Guarding power quality makes good business sense
When your business depends on equipment reliability, even small power disruptions can have major consequences, including production equipment down time, data loss and even equipment damage.
This was much less of a problem in the past, as older electrical equipment was more tolerant of power quality issues. Minor disturbances don’t affect motors and electromechanical controls.
But that’s not the case with today's electronics. Computers, micro-processors, telecommunications equipment, process controls, robotics and automation demand "clean" power.
The power we deliver meets industry standards for power quality. However, there are occurrences outside our control that can cause your power supply to be disrupted or deviate from normal, such as storms, motor vehicle accidents involving our power infrastructure and animals coming in contact with power lines. Types of power deviations include outages, sags/surges, spikes and “noise.” Here’s more information on each.
|Outage||Planned or accidental total loss of power in a localized area. A blackout is a wide-ranging outage.||Minutes to a few days.||Catastrophic system failure, weather, small animals, human error (auto accidents, kites, etc.).||System shutdowns.|
|Sag/Surge||A decrease or increase in voltage above or below the normal voltage level (also called an over- or under-voltage).||Less than 2.5 seconds.||Heavy load switching, air conditioning, disk drives, transformers and other equipment drawing large amounts of power.||Memory loss, data errors, flickering or dimming lights, shrinking display screen, equipment shutdown.|
|Spike||A sharp, sudden increase or decrease in voltage of up to several thousand volts. Also called an impulse, transient or notch.||1 microsecond to 1 millisecond.||Utility switching operations, on-and-off switching of heavy equipment/office machinery, silicon-controlled rectifier’s, firing, elevators, welding equipment, static discharges, lightning.||Loss of data, burned circuit boards.|
|Noise||A high frequency interference from 7,000 hertz (Hz) to 50 megahertz (MHz).||Usually of constant duration.||Electromagnetic interference, microwave, radar, radio and TV transmissions, arc welding, heaters, printers, thermostats, electric typewriters, loose wiring, improper grounds.||Although generally not destructive, noise can garble or wipe out stored data.|
You can help protect your power quality
The degree of protection you choose should be based on what you stand to lose in the event of power deviation. Here are steps you can take to protect power quality:
- Proper wiring and ground: The most common causes of power quality problems are the simplest. The importance of a good, low-resistance ground cannot be overemphasized. Inadequate wire sizing, loose connections, or dust and dirt from poor maintenance also cause problems. Checking these things is the lower-cost way to prevent or cure power quality problems.
- Dedicated circuits: Critical and sensitive electronics should be on their own independent circuit. This isolates them from power quality problems arising within your facility. A dedicated circuit also prevents overloads.
- Spike suppressors: These help eliminate many sudden changes in voltage but beware: Their capability depends upon the quality of the device purchased.
- Major steps: If uninterrupted, clean power is vital to your business, you should consider taking major steps toward power quality control. These include voltage regulators as well as uninterruptible power supplies or generator sets.
Concerned about power surges and subsequent damage?
Protect your sensitive electronic equipment.
There are many opportunities for electricity disruption as it travels to your house. Power disturbances can occur inside the house, too. With the increased use of personal devices, flat screen TVs, gaming consoles and computers, even the slightest power fluctuations may damage electronic equipment. That’s why proper surge protection is more important than ever.
A two-tiered defense is recommended to ensure power quality protection. The first line of defense consists of installing surge protection at the service entrance; the second line of defense, using plug-in surge protection devices for individual loads.
What causes a power surge?
Lightning, high winds, downed trees or branches, and squirrels and other animals that may come into contact with power lines.
In-home and at the office
Small appliances, washers, fans, air conditioners, refrigerators, power tools, personal devices, flat screen TVs, gaming consoles, computers, printers and scanners.
Faulty, loose or improperly sized wiring, faulty circuit breakers or inadequate grounding.
The whole-house protector protects against surges that could enter your home from the electric service. These surges could be caused by lightning, trees and limbs in power lines, downed power lines, severe weather, or animals coming in contact with power lines, to name a few.
The unit is installed at the service entrance and mounted on the meter can.
It acts like a short circuit during high voltage spikes and an open point during normal power conditions. When the unit detects a high-voltage spike greater than 800 volts, it routes the energy to ground. The unit has an audible alarm and lights to indicate if the protection is still operating. Although the unit is designed to take numerous surges, the life of the unit depends on the severity of the surge that occurs.
No single device can protect the whole house from all electrical surges. The whole-house protector serves as your best, first line of defense against electrical surges. For maximum protection, you should still use what’s commonly known as “surge strips” or “plug-in” protectors as a second line of defense against internally generated surges or surges that may have gotten through the whole-house protector. Damaging surges can also enter your home through direct current voltages associated with cable television, telephone, fax machines and modems. So, we also recommend data communications surge protectors as a third line of defense.
Yes, you may purchase plug-in protectors made specifically for other equipment in your home. For example, computer system protectors that protect the phone line in addition to all electrical lines are available. There’s also a plug-in strip model that protects the electrical and coax lines. Satellite line protectors are also available. When protecting your equipment from surges, don’t overlook any type of connection made to the unit.