When we talk about electricity outage and the damage it can cause, it’s usually not the power outage itself that causes the most problems. Usually, household appliances (TV, microwave, or others) are able to handle the temporary loss of power without major repercussions.
However, when it comes to devices that actively write data, such as computers, network-attached storage (NAS) devices, and routers, things get more complex. A sudden black out can, in fact, lead to a more or less significant loss of data and al more or less serious damage to the device. Therefore, it is important to take the right precautions.
How blackouts can damage electronic devices
The greatest risk is not attributable to the blackout as to the irregularities that can occur when power is restored. While the sudden power loss could cause some discomfort, such as firmware update failure, these are rare and limited to a single device. Voltage peaks, on the other hand, can give rise to damage extended to several devices.
When power is restored, you may experience a current spike, a voltage spike, or both. THE voltage peaks they are usually caused by lightning, power grid fluctuations, or electrical equipment malfunctions. They can damage equipment by exceeding the maximum operating voltage of sensitive components.
Elsewhere, i current peaks they are typically associated with equipment on or off events. They tend to be more harmful and can cause failures that lead to system downtime.
Fortunately, the companies that supply electricity are committed to minimize the risk of voltage spikesbut one should not rely on this principle alone.
How to protect your devices from a power outage
The simplest and most effective way to protect computers, game consoles and other electronic devices from a blackout is to use a uninterruptible power supply (UPS). There are units of various sizes, from the smallest capable of powering a few energy-efficient devices, up to the largest to cover the entire house.
A UPS works like a large battery that powers electronic devices in the event of a blackout. We recommend using one for each electronic device, including routers and smart TVs
To fully protect your home from power outages, you may want to consider using lithium-ion battery banks (such as Tesla Powerwall and similar products). However, this option can be quite expensive, running up to $15,000 or more. It’s also not practical for those who rent or live in apartments.
Protect against power surges with a surge protector
When the power goes out, there’s an easy way to protect your devices from electrical surges: unplug the power cords. While it’s not necessary to unplug everything during a small brownout, it’s a great opportunity during a blackout.
Not only does unplugging your devices prevent damage from power surges when the electricity returns, but you could also save energy and money on bills managing to identify energy vampires.
However, to protect electronic devices from overvoltages, you don’t have to settle for a cheap “power strip”. On the contrary, it is good to invest in an adequate “surge suppressor”, which is an electrical device designed to protect equipment from voltage peaks and bring them to safe levels. While they may cost more, the expense is negligible compared to the cost of replacing all devices once they are damaged beyond repair.
A surge voltage suppressor works by limiting the voltage supplied to an electrical device by blocking or shorting any unwanted voltage above a safe threshold to ground
Plug protectors and strip protectors are both classified as Type 3 suppressors, which means they offer point of use protection. While strip-style surge suppressors are the most common, plug-in ones are a great option for larger appliances like washers and dryers.
The power of surge suppressors for the whole house
There’s one last solution to protect not just the devices plugged into individual surge suppressors, but everything in your home: a home surge protector. There are two types, but in both cases, it is recommended to use a type 3 socket with sensitive electronic devices.
And type 1 surge arrester it is applied to the power entry point into the house at the meter. It looks like an extension of the meter module and is located between the meter and the housing. This type of device only prevents those that come from the electric grid (and not those from inside the house).
The price will be in the region of €, plus the labor cost of a qualified electrician, for the installation who will be familiar with the local electricity utility regulations regarding Type 1 systems.
These systems are significantly more powerful than any single surge protection device, even the most rugged. Hence, they are worth considering if you live in a place prone to frequent power outages
And type 2 surge suppressorwhich costs around €100-250 with the additional expense of a qualified electrician, is installed inside the house and has a shape that ranges from the giant wall-mounted transformer to the mini electrical panel.
Type 2 systems help protect against surges from outside the home (although not as comprehensively as a Type 1 system) and surges generated by things inside the home, such as those created by building air conditioning systems. air or from defects in the general electrical system.