Did you know that Florida is our nation’s lightning capital AND, Central Florida is known as lightning alley? Power surges are the silent killer for home appliances and HVAC equipment. Most homeowners protect their electronics, but leave even more important and expensive equipment unprotected. As our stormy season approaches, we’d like to share some tips to help you protect your air conditioning equipment, and other household appliances from the damage caused by lightning and power surges.
The best surge protection involves both arrestors and proper grounding. Grounding is the root of a good lightning protection system. No matter how much you spend on surge equipment, and how much of it you install, it’s only as good as the grounding system you connect it to. Good grounding breaks up the electrical energy of lightning and redirects it safely.
Install Surge Protectors
Installing surge protectors on both your outdoor condensing unit, and indoor air handler provides some protection for your central air conditioning system. These are generally a one shot deal and need to be replaced after they have been compromised by a surge. We recommend you check them regularly. While this option is great for smaller surges, it’s not going to be enough to stop a lightning strike in close proximity to your home.
Install A Time Delay
Protect your air conditioning equipment from flickering power by installing a time delay in your thermostat. A time delay will hold the AC compressor off for 5 minutes before switching back on in the event of a brief power failure. This gives the refrigerant time to equalize so it doesn’t over stress the motor. This is something your favorite licensed HVAC technician can do for you on a service call.
Whole House Surge Protection
Whole home surge protectors are made with metal oxide varistors (MOVs) to control the electrical energy and contain it before the electricity moves throughout your home. Whole-house surge protective devices are typically wired to the electric service box and located nearby to protect all the appliances and electrical systems in a home. They are typically a $200 to $500 add-on. We recommend consulting a licensed Electrician to install the device you choose.
Another whole home option is FPL’s Surgeshield program. Surgeshield installs a device that helps protect your home’s major motor driven appliances, like your air conditioner, refrigerator, water heater, dryer, etc. They offer a warranty that provides up to $5000 per appliance, per occurrence. If you sign up online and use PROMO CODE: AC0372, FPL will waive the installation fee (a $75 value), give you one month free and 10% off the already low monthly fee. $9.95 per month for that kind of peace of mind sounds like a pretty great deal. You can check it out here at www.surgeshield.com. They are now offering Electronics Surge Protection as well. You can bundle it for $14.95 per month.
Do you have a wild power surge story to share? We’d love to hear it!