The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and The National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices Section (BI-VS) present a free webinar, Surge Protective Devices: Protecting Businesses and Homes. The webinar explains what power surges are, why they happen, and how to prevent them from damaging sensitive electronics in your home and business.

Power surges, or transients, are brief, microsecond voltage and current spikes or disturbances on a power waveform that can damage, degrade, or destroy electrical equipment within any home or business. Most electrical equipment is designed to handle minor variations in their standard operating voltages. However, power surges can be very damaging to nearly all equipment. Most power surges, 60 to 80%, are caused by internal sources, such as faulty wiring or loose connections, overloaded circuits, short circuits, or ground faults. External sources include lightning, power recovery, and utility power grid switching.

As electrification and the digitization of equipment advances, so do occurrences of failure or misoperation due to transient voltages. Surge protective devices protect your expensive electrical equipment from the damaging effects of power surges. These devices are also required by the National Electrical Code in homes and commercial and industrial buildings.

ESFI recently surveyed industrial and commercial facility professionals on their understanding of surge protective devices. The respondents agreed that the devices are effective. Seventy-nine percent of facilities stated that they have cut down on the amount of downtime and equipment failure, while 34% of facilities reported that unplanned outages were caused by power surges and unexpected resetting or misoperation of equipment. It is important to note that fuses, circuit breakers, ground fault circuit interrupters, consumer uninterruptible power supplies, and typical power strips do not provide surge protection.

According to NEMA, the average home has $15,000 worth of equipment that can be damaged by power surges. Install surge protective devices to protect against downtime, improve system and data reliability, and reduce electrical failures. If you would like access to free electrical safety materials you can share throughout your community, visit