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Implementing Quality Surge Protection


There is little, if anything, you can buy today that does not have some electronic component. Even clothing as wearable electronics are starting to take hold. Not to mention a device (http://www.makeymakey.com) that allows you to make a keyboard from bananas. So, it’s time to take a look at making sure your electronics last as long as possible. I’m not talking about replacement plans or extended warranties. Today we’re talking about protecting your products from electrical surges. The first order of business is to define a surge. Here’s


one from Computer Hope (http://www.computerhope.com/ jargon/s/surge.htm) on the ‘Net. “Alternatively known as a line surge, a surge is an unexpected increase in voltage in an electrical current that causes damage to electrical equipment. For example, the standard United States voltage is 120V. If an electrical current above this rating was to come through a power outlet for more than three nanoseconds, this would be considered a surge, anything less is considered a spike. A surge is usually created by lightning and can damage unprotected


computers and sometimes even protected


computers.” Many people think a blink from Harmon Electric’s system is a surge, but these are generally caused by something like a tree contacting a line. In such cases, the system’s protective devices work, causing an interruption to protect the wires and other components. These are not surges, but more like turning a light on and off. True surges will enter a home through any number of avenues. The most obvious is through the power lines. Less obvious is through the telephone lines, cable/satellite connections, water lines and any other metallic system that connects to your home. So, to protect against surges, you need to take a three-pronged approach. Perhaps the most important thing to do is to be sure all the grounds in your home are good and that they are


There are many ways that Harmon Electric provides you with safe, reliable electric service. One of the most common, and crucial, ways is referred to as right-of-way clearing (vegetation management). Specifications can vary, but a general guideline of maintaining a safe ROW is 15 feet of clearance on either side of the primary conductors and 20 feet of overhead clearance above the highest wire on the pole. Clearing the ROW is critical to keeping our members’ lights


on. ROW clearing also keeps your family safe by ensuring that tree branches do not become energized due to close contact with a downed power line. Power lines can carry up to 34,500 volts, and an energized tree branch is incredibly dangerous - even deadly. Be mindful when around trees close to power lines. And make sure your children know that climbing trees near power lines is extremely dangerous. ROW clearing is also critical to ensuring that we provide members with affordable electricity. Staying ahead of the game keeps us from having to come out after a storm to restore power due to fallen trees. Remember to contact Harmon Electric if you decide to trim or remove trees near any power service or line. And never trim a tree in the right-of-way zone on your own.


bonded together. Over the years, grounds can deteriorate, new services can be added with inadequate grounding and so forth. A faulty ground will allow surges into the home rather than bleeding them off into the earth. Get a qualified electrician to test and correct your grounding system. Next, protect your electrical service entrance with a surge device. The easiest to install are those mounted behind the meter. They can also be mounted at the main electric panel. When a


surge travels down the


electric lines, these devices will act to “clamp” the surge and reduce its power. These are sacrificial devices that allow themselves to be destroyed rather than allowing the surge to pass through. Noble devices indeed!


The third prong is to protect expensive devices at their point of use. Computers and entertainment equipment are prime examples. Remember that surges can enter the home via avenues other than the power lines. Computers and entertainment equipment are frequently connected to cable and phone lines. Those devices need to have protection at the point of use that covers all possible avenues. These are generally in the form of a power strip or wall device most of us are familiar with. Use a quality product from a manufacturer such as Monster, Belkin, Tripp Lite, or APC, to name a few. Look for one with a joule rating of at least 1,000, a connected equipment warranty and compatibility with digital signals from cable and satellite. While you are at it, look for a “smart” strip that turns off all but one connected device when not in use. Save money on your electric bill while protecting your equipment. It’s a definite win-win. 637600


CLEARING FOR RELIABILITY


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