In today’s digitally-driven, technology-savvy world, our lives – both personal and professional – have become increasingly dependent on the continuous availability of quality electrical power. From television sets and computers, to data centers and manufacturing equipment, and beyond, being connected to power literally enables our world to function and as our reliance on technology continues, our demand for power that is free of interruption or disturbance will grow.
In many countries, commercial power is made available via nationwide grids, interconnecting numerous generating stations to the loads. And while the electrical grids of most industrialized nations are consistent and reliable, they aren’t infallible. As such, it is important that individuals and businesses understand how they can protect their equipment when issues in the power grid arise.
This spring, Schneider Electric commissioned a power protection quiz that surveyed over 3,000 customers aimed at illustrating how much consumers understand power disturbances and their effect on electrical equipment, as well as identifying misconceptions and providing guidance on power protection.
The good news – most people know their stuff! In general, most of those surveyed understand how power disturbances can affect their equipment. Ninety-seven percent of respondents correctly replied when asked if hardware damage was the only risk during a power surge. Additionally, ninety-eight percent of respondents correctly identified the statement, “Power surges impact electronic equipment even when it is not in use” as true, while only three percent of participants incorrectly answered “true” when qualifying the statement, “Hardware damage is the only risk during an electrical surge.”
Additional findings include:
- Forty percent of respondents incorrectly identified the statement, “Electrical equipment inside your home accounts for the majority of power surges” as true.
- Ten percent of respondents incorrectly identified the statement, “Lighting is the most common cause of a power surge” as true.
It is important to note that power surges – and the equipment failure, downtime, software and data corruption that result – are caused by a problematic supply of power, not by other electrical equipment inside the home or business. Additionally, while lightning can play a part, many power problems originate in the commercial power grid, which, with its thousands of miles of transmission lines, is subject to many weather conditions including hurricanes, snow, ice, and flooding along with equipment failure, traffic accidents and major switching operations. In fact, electrical grid brownouts cause 87 percent of all power problems.
To protect equipment from the potential damage caused by power disturbances, consumers should use surge suppressors or conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies or generators for any and all critical equipment connected to a power or cable/internet source (yes, you read right – surges can travel through data lines as well!). These solutions not only mitigate the potential harmful of effects of surges, and other power quality issues, but enable users to keep equipment up and running for various periods of time – even when power fails completely.
For more information on the different types of power issues that may affect your gear and equipment and how to protect against them, please check out Schneider Electric Whitepaper 18 or my recent blog post, “Six Types of Power Disturbances That Can Trip Up Your IT Systems.”
And lastly, a very big thank you to all those that participated in our surge protection quiz.