Shield Your HVAC: Is Your System Safe From Power Surges?

electrical storm depicting hvac surge protection

HVAC units play a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being and comfort of those residing in modern structures. Nevertheless, they are susceptible to the detrimental impacts of power surges. Such surges, commonly triggered by lightning, power outages, or variations in the electrical grid, send an abrupt influx of electricity that can harm essential parts like compressors, fan motors, and control boards. The consequences of these surges range from expensive repair needs to the potential necessity of replacing the entire HVAC system. Thus, safeguarding these systems with HVAC surge protection and adhering to optimal electrical safety protocols is paramount.

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Does Your HVAC System Have Adequate Protection Against Power Surges?

Posing this question often implies a lack of surge protection for your HVAC system. Call a seasoned HVAC professional to evaluate and fortify your system against these electrical anomalies. With their expertise, they can offer the most suitable recommendations and enhancements to safeguard your system, preparing it for any unexpected power surges and outages. 

Understanding Power Surges

lightning storm and power lines causing brownout

A power surge is a sudden increase in electrical voltage above normal levels, often caused by lightning strikes, power outages, or large appliances turning on or off.

Despite lasting just a moment, a power surge can significantly damage electronic devices by overwhelming their sensitive components, leading to minor issues or total breakdowns.

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Differentiating Between Power Surge, Power Outage, and Brownout

While power surges, power outages, and brownouts are interconnected as electrical power supply complications, they each signify distinct issues. Here’s a concise breakdown of what each term entails:

  • Power Surge: This phenomenon involves a rapid and momentary spike in electrical voltage, generally enduring just a fraction of a second. It can be triggered by various factors, such as lightning strikes, power outages, or the activation of high-powered electrical equipment. The intensity of a power surge poses a risk of damaging electronic devices and appliances. Consequently, using surge protectors is widely advised as a safeguard measure.
  • Power Outage: This term refers to an interruption in the electrical power supply to a specific building or area, leading to a total cessation of power. Various factors can precipitate a power outage, such as extreme weather conditions, equipment malfunctions, or planned maintenance activities. 
  • Brownout: Characterized by a decrease in voltage within an electrical power supply, a brownout leads to observable effects such as dimming or flickering lights and diminished power to appliances. Brownouts may stem from several causes, including an overwhelming demand on the power grid, failures in electrical equipment, or issues specific to the electrical infrastructure of a building or region.

HVAC Components Affected By A Power Surge

Control Board

hvac control board

At the heart of your HVAC system lies the control board, often considered its “brain.” A surge-induced impairment can disrupt the control board’s crucial link with the thermostat, leading to the HVAC system’s malfunction. This breakdown may manifest as inefficient heating or cooling, directly impacting your comfort, especially during periods of extreme temperatures. 

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The capacitor is an oval-shaped device that acts as a reservoir for electrical charge, essential for powering the system’s electrical components. However, the capacitor is at risk of damage when a surge occurs. This can lead to operational challenges, disrupting your HVAC system’s smooth and efficient functioning. 

Compressor Motor

air conditioner compressing unit

The compressor motor, a box-like structure with protruding wires, is crucial in an HVAC system, compressing low-pressure, cool refrigerant to increase its pressure and temperature.

This motor, the system’s heart, is prone to power surge damage. Its many wires, converting electrical to kinetic energy, can overheat and potentially combust during a surge. Damage to the motor compromises its function, leading to the compressor’s inefficiency or failure.

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Relay Switch

The relay switch in your HVAC system plays a critical role in activating or deactivating certain high-voltage components. A key feature of most relay switches is the electrical contactor, which is surrounded by a coil. This coil risks burning out during a power surge if the voltage exceeds a safe threshold. Such damage can lead to a break in the circuit and cause the relay switch to malfunction. 

HVAC Surge Protection: What To Consider

things to consider depicting  hvac power surges and prevention

Consider these preventive measures to mitigate the risk of power surges, which can lead to substantial damage and expensive repairs or replacements for your HVAC system:

  1. Install Surge Protectors: Implementing surge protectors safeguards your HVAC system from unexpected power surges. They can be installed directly on your HVAC unit and electrical panels, offering an additional defense layer against electrical spikes.
  2. Unplug Appliances During Storms: Disconnect your HVAC system and other appliances in the event of thunderstorms or severe weather conditions. This precautionary measure can significantly lower the risk of damage from lightning-induced surges or other power fluctuations.
  3. Utilize High-Quality Wiring: Opting for superior-quality wiring and components is essential in preventing surge-related damage to your HVAC system. Engaging a certified electrician for the installation guarantees that the setup meets the highest standards.
  4. Regular HVAC System Maintenance: Consistent upkeep of your HVAC system helps mitigate the risks of power surges. This maintenance routine should encompass cleaning or replacing air filters, monitoring refrigerant levels, and conducting thorough inspections of electrical connections. 
  5. Invest in a Whole-House Surge Protector: Consider installing a whole-house surge protector to extend protection beyond just your HVAC system. This device, connected to your home’s main electrical panel, offers comprehensive coverage against power surges for all appliances and systems within your home. 
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Caution Regarding HVAC Warranties and Power Surge Damage

Standard HVAC warranties usually don’t cover power surge damages. Homeowners’ insurance may provide some help, but proving surge-related claims is often difficult, especially for gradual damage. Homeowners might have to pay for repairs or replacements due to lightning, overloaded circuits, or appliance issues.

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HVAC systems represent a significant investment and are indispensable for maintaining your home’s comfort. To safeguard this investment, it’s imperative to adopt measures that prevent damage from power surges. Investing in such preventative strategies is far more economical than facing the burden of costly repairs or replacements. Depend on the expertise of trusted HVAC professionals to guide and assist you in implementing these protective measures.

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Reach Out to R.F. Ohl for Comprehensive HVAC Solutions

R.F. Ohl stands as the premier heating and cooling service provider in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Our team, composed of professionally certified technicians, specializes in a wide array of HVAC services, like routine tune-ups, meticulous repairs, professional installations, and thorough replacements. We are committed to delivering top-notch service every time, ensuring your system functions at its best.

We pride ourselves on offering the region’s most cost-effective heating and cooling solutions. Synonymous with quality and affordability, R.F. Ohl’s tune-up services can improve comfort and energy efficiency, helping lower your home’s heating and cooling expenses. Our knowledgeable team is equipped to recommend the optimal HVAC system tailored to your residential or commercial requirements while adhering to your budget. 

We stand behind our work with a satisfaction guarantee. Contact R.F. Ohl today to arrange your service appointment and experience our exceptional service firsthand. Call now for expert HVAC care!

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