5 Things your business needs to know about Power Surges & Surge Protection Devices!
- Is it regulation to have surge protection?
- What are the true costs of not having it?
- What types of voltage surges are there and the likelihood of suffering from one?
- How does surge protection work?
- How much does it cost to install surge protection and how long does it take?
In 2019 voltage surge protection became a regulation in the 18th edition British standards BS7671. All new commercial installations must now to have it installed
The same regulations make strong recommendations for the majority of existing installation to have it, particularly commercial premises that would suffer significant loss in the event of a power surge.
Surges occur regularly due to a variety of reasons (as listed in section 3) when they occur the consequences range in severity from reduced lifespan of equipment to complete failure and irreparable damage to all electrical equipment and internal wiring of property. The latter can also cause fire.
Generally, your electrical supplier will not be liable, and your insurance may not cover the cost of replacement equipment. Typical hidden costs are; system downtime, Lost business, Delays to customers, Lost productivity, Staff Overtime.
There are mainly 2 types of surges: –
Caused either externally from lightning strikes up to 1KM away & from problems originating from your electrical supplier! The other type is caused from internal transient over voltage surges (examples below) An Aviva insurance survey found that 35% of voltage surges were caused externally and 65% internally. Changes to our atmospherics over recent years and an ever expanding electrical grid, introduces increased risks
Surge protection comes in 3 types
- (Type 1) Protection from lightning surges. Protects against potential damage as shown in diagram below (very high voltage) This is installed at the beginning of the electrical installation.
- (Type 2) Protection from other forms of surges internal or external surges (lower voltage spike then that produced by lightning) This is installed at each fuseboard.
- (Type 3) Protection against low voltage spikes & should be located adjacent to items that are very sensitive, i.e. servers. These can be user purchased devices that are low cost and can plug directly into a wall socket or extension lead.
- No single type can protect against all 3 scenarios
- Type 1 surge protection is fitted once at the source of the electrical installation. If access to the electrical intake cupboard is an issue, then type1 protection must be fitted to each fuseboard
- Type 2 surge protection must be fitted to each fuseboard (more than 10 metres from any upstream SPDS)
- Type 3 surge protection can easily be obtained by client & plugged into sensitive equipment like servers.
- N.B combined type 1&2 surge protectors can be used in required situations to make install more economical
- Cost to install type 1 & type 2 surge protection can be obtained from Frank & Sons (usually within 24 hours) with the installation being carried out during “Out of hours” to minimise any client inconvenience.
- The time frame to install is generally around 2.5 hours per surge protector
- should a voltage surge be of the magnitude that would cause major damage, there is a potential that after performing its duty, the spd could then need replacing (this will not affect your electrical supply but will render that spd inoperative). For this reason spd’s have to be checked in accordance with regulations during the 5 yearly testing of electrical installations. There is a red light that will illuminate on a failed spd. Frank & Sons Ltd can also fit an audible device to a spd as a warning to client if it ever went out of service. This is an added extra that should be requested at quote stage if required.