Spring Showers Bring Power Surges
Category : Product News
Electrical power surges and disturbances happen — especially during this time of year. While we may wish to cross our fingers and hope for the best, it’s important to recognize that power issues will happen and understand their impact in order to deploy the best solution to protect your facility.
Power surges occur from many different sources. The most familiar source is lightning, though it’s one of the least common causes. It may be surprising, but the majority of power quality issues originate from the customer’s side of the meter. Research indicates that approximately 80% of a facility’s power quality problems come from internal sources such as electric motors, HVAC systems, lighting, welders, variable frequency drives and other switching devices. The remaining 20% are transient surges generated externally. These tend to receive more attention because they are more immediately destructive while internal surges slowly degrade electronics, which can disrupt productivity.
Transient surges are very short in duration, but very high in energy, and have the ability to destroy a facility’s sensitive electronic equipment. For this reason, it is important that the proper protection is in place to reduce or eliminate equipment damage – especially during the Spring and Summer months when electrical storms are prevalent. It’s important to note that while transients can get induced on virtually any copper wire within a facility, like power lines, often overlooked low voltage data lines (network cables, telephone wires, fire alarm panels, etc.) can be impacted.
A single surge protective device (SPD) is typically not enough to ensure reliable power to your facility. Due to the numerous sources and types of power disturbances, maintaining power quality requires a multi-tiered approach.
- Service Entrance AC Panel: All facilities that employ mission-critical electronic equipment should have a properly sized SPD installed at the main electrical service entrance. Surge protection connected to the incoming power line provides the first line of defense against transient surges caused by external factors such as nearby utility grid switching, lightning or other power disturbances.
- Distribution Panel AC Power: A quality SPD connected to key distribution panels throughout the facility provides a second level of protection. It also provides a first line of defense against the repetitive internal surge events cause by motor load switching, capacitor bank switching and other internally generated surges. If not properly protected, today’s highly sensitive electronic devices will degrade from repetitious surge damage and eventually will fail.
- Branch Panel AC Power: Dangerous power disturbances can exist anywhere in a facility. In order to be fully protected, surge protection should also be installed at specific sensitive loads or anything drawing an AC current. IEEE Emerald Book recommends surge protection at critical branch panel-boards, and at specific sensitive loads, including uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), or other mission-critical equipment found within a facility.
SolaHD, a French Gerleman partner, has an excellent Power Quality Guidebook that breaks out scenarios of power failure and what product they recommend for each. This is an extremely helpful guide and takes a lot of the fear out of the process.
We stock a full assortment of SolaHD products and would be happy to help you identify the proper surge protective devices and power conditioning solutions to provide clean, uninterrupted power to your facility. To help you get started, download SolaHD’s Checklist for Surge Assessment.
Ask your French Gerleman representative for information on how you can protect your facility against the surges caused by April Showers!