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Keeping Electronics Safe During Severe Weather Season

  • May 26, 2015
  • Bradley Taylor

We all enjoy the longer days and pleasant weather of the late spring and early summertime months.  In stride with the warm weather, come the chances of strong thunderstorms.  Heavy rains, tornadoes and lightning place your expensive equipment at high risk.  When the lights dip down for an instant and flick back on, it is the critical moment of truth for anything with a power plug.  Although you breathe a sigh of relief because the moment was not long enough to make you reset all the clocks, a power lull can be one of the most harmful conditions to any electronic device, most notably your computers and home entertainment equipment.

Heavy demand of the power grid during hot days for high voltage cooling units places a major strain on public utilities when factored in with overwhelming residential demand at the same time.  This causes the level of current to dip up and down in chaotic function.  The effects are reflected with a condition called transients or dirty power. Logic controlled circuitry requires a consistent level of electricity to run in the proper timing frequency.  At one of these crucial moments when it lags, you may be exposed to a system crash.  Most often, damaged data errors may occur or critical files become lost, adding to the nuisance factor.   

Power outages may vary by season, and can last from minutes to hours, even days depending on the magnitude of the incident.  In the warmer months, severe weather related events are the most typical culprits.  It is most important to have a power strip with surge protection capabilities on all critical electronics.  It is additionally important to have an uninterrupted power supply for your desktop computer and home entertainment rigs.   If the power does indeed go out, you have the ability to gracefully shut down your computer automatically without problems.  With battery backup, you can prevent disruptions, lost dvr recordings and system presets.  Poorly conditioned power is also related to lowered sound and video quality.  These problems are eliminated with the noise filtering properties of an uninterruptable power supply as a protection circuit in line.

With over 100 million volts and temperatures pushing 50 thousand degrees Fahrenheit, a lightning strike can be devastating!  They happen anywhere at any time.  Right now there are 80 to 100 lightning strikes per second happening worldwide!  The United States encounters approximately 25 million strikes per year.  Instant obliteration happens when one of these violently spike the lines.  Even phone and cable lines are susceptible.  Teach kids not to use gaming consoles during thunderstorms, they may become damaged or destroyed.

According to the National Weather Service, the United States experiences over one thousand tornadoes per year, the most occurring from April to June.  Wind forces typically exceeding 275 miles per hour, tornadoes are one of the most violently powerful storms on the face of the Earth.  Trees, telephone poles and power lines are no match to a wild vortex rampaging across the terrain.

When storms hit, make sure you are covered.  Check all of your power strips and make sure they are of the surge protection variety.  Ensure that the battery in your uninterruptable power supply is functional and holds a charge.  The indicator panel will often show the battery level and may emit a beeping tone if it needs service.  Swapping the battery is easy work and will only take a few minutes.   Usually only a single screwdriver is needed to remove the housing case.  Unclip the terminal connectors and lift it out.  Most office supply or specialty battery stores have them in stock.  They will often be able to recycle the used one properly for you.  If ordering online, be sure to measure the dimensions and double check the connector type.

With only a little bit of extra time to inspect your setup, and having the added insurance of power protection for your electronic investments, you can be secure knowing that your high tech devices are safe when bad weather arrives.