The National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices Section (5VS) discusses the severity and effects power surges can have on expensive electronic equipment in the following white papers:
The average person assumes power surge damage is a one-time event. When equipment fails, it’s believed the age or poor quality of the equipment caused the failure. The reality is electrical surge damage can be experienced in a single event or as the result of an accumulation of surges. All electrical equipment is subject to surge damage.
Surging events may be caused externally or internally. Lightning, an external surge, is viewed as the most influential cause of power surges. Insured losses on residential properties exceed $1 billion annually and $4 billion overall. But manufacturers estimate that external surges only account for about 20% of the surging activity within a facility. Internal events can come from utility grid switching, operator errors, operation of contactors, relays, or breakers, switching of capacitor banks, discharge of inductive devices, and starting and stopping of electric loads.
Power surges can damage, degrade, or destroy sensitive electronic equipment resulting in equipment damage, equipment downtime, lost revenues, as well as productivity losses due to downtime. A recent survey reported that the value of lost production was generally between $1,000 and more than $100,000, with the bulk between $5,000 and $50,000. The application of surge protective devices can alleviate a surge’s destructive effects and prevent the replacement of electrical or electronic devices.
Installing surge protective devices in your commercial or industrial facility is a key element to protecting your capital assets in today’s increasingly digitized world. This cost-effective solution prevents downtime, improves your systems and data reliability, and eliminates equipment damage.
For more information on power surges and to review the white papers, visit NEMASurge.org.
ESFI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety at home and in the workplace. For more information and to use ESFI’s free resources throughout your community, visit esfi.org