You plug your computer into a surge protector, but did you know your HVAC unit needs one, too?
Small electrical surges happen all the time, and most often you won’t even know that it’s happening. An HVAC surge protector isn’t just a gimmick; it is a much-needed safeguard for your HVAC system. Household electronics like laptops, computers, TVs, and even cordless phones can easily be fried by a large power surge, such as a lightning strike. It is likely that you already use at least one household surge protector to save your most important electronics. But what are you doing to protect one of your most expensive electronics: your HVAC unit?
Your air conditioner is the most expensive appliance in your home to repair or replace. It is important to keep it well-maintained and running smoothly. If you don’t protect your HVAC unit from surges, it could also become damaged and need to be replaced.
There are some basics about power surges and HVAC systems that you should know. This information will help you see why you should have an HVAC surge protector installed.
What Is an HVAC Surge Protector & How Does It Work?
An HVAC surge protector is a device that prevents power surges from damaging the components of your HVAC system. While a regular surge protector is installed near appliances and whole-home protectors are wired into the circuit breaker panel, HVAC surge protectors are set up at the AC condenser outside your home.
But to understand how surge protectors do their job, we must first understand what a power surge is.
What Are Power Surges & What Causes Them?
Power surges happen when there’s a significant spike of voltage flowing through your home’s electrical system and into your appliances. Some possible causes include:
- Lightning storms: A single lightning bolt is capable of generating one billion joules of electricity. This is more than enough to fry all the electronics in your home. Interestingly, storms don’t even have to be nearby for an energy surge to reach it. Bolts can travel as far as 10 miles and power lines can carry the extra charge up to a mile away.
- Fallen power lines: One of the most common causes of power issues, fallen lines can cause power outages, brownouts, and energy surges. This can happen due to line repair errors, construction accidents, weather, or high winds.
- Random causes: Sometimes the cause of surges are difficult to pin down. Many power companies state in the fine print that they’re not responsible for random power spikes or weather-caused line issues.
Are these events covered by insurance or equipment warranties?
Some HVAC manufacturers may cover damage to specific components, but repair/labor costs are generally not included. Home insurance coverage may include power surges from manmade sources in certain cases, but policies and items covered vary widely. The best way to protect your air conditioner, and your wallet, is to prevent damage in the first place with a high-quality HVAC surge protector
How Can a Power Surge Damage Your HVAC System?
Power surges, no matter how minor, have a lasting effect on your air conditioner. It may not be apparent at first, but repeated power surges can wear down the compressor of your AC unit. A severe power surge, such as from lightning, might be enough to require a complete replacement of your HVAC system. Power surges can damage your AC by:
- A surge of electricity can generate enough heat to burn and destroy the electrical components inside your HVAC unit.
- Power surges could also melt away wire casings, leaving behind exposed wires that pose an electrocution hazard.
- The heat can warp circuit boards and capacitors or even completely short or burn them out.
- There’s even the possibility the HVAC unit could catch fire.
If your HVAC suddenly stops working or emits a burning smell, the problem could stem from a power surge. The electrical components may have shorted out, partially melted, or burned.
How Do HVAC Surge Protectors Work?
When there’s excess electricity flowing into your home’s electrical system, the surge protector reroutes the current away from the HVAC unit and into the grounding wire. The grounding wire directs the electricity into the ground, where it can discharge without any risk of causing fires or electrical shocks.
The surge protector ensures that the HVAC unit only receives the correct voltage needed to continue operating without a hitch.
Why is an HVAC Surge Protector Important?
HVAC surge protection is the best way to keep your AC running smoothly for as long as possible. The average air conditioner lasts about 12 to 17 years. However, if you have significant power surges or frequent surges, your AC could break down much sooner. Power surges don’t discriminate between new and older HVAC systems. Here is a breakdown of how a surge protector can save you money and frustration.
- Extend Your HVAC System’s Lifespan: HVAC units have sensitive electrical components such as circuit boards and blower motors. Though they can withstand minor power fluctuations, major surges will damage them over time. The surge protector also prolongs its life by preventing too much power from flowing through the unit and damaging it. The unit’s parts will stay in good condition for longer.
- Save More Energy: Since the surge protector helps keep your HVAC system working properly, it can help you save money on repairs or buying a brand-new unit. The protector could also help you save on energy bills. But how do HVAC surge protectors save energy? The surge protector itself doesn’t reduce power consumption, but by helping keep your HVAC unit in good shape, the system can continue running efficiently. A slightly damaged component can affect your home’s heating or cooling. The unit would then have to run longer—and use up more power—to achieve the temperature you want.
Get an HVAC Surge Protector Installed Today!
To make sure your family stays cool and comfortable in the event of a power surge or lightning strike, CONTACT US today about your HVAC surge protector options. Our experienced team is always happy to help!
On an uncomfortably hot Summer day, your air conditioning system is the most important thing in your house. Give yourself some peace of mind when that next thunderstorm hits with an HVAC surge protector!
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