What is a Power Surge?

A power surge occurs when there is an unexpected spike in the current or voltage in an electrical circuit. These surges generally exceed the amount of volts that should be entering your home at any given time, which can cause serious damage to your electrical devices and appliances.

What Causes a Power Surge?


  • Power line and transformer disruption usually caused by fallen tree branches, storms, lightning (huge power surge!), or something (usually a small animal ) gets into the transformer 
  • Power surges also occur when the power turns back on after an outage
  • Some power surges occur inside the home, usually from high powered devices such as  air conditioners, fridges, and power tools.
  • Bad/ old wiring

Here's What a Power Surge Looks Like

  • Power surges range from large to small. If you are experiencing a large power surge event (Lightning hitting a power line) then you may encounter some of these issues: 

    • Fried/broken appliances
    • Melted appliances and devices
    • Blown fuses
    • Damaged electrical outlets
    • Electrical fires

    Large power surges are thankfully rare, but they do happen and they are devastating and dangerous. 

    Smaller power surges, however, happen more often and although they do not cause immediate damage like large power surges, they do cause damage overtime and you may not even notice any damage is occurring until your appliance suddenly stops working one day. 

    If you are experiencing a smaller power surge event you may encounter these issues: 

    • Flickering lights 
    • Device and appliance degradation (electrical rust)
    • (after many small power surges) device and appliance failure 

    The unfortunate thing about these small power surges is that you might not even realize they are occurring.

    So whether small or large, it’s important to keep your home safe from these power surges. Let’s have a look at all the actions you can take to minimise the risk of these surges. 

Protecting Your Home Against Power Surges

  • Unplug appliances unused devices: Your devices will not be damaged by surges if they are not connected to the grid, go ahead and unplug your unused devices. This will protect your home and save on energy. 
  • Upgrade old and inadequate wiring: Have your lights ever flickered when your refrigerator turned on? This could be a sign of inadequate wiring, have a chat with your local electrician and see if an electrical upgrade is right for you.
  • Unload your overloaded circuits: Do you have a power strip full of plugged in devices? Do you have two large appliances plugged into the same circuit? Have you even turned on your vacuum and then immediately tripped your breaker? Your circuits may be overloaded, have an electrician come in and help you plan out dedicated circuits for appliances. 
  • Attach surge protectors to your appliances: Surge protectors are small devices that you can plug your appliances into, they work to divert any extra energy away from your appliances. Surge protectors look like power strips but they are different, power strips provide energy. Surge protectors provide energy and protect your appliances from surges. 
  • Have a whole-home surge protector installed: Whole home/ whole house surge protectors are installed by a licensed electrician and attached to your electrical panel. They instantly block surges from entering your home.

Do you need a whole house power surge protector installation done?

How about that wiring you have been meaning to upgrade?

Or maybe you need more advice on surge protection? 

At CBS Electrical, we service the Greater Victoria and Nanaimo areas on Vancouver Island and we are experts on surge protection and electrical commercial and residential upgrades. Give us a call and let’s get started! 

Learn more about our electrical services for residential.

Got a bigger project in mind? We perform electrical commercial upgrades as well.

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