Are my appliances safe?

With Eskom switching off power to the municipality, one of the main concerns is: how is this going to affect my appliances?

Power surges occur when the flow of electricity is interrupted, then started again.
Our homes are filled with appliances susceptible to power surges.

Anything containing a microprocessor is especially vulnerable. These tiny digital components are so sensitive that even a 10-volt fluctuation can disrupt proper functioning.

“When power returns after a power cut or outage it is likely to return with a surge. This is because when the power returns every household on the grid draws power simultaneously. This has the possibility of causing in-rush current. This in-rush current causes power surges and leads to your household appliances receiving voltages and waveforms that they wouldn’t normally operate under and aren’t designed to experience,” said Shayne Roberts, managing director at Specialist Electrical Services.

He said appliances that are especially sensitive to this are appliances that contain electronics such as TV’s, laptops, DVD players, DSTV decoders and larger appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.

“Other appliances and equipment suffer as well but this might only become evident after time as they may not be as sensitive to irregular power situations, Shayne explained.

He handed out some advice that in the long run might just keep your appliances running for longer.

“There are various ways to avoid this such as having a surge arrestor installed in your distribution board board. This will limit the amount of surge that goes through your household. Another option is to have a manual change-over switch installed which indicates when the power has returned. This will allow the change-over switch to absorb the surge and you can then safely switch over back to municipal power when it has returned.”

For more information or advice call Shayne: 072 559 1600.

Zita Goldswain
Assistant Editor

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