What Does a Power Outage Do to Your Appliances?


Stormy weather, service work, and even that sneaky squirrel chewing on the lines can all cause power flickers, fluctuations, and of course outages.  We sit and wait, wondering “When’s the power going to come back on?”

But there’s another question that comes to mind for us and that’s “Is my home protected for when the power does come back on?”

Have you ever noticed that after a power outage, your electronics or even your appliances might not work quite right or in some cases at all?  You might assume that it was the power shutting off, but what can actually damage them is that surge of power when it comes back on.

We’ve heard of horror stories where the power was shut off by the utility company for routine service and when it came back on people’s major appliances were left fried and unusable.  We don’t want that to happen to you, so we’d like to share a few things you can do to protect your home.

But first, let’s start with what’s happening.

Your appliances, especially those with a motor, tend to draw a lot of power. When running normally the power will fluctuate, but there is a max.  When the power surges back on after an outage it typically exceeds that max.  This can lead to arcing, which creates high levels of heat that can potentially damage the circuitry or “fry it.”

Each time this happens, it degrades the circuitry and shortens the life span of your appliances.  The problem is you usually won’t notice it until it’s too late.

So what can you do?

One thing that you should add to your To-Do List when the power goes out, is unplugging anything that you can.  This is the simplest line of defense.


But certain things aren’t so easy to disconnect quickly like your furnace or dishwasher.  And of course there are those times when you aren’t home or asleep.  So what else can you do?

That’s where surge protectors come in.  A surge protector is designed to direct that surge of power to the ground (the electric ground, not the floor), keeping the power at a safe level instead of letting all of it flow into your appliances & electronics.

There are two types of surges protectors.  The first is a point of use surge protector.


These will look like your typical power strip, but it’s important to note that not all power strips are surge protectors.  When choosing a point of use surge protector, you want to look for a higher Joules rating and the lowest response time.  A good surge protector will have a rating higher than 600 Joules and a clamping voltage lower than 400V.

But not everything can be hooked up to a surge protector strip.  To really protect your entire home, it may be worth it to install a whole house protector as well.  This type of surge protector is typically wired directly into your service panel or fuse box.

They’re a bit more expensive, but when combined with point of use strips it can potentially save you thousands of dollars and give you peace of mind next time there’s a storm.

We hope you found this helpful.  If you did be sure to share this with a friend and to subscribe so you know whenever we post something new!

Don’t forget to visit 1stSourceServall.com for any of your appliance part needs.

Written By: Sarah Walker

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