Protecting commercial electrical systems against surges

  • By Josh Morphew
  • 09 Jan, 2017

Any facility manager or business owner should pro-actively protect their commercial electrical systems against surges. Damage from electrical transients, or surges, is one of the leading causes of electrical equipment failure. Many facilities managers wrongly believe that their systems are too small to experience significant surges that can cause damage, but these surges are not unique to just the 120V+ electrical systems. Low voltage systems such as phone, voice, data, and climate control wiring can also experience surges.

What is an electrical transient surge?

An electrical transient is a short duration, high-energy impulse that is imparted on the normal electrical power system whenever there is a sudden change in the electrical circuit. It can originate from a variety of sources, both internal and external to a facility.

Internal transient surges often go unnoticed, but it occurs on an ongoing basis at most facilities. Internal surges typically only last a millisecond and it is never a single surge that causes damage. It is rather the accumulation of transient surges that occur over a period of time that causes damage to the electrical systems. Heavy machinery, motors, elevators, A/C equipment, and welding equipment are all examples of things which will cause surges in a facility’s electrical systems such as computers as well as automation and control systems.

Externally, utility related surges are more much more common than surges from lighting, for example. Whenever there is a power loss at the utility, there can be a surge of electricity when power is restored. Downed utility lines and other damage to the electrical grid can also result in surges.

How to protect your building from electrical surges

There are various types of surge protection solutions that you can have installed in your electrical service at your commercial building. There are also smaller surge protection devices you can have at the point where each device connects to the electrical system.

The first thing to do is check with your insurance provider on what limitations your policy may carry around damage from electrical power surges. Your next step is to hire commercial electrical professionals who can give you the transparent advice and solutions you need.

Baxter Commercial Services offers detailed upfront pricing, superior craftmanship and personal access to the Baxter leadership team. Contact us for more information about our commercial electrical services in Oklahoma today.

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