Power Surge Protection and Use of a Surge Arrester

Burning electrical outlet - Kelowna electrical services | Krueger Electric

Power surge protection can help protect your home from sudden increases in voltage that would otherwise cause damage to electrical devices (i.e: fridge, T.V, computer, etc.)

For example, if there is a lightning strike that hits your home or nearby electrical lines, the energy from this strike could send over 169 volts of destruction into the electrical appliances within your home.

This voltage will likely increase the operating voltage of these appliances, cause an arc of electrical current within the appliance, and generate heat causing damage to the circuit boards and pieces within the appliance itself.   

In a critical scenario, this heat could create an electrical fire. The following types of safety equipment ensure that you will have optimal power surge protection against fires and damage to your electronic appliances. 

Surge Protector | Krueger Electric

TVSS (transient voltage surge suppressor)  

TVSS is the most common type of electrical safety devices. It is a very fast switch that protects your equipment from AC (alternating current) power line surges.

Although the TVSS doesn’t save energy, the number of TVSSs sold as energy-saving devices has dramatically increased in recent years. This trend may reflect greater consumer interest in energy conservation, but the fact remains: the only function served by a TVSS is to protect sensitive equipment from surges.

It guards against power system transients, commonly known as spikes or surges. Various things cause these spikes, but lightning is the most common cause. Nothing can guarantee total protection from a direct lightning hit, but one type of TVSS (lightning arrester), installed at the main service entrance, provides the best power surge protection.

Surge Arrester - Kelowna Electrician | Krueger Electric

Surge Arrester  

A surge arrester functions as a barrier against lightning current, and, in contrast, a surge absorber takes on the energy of the lightning current. The energy that surpasses the first line of defense, the surge arrester, will ultimately be absorbed by the surge absorber. 

When a high voltage pulses through the surge arrester, it loses its’ insulating property and starts containing the voltage within it. The surge absorber dissipates the uncontained voltage across a bank of resistors (two-terminal electrical components), creating heat.  

There is also another type of electrical safety equipment similar to the surge arrester. The surge protector has the same function as a surge arrester but is used to protect domestic and consumer electrical equipment whereas the surge arrester is for large-scale protection (medium to high voltage).  

Surge Absorber - Electrician in Kelowna | Krueger Electric

Surge Arrester vs. Surge Absorber  

Contrary to popular belief, a surge absorber (aka surge suppressor) and surge arrester work together. A surge arrester directs the above voltage surge to the ground while a surge absorber soaks the energy up and re-emits it as heat. 

Think of a surge arrester as a large powerful device on electrical lines, but rather it is something that is small like a spark gap which is a simpler type of surge arrester. This spark gap needs to be connected to a conductor in the ground which enables the electrical current going through to be radiated.  

A connected spark gap is a wire running from an energized wire to the ground but interrupted by a gap. If voltage rises above normal in the energized wire, the air (or some gas) between the gap will break down and a spark will jump to the ground! 

This happens when lightning impacts a power line and most of the bolt’s energy is diverted to the ground through this spark gap; a fraction of the energy will still go down the power line and secondary things like a surge absorber (aka surge suppressor) should be able to soak up the rest of the energy. 

Sometimes, a higher quality brand of surge absorber (such as Belkin) also includes a very small arrester as part of the retail package. 

Having both a surge arrester and surge absorber will ensure you have optimal power surge protection

At Krueger Electric, we understand the importance of using surge protectors and surge arresters throughout your home to help protect your home against power surges. 

Connect with us today to ensure you have the best quality power surge protection!


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