Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

What Can Be the Effect of Power Surges on Your HVAC Unit?

Because HVAC units are the biggest consumers of electricity in a typical home, the potential effects of power surges are important to be aware of. The central air conditioner is dependent on the power grid to cool your house. Electric furnaces also need it to generate warmth.

Normal electric power in a house may vary within certain limits. However, when the surge of power exceeds a specific maximum, the home’s electrical system, as well as everything connected to it — including the vital circuits inside your HVAC components — may be at risk. A power surge may originate from external sources or inside the home itself.

Variations in power on the electrical grid are an example of an external source.

  • Trees falling on electrical wires, lightning strikes during storms, or other incidents often damage power surges.
  • A malfunctioning utility transformer in the vicinity can also send damaging high voltage through the system and into your house.
  • If a widespread power outage has occurred for some reason, a brief surge may occur when the local utility first restores power.

More than 60% of damaging power surges actually originate inside the house.

  • A power surge may be related to faulty or outdated wiring in the home that can no longer handle today’s electrical demands.
  • When appliances and other devices that incorporate powerful motors — such as the compressor in the central AC — start up or shut off, an electrical surge may pass through house circuits.

To protect HVAC components from damaging surges, consider these alternatives:

  • Whole-house surge suppressor. Installed at your home’s main power panel, this device continuously monitors electricity entering the house from the utility grid. If a surge is detected, the suppressor instantly blocks the high voltage to protect components inside the home.
  • Point-of-use protection. Installed to guard individual components that draw large amounts of power — such as a central AC and/or an electric furnace — these units also guard against damaging surges that originate inside the house.

For more advice about keeping your HVAC components safe from power surges, contact the professionals at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.