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Power Surges 101

As a homeowner and smart energy advocate, Cherie is committed to finding new ways to save energy — and money! Through this blog, she shares tips on how to do both.

When most people think of a power surge, they envision a smoking laptop or a blacked-out TV. The truth is that not all power surges immediately destroy your electronic devices. In fact, that’s pretty rare. But, all surges have the potential to cause damage, so it’s important to understand why they happen, what they can do to your electronics, and how to protect your property.

A power surge is a spike in electrical current that can originate from both outside and inside your home.

External power surges can result from things such as lightning, animals interfering with a transformer or a tree limb touching a power line. These types of surges, particularly lightning, cause dramatic spikes in your home’s electrical current and pose a much higher, more immediate risk to your electronics.

Internal power surges are far more common and can occur dozens of times per day. Often caused by the starting up and shutting down of motors in appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners, these smaller surges can slowly damage your electronic devices over time, effectively shortening their lifespan.

Although power surges are impossible to prevent, you can help protect your property with the use of surge protectors. From power strips to whole-house protection, there are numerous types of surge protectors and they range in price, so it’s easy to find the right device to fit your budget.

Unfortunately, even surge protectors aren’t 100 percent effective, so it’s a good idea to protect yourself from the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property. FirstEnergy’s Surge Assist Program provides an inexpensive way to cover some of your home’s most expensive electronics and appliances. For more information, take a look at the Surge Assist product on this site – and enroll today.