Power supply occurrences (zaps and blinks) that were unnoticed years ago are "reported" today by the digital clocks all around us. There are actually less blinks today than in past years; because of digital technology, we are more aware of them.
The causes of zaps and blinks
Most power quality problems begin right in the home or business. A spike (transient surge) may occur in the building's wiring when electric motors start.
Other problems may come from faulty wiring, loose connections, poor grounding and/or inadequate wire size. These conditions can cause voltage drops, momentary outages (blinks) or electrical noise.
Some of these problems come from outside the building. Lightning, vehicle-power pole accidents, trees and devices built into our system to prevent damage to equipment or injury to people sometime shut off the flow of electricity.
What to do about blinks
Power interruptions can cause data loss in computer systems. If you can't afford to lose the data, consider an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). UPS devices use electricity to charge a battery that "cushions" the computer from blinks. In case of an extended outage, the UPS gives the user enough time to save work and then correctly power down the computer.
Another simple step to prevent loss of large amounts of data is to save work from the volatile memory to disk every 15 to 30 minutes. When purchasing electronics like VCRs and digital clocks, select models with battery or capacitor backup. This prevents time loss in case of blinks and interruptions.
What to do about zaps
Our power lines have lightning arrestors at frequent intervals. This is the first line of defense and works to lessen a catastrophic strike. At least two more levels of protection should be provided at the building.
The first step is to make sure the building's electrical system is properly grounded. Next, install a large appliance surge suppressor at the meter or service entrance panel.
The last step, which also protects against spikes, is a plug-in transient voltage surge suppressor (TVSS). Use a good TVSS on electronic equipment like television sets, stereo equipment, answering machines, computers and VCRs. Fleming-Mason Energy, through our Homeguard System, carries a complete line of high-quality large appliance suppressors and plug-in TVSS.
Contact our Member Services department to get any questions answered about protecting your home through our Homeguard System.
Looking for a TVSS
The TVSS you choose should bear the words "Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor" or "TVSS." It should also have a UL Standard 1449 rating. Better units have a let-through voltage of 330 volts or less. Look for three stages of protection and 1 picosecond or less response time.
Other good features include three-line protection. noise rejection and damaged equipment replacement guarantees.