and even causing house fires by burning through the insulation on wiring.

How do surge protectors work?

Surge protectors work by limiting the amount of voltage supplied to electrical devices through either blocking the voltage or shorting it to ground.

SPD’s are often already installed in consumer units (part of an electrical board) and large commercial electrical equipment; but are also available for separate installation to protect devices. There are three main types:

  • Type 1 surge protection devices guard against direct lightning strikes and is used at the origin of the electrical installation- such as the main distribution board.

  • Type 2 surge protection devices guard both the electrics and the devices connected to them from transient overvoltages (short, high voltage surges such as fuses blowing). Type 2 surge protection is installed at the mains income of buildings that don’t need type 1 lightning protection, and sub boards that are over 10 metres from the main panel.

  • Type 3 surge protection devices are only installed along with type 2 SPDs, they are used to protect specific equipment and are installed at point of use for the most valuable or delicate electronics.

Do I need to have them in my home?

Whilst surge protectors are not obligatory in homes, if you have any expensive or powerful electronics then SPD’s would be a worthwhile investment to install in your home. If you would like to know more about SPD’s or have them installed to protect the devices in your home, get in touch with Afos Group for more information.

Additionally, if you are worried that your home’s wiring or electrics may be faulty or dangerous, getting this checked could prevent damage to your devices down the line. Afos Group will be happy to carry out a full Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) to check that all wiring is up-to-scratch.

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