Why You Should Have a Surge Protector on Your HVAC

A Surge Protector Is a Critical Safeguard

There are many reasons why we plug our electronics and daily appliances into surge protectors. Electrical surges happen all the time. Defined as high-amp, short-duration fluctuations in power, surges can be either internal or external. Most internal surges are too small to notice but can still cause major issues over time. Internal surges are often the byproduct of:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Problematic circuit breakers
  • Defective appliances

External power surges tend to be the consequence of more dramatic issues, such as:

  • Disruptions in the power grid
  • Blown transformers
  • Downed power lines
  • Inclement weather & electrical storms

Whatever the case, surges can cause serious harm to electronics and appliances, including HVAC units. Just like a computer, heating and air conditioning systems need surge protectors too. The ability to provide a steady, uninterrupted electrical current is crucial in maintaining the lifespan of an HVAC system. Unfortunately, power disturbances, brownouts, and blackouts cost homeowners billions of dollars every year. Sudden spikes, dips, and interruptions in electricity can lead to issues with central air conditioning systems that require professional repairs or replacements.

Do not let a hiccup in the power grid endanger your appliance. This is especially wise advice when considering the safety of your HVAC unit, which is likely one of the most expensive household appliances on your property. To avoid costly damages due to unexpected electrical surges, you should be proactive and have one of our professional technicians install a surge protector.

Rising Temperatures & Populations Require More Protection

Many metropolitan regions of the United States have experienced population booms over the last few decades. Strained by the rapid growth, some electrical grids are outdated and overwhelmed. Adding to this pressure is a steady rise in average summer temperatures. Some states are even mandating rolling blackouts on the hottest days of the year when electric reserves become depleted. All these factors create inconsistencies in the power grid that impact every household appliance, including HVAC units.

Power surges cause damage by overloading the capacitor (the part that harnesses electricity), frying the circuit board, or shorting the compressor. Even minor power fluctuations and surges can gradually wear down an HVAC system’s compressor, which performs the pivotal role of circulating refrigerant. Controlling the flow of energy, compressors are expensive and not easy to replace. By creating an arc of electricity around an appliance, power surges can also start fires. This is why we recommend reaching out to our professional team if you are dealing with power surges and lack sufficient surge protection to handle them.

Preventative Measures

If you do not have a surge protector, there are a few actions you can take immediately. It is smart to turn off at-risk, high-amp appliances during lightning storms and/or when not in use. Having electricians and AC experts check for faulty wiring is also highly advised. Nevertheless, none of these measures compare to the security you will reap by investing in a volt surge protector. Since power disturbances can strike any time and wreak major havoc, this is by far the wisest way to protect your central AC unit.

The are many surge protectors on the market. Some protect an entire home from external surges. Others protect a single outlet or device, such as a laptop or PC, from internal and external surges. It is helpful to understand how surge protectors work, and their pros and cons. During a power surge, protectors serve as a pass-through for electricity as it moves through the outlet from the source to the device. By diverting the excess energy to a grounding wire, the surge protector saves the appliance from being blown out. Surge protectors for HVAC systems follow the same formula, channeling surges of energy away from your air conditioner to a grounding wire.

How HVAC Surge Protection Can Save You Money

On average, a modern air conditioner should last 12 to 17 years. However, if constant and/or severe power surges occur, your HVAC unit could become defective much sooner. Given the high cost of purchasing a new AC unit, purchasing a surge protector is a no-brainer. This is particularly true if you do not have the rare type of homeowner’s coverage that insures appliances harmed by power surges.

It is possible to find “surge protectors” that sell for only $10 to $50. However, beware: these will not contain metal oxide varistors (MOVs), which are essential in resisting high voltages. In the $100 to $300 range, you can expect a surge protector to have MOVs that can resist voltage surges at a low threshold. To be safe, we recommend investing in a high-quality HVAC surge protector that costs around $550 or more. Doing so will help you save the large sums of money that would otherwise need to be spent repairing or replacing a unit that was impacted by a major malfunction caused by a power surge.

Regardless of what you decide, hiring an AC & heating company to conduct HVAC repairs, installations, and maintenance is highly suggested. You can rest assured that Northern's One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® is a trustworthy and reputable HVAC company in your area. Our friendly team of professionals can quickly and proficiently install your surge protector.

Don’t hesitate to request an appointment for surge protection services. Give us a call at (763) 284-8639 or contact us online today!