Every one is familiar with power outages and brownouts and it is common to protect small home electronics such as computers with a simple surge protector. However, most may not be familiar with how important that same concept is for your most cherished home appliance, your heating and air conditioning system. One item we all must think about when considering your HVAC unit is an HVAC surge protector.
An air conditioning surge protection system is a logical, low-cost solution to the problems that can occur within your system in the event of an unexpected power outage. A simple surge protector will protect your system from electrical surges by shutting it off in the event of an electrical surge caused by lightening, utility outages, hurricanes, and so on.
Each home experiences 300-plus potentially damaging electrical surges per year. Home appliances and HVAC equipment, which depend on electronics, are sensitive to these surges. These units are a costly investment for the homeowner, and there typically is no protection.
A surge is a high-amplitude, short-duration electrical fluctuation that can cause harm to electrical, electromechanical, and electronic equipment. Surges are caused by lightning, utility events, and internal events:
- Lightning is the most obvious and most sensational type of surge. Lightning can travel up to 1/2 mile from where it strikes. Nothing can prevent a direct strike.
- Utility events consist of crossover of phases, capacitor switching, grid shifting, inductive loads, and open neutrals.
- Internal events in the home, however, are the most likely source of a surge. A General Electric (GE) and National Power Labs (NPL) study shows that 65 percent to 80 percent of transient surges are caused internally from: Pumps (well or pool), A/C condenser motors, Refrigeration motors, Dishwasher motors, and Washer/dryer motors.
These events can result in the three D’s of surge problems: degradation (of equipment components), destruction, and downtime.
Surge Solutions: Surge protectors provide protection against:
- Incoming surges;
- Bounce surges from inrush current; and
- Outdoor moisture conduction from local lightning (as noted above, from as much as 1/2 mile away).A surge protector works by shunting the voltage surge to ground. A good ground is imperative. The National Electrical Code (NEC) maximum resistance at ground is 25 ohms.
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By Gary Lampasona, For The News