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Can You Protect Your Appliances During Load-Shedding?

How can you protect your appliances from power surges and other load shedding side effects?

South Africans will continue to endure load shedding for the forseeable future. It’s just a fact of our lives now. Besides the obvious effects on our economy and quality of life, it has a number of other “side effects” too – like killing your expensive appliances.

Few can afford replacement costs in these difficult lockdown times. So read on and find out what power surges are, what they do to your expensive possessions, and how to prevent damage as much as possible!

What Is a Power Surge?

A power surge is an unexpected increase in the voltage of an electrical circuit. It happens when the flow of electricity gets interrupted, then restarted. It’s temporary, but can be powerful enough to damage or destroy electronics.

The damaging effect is exacerbated when interruptions and subsequent surges are repeated – such as during load shedding, when the power goes off every day at different times.

Surges can range from small (as when you use a hair dryer and a kettle at the same time and overload the outlet) to extremely large (as when lightning strikes a transformer).

power surge lightning strike

Dangers of a Power Surge

Besides the dangers to one’s blood pressure when you have to plan for daily outages, surges can be very dangerous in other ways. Power surges can damage circuitry to the point where it’s a massive fire hazard.

How Can You Prevent Power Surges?

There a few simple steps you can take to protect your appliances during ongoing load shedding – at least, while Eskom sticks to their schedules and doesn’t spring outages on us without warning!

Unplug Your Appliances

If you went “Duh, this is obvious!” when you read this, you’re right. Most of us already know that unplugging before load shedding is a fairly simple solution that can help save your appliances when the power comes back on. AND it can save you electricity.

Related: Save Money (and Your Sanity) With Solar Power

Get Surge Protectors

Surge protectors are devices that contain fuses designed to fail during surges, thus cutting off power to your appliances. This helps to protect your equipment and appliances from having their circuitry fried beyond repair.

These nifty gadgets can help prevent your expensive belongings from surges due to load shedding, and also from general fluctuations caused by the unstable Eskom grid. Do your homework before investing in them, though – cheap ones won’ offer much protection, and good quality ones can be expensive.

Invest In A UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)

The COVID-19 lockdown measures showed us that working from home, at least some of the time, is feasible for many people.  Of course, we need working computers and phones to be able to do this effectively – and bouts of load shedding can make this impossible.

It’s also important to stay in contact with loved ones and colleagues as much as possible, which is difficult when your devices run out of power during hours of load shedding!

A UPS feeds power to devices plugged into it from a built-in battery. It remains charged until needed, and is able to feed power to your electronics if the grid fails. UPSs and other backup devices can keep you productive for hours, depending on the size of the battery and how much power your devices need.

UPSs might not technically protect your devices against the dangers of power surges caused by load shedding – but they protect your communications channels and peace of mind!

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