Power Flickers Can Harm Electronic Equipment

June 09, 2017

By Paula Bernier - Executive Editor, TMC

Missouri is one of the states that has been hit hard by severe weather this summer. And the St. Louis Zoo was among the organizations impacted by a storm there earlier this week.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Monday, power was restored in time for the zoo to open at noon on the first work day of this week. Speaking of work, the zoo was reportedly among thousands of businesses and residences in the St. Louis metropolitan area that lost power after a lightning strike during the storm.

All of this is just another reminder that Mother Nature can be unpredictable. Her effects can sometimes result in widespread destruction. In other cases, however, she can let her presence be known through lighting and storms with lighter effects.

That might include some downed tree branches and perhaps temporary electrical interruptions that cause power to flicker. But even seemingly mild effects such as power flickers can wreak havoc on business equipment.

That said, it’s important for business leaders to consider that, and to invest in power protection and UPS systems that will protect sensitive equipment from surges and allow them to be properly shut down to avoid damage or data loss. 

As this article from insurance giant State Farm notes: “Electrical surges can instantly overload and short out the circuitry of home electronics and anything else plugged into the wall, or they can degrade them over time.”

The pieces adds that “Increasing voltage above an appliance's normal operating voltage can cause an arc of electrical current within the appliance, and the heat generated in the arc can cause damage to the electronic circuit boards and other electrical components.”

And it goes on to note that smaller, repeated power surges can eventually lead home or office equipment to stop working entirely.

“These smaller surges can slowly cause damage, so your computer or stereo may continue to function until the integrity of the electronic components finally erode,” State Farm explains. “This shortens the life span of appliances and electronics.”

Edited by Alicia Young

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