How to deal with the other download monsters

The monster surge doesn’t just leave you without power, it can also damage your appliances, and insurers are now asking consumers for surge protection if they want to claim for appliances damaged by surges.

South African short-term insurers report a 60% increase in claims for property destruction due to power surges as a result of load shedding.

Some of them now require homeowners to have a surge protective device (SPD) installed if they want to claim for damage caused by a power outage.

This condition is often overlooked and consumers only find out about it when they want to claim.

So Dr Andrew Dickson, engineering executive at CBI-electric: low voltage, warns consumers to check the fine print on their policies to see if this applies to them.

“If you don’t, you could be in for a nasty and costly shock if your home is hit by a power surge.”

ALSO READ: Load shedding wreaks havoc on appliances, leading to spike in thefts

What is a surge?

When electricity is turned back on at a substation after a discharge, it can send a voltage pulse of several thousand volts into the grid.

“The problem is that the average house runs on 230 volts, and when the lights come back on, all electrical items, including lights and appliances, can receive an unexpected voltage spike, followed by a surge in supply current return principal,” he explains. . .

Although this surge only lasts a microsecond, it is enough to cause a point of failure in the equipment that can cause significant damage.

“Although they can be a grudge purchase, SPDs can limit high peak voltages, diverting that extra electricity away from your switchboard.”

SPDs also cost a lot less than a new TV.

Dickson explains that SPDs hold the voltage in the event of a power surge, where the voltage is greater than what a home’s appliances can handle, providing a path to ground where excess voltage is discharged. energy, limiting the excess voltage that spreads into the home and thus keeping the voltage at an acceptable level.

Different SPDs can absorb different amounts of energy and if these levels are exceeded, it could affect the device, which is why all SPDs have an indicator to show the user that they are working or at the end of their life.

ALSO READ: Load shedding can destroy your appliances; here’s how to avoid it

Choosing the right SPD

Dickson says your insurance company will likely prescribe the type of SPD you should use, which is usually a Class 2 SPD installed at the switchboard by a licensed electrician.

It will then prevent surges from spreading within the electrical system and protect whatever is connected to it.

He says you may want to supplement this with Class 3 devices which are usually plug-in adapters at the point of consumption for sensitive electronic devices such as TVs, routers and home entertainment systems.

Consumers should follow the SPD installation requirements in their policies and check appliances and devices after a power outage or storm to see if the indicator still shows they are in good working order.

Dickson warns that consumers need to keep an eye on the SPDs they use as risk mitigation measures as they will eventually fail, especially with Eskom announcing that “prolonged discharge” will continue for the foreseeable future.

With rising inflationary pressure this year forcing South African consumers to cut back on discretionary spending, they cannot afford not to have SPD.

“Not only could this save them having to repair or replace expensive appliances, but it could also protect them from becoming victims of crime when power surges destroy alarm systems and electric fences.”

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