The Electrical Safety Foundation and The National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices Section (BI-VS) recently released a series of videos highlighting the causes of power surges and detailing the benefits of installing surge protective devices to protect businesses and facilities:

 

Power surges can happen anywhere, but 60 to 80% of them originate from equipment inside our buildings. These damaging surges are typically caused by large electrical loads switching off and on. However, external sources are also known to cause havoc. Indirect lightning events, power grid switching, and damage to power lines or transformers are all capable of causing power surges in a facility.

Power surges can damage equipment and lead to unexpected downtime. They can be caused by magnetic and inductive coupling from elevators, HVAC systems, variable frequency drives, computers, and more. A recent survey by ESFI and NEMA found that power surges are responsible for over one-third of unplanned outages and downtime in facilities across the country. Nearly three-fourths of facilities experience unexpected downtime multiple times a year because of power surges.

From 2017 to 2023, surge protective devices (SPDs) underwent major changes in the requirements set by the National Electrical Code. These updated requirements ensure that critical areas are protected from power surges, which can cause electronic equipment misoperation and damage, potentially leading to safety risks. A power surge can happen so fast that a typical circuit breaker cannot detect one when it occurs. That is why it’s important to be aware of the causes of power surges and take steps to protect your electrical equipment from potential damage and misoperation. By installing SPDs at key po