# What happens when there is a voltage surge?

## What happens when there is a voltage surge?

Electrical devices are designed to handle specific voltages. Unfortunately, in cases where devices are subject to higher voltages than they are designed for, damage can occur. Generally speaking the greater these voltages are, and the longer the period over which they are experienced, the greater the damage will likely be.

## How long does a power surge usually last?

A power surge is a short term increase in voltage. Unlike a power spike, a power surge typically has less voltages (usually 10% to 35% above the normal line voltage) and can last for a few milliseconds to several minutes. Surges can sometime be preceded or followed by power spikes.

How long does it take for a voltage spike to occur?

A sudden rise in voltage lasting three nanoseconds or more is generally classed as a “voltage surge” while a spike more typically refers to shorter-lived increases in power.

### Can a lightning strike cause a voltage surge?

In such situations overhead power cables may find themselves in the receiving end of a lightning strike – leading to a short-term spike in electrical activity for the surrounding properties. There can be few engineers or electricians have not seen the devastating impact that voltage surges can cause.

### What happens when there is a power surge?

A power surge is a sudden increase of voltage that significantly exceeds the standard 120-volt flow of electricity that normally enters your home or building. As it shoots through the lines, it can cause tremendous damage to electronics, appliances, even your HVAC equipment.

What’s the safe voltage level for a home power surge?

Most home appliances and devices use around this much power, though the actual voltage level fluctuates between 0-169 volts. When a surge travels into your home’s electrical current, the voltage supplied spikes way beyond the safe limit.

## How many volts can a surge arrestor handle?

Better surge arrestors can handle surges up to 20,000 volts, while standard outlet surge protectors can’t handle more than 6,000 volts. Some high-end arrestors can actually monitor weather conditions and will shut down the power supply to more sensitive electronics when lightning is in the area.

## How does a surge protector work on a circuit breaker?

During a surge, the protector redirects excess voltage toward the grounding wire to neutralize it. Service-panel surge protectors work the same way, but they fit directly onto your circuit breaker. For more information on power surges, check out the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s informational booklet.

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