Very often we experience voltage fluctuations,flickering lights and other electrical disturbance like blackout etc. Many times these disturbances cause small and big damages to our electrical appliances and systems.
There are various kinds of electrical disturbances. It will be very helpful if you understand the common electrical disturbances and their causes so that you can take preventive actions beforehand and save your electronics and electrical equipment from damages and breakdowns.
The common electrical disturbances that you encounter at your home (but might not know what the disturbance is exactly called) are:
A surge is a condition when there is a sudden increase in the voltage level above the designated or say normal level. Under this condition high tech equipments like computers , microwave etc. suffer flickering light or shut down.
Cause: The most common cause of a surge is turning off of heavy equipments like Air conditioner, electric motor etc. that usually draw large voltage when in operation. Turning them off causes disturbance in the steady voltage level in the electrical system causing power surges. Other causes can be lightening, faulty wiring or uneven flow of power due to some failure in the power lines and transformers etc.
Prevention: Use of surge suppressor, voltage regulator, UPS(Uninterrupted power supply) at home.
A spike occurs when there is a sudden and very large increase in the voltage level.
Cause: This usually occurs at the time of lightening or storms.
Prevention: It can be prevented by plugging the electronic device into suppressors or power conditioners. The suppressor or conditioners absorb the excess voltage and pass it to the ground line and thus saving electrical equipments from excess voltage damage.
Power sages are opposite of power surges. They occur when there is a sudden decrease in the voltage level below the designated level for a duration of o.5 cycles to one minute’s time.
Cause: The common cause of this disturbance is switching on of the heavy appliances like motor or refrigerator or Air conditioner which require large start up power. Other reasons can be failure on the power lines and transformers.
Prevention: Like surges, sag can be prevented by using voltage regulators and power conditioners.
A brownout occurs when there is a steady decrease in the voltage level. You must have noticed it a lot during peak summer times when the voltage is too low causing dim light from bulbs and difficulty in turning on the AC or Television. Due to brownout the devices shut down.
Cause: During peak load times (especially during summer when the power requirement is extremely high) the power companies reduce the voltage level to limit the power level.
Prevention: Use UPS and voltage regulators to prevent devices from voltage fluctuations.
It is a situation of no power at all i.e. Zero voltage condition. In simple language “absence of electricity“.
Cause: It can be due to tripping of circuit breaker or complete failure of power lines.
Prevention: Use inverters or generators at the time of no power.
The electrical disturbances sometime cause heavy damage and loss of property. But by installing the correct and effective preventive measure electrical devices can be protected in many such conditions.