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Summer Heat and Storms Can Cause Electrical Surges -- Will You Be Ready When the Power Goes Out?; Hartford Steam Boiler Offers Guidelines To Help Reduce The Risk Of Equipment Damage.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Storms and a heavy demand for air conditioning air conditioning, mechanical process for controlling the humidity, temperature, cleanliness, and circulation of air in buildings and rooms. Indoor air is conditioned and regulated to maintain the temperature-humidity ratio that is most comfortable and healthful.  in summer lead to millions of dollars in equipment losses each year as high-voltage power surges An oversupply of voltage from the power company that can last up to 50 microseconds. Although surges are very short in duration, they often reach 6,000 volts and 3,000 amps when they arrive at the equipment. Power surges are a common cause of damage to computers and electronic equipment.  strike electrical systems in homes, businesses and institutions. Poorly maintained or mismatched electrical equipment A piece of electrical equipment is a machine, powered by electricity and usually consists of an enclosure, a variety of electrical components and often a power switch. Examples of Electrical Equipment
  • Cathodic protection rectifier
  • Fire alarm panel
 adds to the problem of electrical breakdowns Electrical breakdown

A large, usually abrupt rise in electric current in the presence of a small increase in electric voltage. Breakdown may be intentional and controlled or it may be accidental. Lightning is the most familiar example of breakdown.

It's important to take steps to take action; to move in a matter.

See also: Step
 now to protect equipment from damage and prepare for the loss of electric power, advise the equipment specialists at The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB (Hue Saturation Brightness) A color space that is similar to the way an artist mixes colors by adding black and white to pure pigments. The pigments are the hues (H), measured in a circle from 0 to 359 degrees (0=red, 60=yellow, 120=green, 180=cyan, 240=blue, ). The company is offering guidelines guidelines, a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks.
 to help consumers and businesses reduce the risk of equipment losses.

"A power surge can come from many sources," said William Bartley, P.E., a Principal Electrical Engineer for HSB, who works with clients and insurers to help protect and restore electrical equipment. "The most obvious is lightning, but these high-energy pulses can also come from normal utility switching operations, or when a power line falls to the ground during a windstorm wind·storm  
A storm with high winds or violent gusts but little or no rain.


A storm with high winds or violent gusts but little or no rain.
. Surges can come from the outside and inside a building, even from air conditioners Conditioners used on leather take many shapes and forms. They are used mostly to keep leather from drying out and deteriorating.

A very old and widely used conditioner is dubbin.
, motors and pumps, and other equipment."

Surges may result from blackouts as utilities strain to keep up with demand in the peak summer months. In these cases, the damage occurs not when electricity suddenly cuts out, but when it resumes, sending a sudden surge through the lines. Electrical damage also can be caused by voltage sags or longer lasting brownouts which reduce power levels and cause equipment to work harder. These conditions are collectively known as electrical transients and disrupt the quality of power flow necessary for the normal operation of equipment.

How to Protect Property and Equipment

Although there is no way to guarantee that home or business equipment will not be damaged by power surges, properly sized and grounded surge suppression The diverting and/or diminishing of excessive current and voltage from the AC power line, which can damage sensitive electronic equipment. Power surges generally last less than 50 microseconds, but can reach as much as 6,000 volts and draw 3,000 amps when they arrive at the equipment.  systems are the best defense against power spikes from any source. The following guidelines can help protect against equipment breakdowns and related property damage.

--Pull the Plug. Whether it's during or after a storm or power outage Noun 1. power outage - equipment failure resulting when the supply of power fails; "the ice storm caused a power outage"
power failure

equipment failure, breakdown - a cessation of normal operation; "there was a power breakdown"
, the best way to avoid surge damage is to unplug equipment and turn switches off. Once the threat passes or power is restored, plug the equipment back in one piece at a time, starting with units closest to the power source to limit potential damage.

--Install Surge Protection See surge suppression and traffic surge protection. . These devices should be placed inside and outside a building. Utility power lines are not the only path for voltage surges to enter. Telephone lines, computer lines, modems, faxes -- any equipment connected to the outside world can be a source. It is critical that a building have a good, low-resistance grounding system. Consult a licensed electrician.

--Protect Critical Equipment. Computers are not the only equipment risk. Don't forget surge protection devices for each piece of important equipment and all sensitive systems, including communications lines and networks. Households should also protect televisions, home entertainment systems, security systems and similar property.

--Emergency Generators. If you don't have emergency generators, consider a rental agreement A rental agreement is a contract, usually written, between the owner of a property and a renter who desires to have temporary possession of the property. As a minimum, the agreement identifies the parties, the property, the term of the rental, and the amount of rent for the term.  with a dependable local vendor.

--Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). If computer loads or communications systems In telecommunication, a communications system is a collection of individual communications networks, transmission systems, relay stations, tributary stations, and data terminal equipment (DTE) usually capable of interconnection and interoperation to form an integrated whole.  utilize the UPS to continue operating through short-term outages, have procedures for an orderly shutdown shut·down  
A cessation of operations or activity, as at a factory.


the closing of a factory, shop, or other business


shut down
. Usually, the UPS will provide power for 15 to 60 minutes so you can save and protect data.

--Power Outage out·age  
1. A quantity or portion of something lacking after delivery or storage.

2. A temporary suspension of operation, especially of electric power.
 Procedures. Keep written procedures on what to do in a power emergency in a central location. Include emergency contacts, such as electrical and repair contractors.

(Editor's Note Editor's Note (foaled in 1993 in Kentucky) is an American thoroughbred Stallion racehorse. He was sired by 1992 U.S. Champion 2 YO Colt Forty Niner, who in turn was a son of Champion sire Mr. Prospector and out of the mare, Beware Of The Cat.

Trained by D.
: Fact sheet about power surges is attached.)

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company is a global specialty insurer and reinsurer re·in·sure  
tr.v. re·in·sured, re·in·sur·ing, re·in·sures
To insure again, especially by transferring all or part of the risk in a contract to a new contract with another insurance company.
. One of the world's leading equipment breakdown insurers, Hartford Steam Boiler helps clients reduce risk through a unique combination of specialty coverages, engineering-based risk management strategies and loss reduction services. For more information about Hartford Steam Boiler including more detailed information about maintaining and protecting electrical equipment visit its Web site at
Ten Facts About Lightning and Other Power Surges

    1. What Is A Power Surge? An electrical transient, or power surge,
       is a short duration, high energy impulse that is sent through
       a normal electrical power system whenever there is a sudden
       change in the electrical circuit.

    2. Where Do They Come From? Lightning is the most obvious source,
       but power surges also originate from normal utility switching
       operations, or the unintentional grounding of electrical
       conductors such as when a power line falls to the ground. A
       simple example of circuit switching is when you turn a light
       switch on.

    3. Inside Job. Power surges can also come from inside a building
       from air conditioners, elevators, motors and pumps, arc
       welders and other equipment. Whatever the cause, the normal
       electrical circuit is suddenly exposed to a large dose of

    4. How Can A Blackout Cause A Power Surge? It is not the loss of
       power that causes a power surge and equipment loss. The damage
       occurs when electricity resumes, sending a sudden surge of
       power through the lines.

    5. What Can You Do To Protect Equipment? There is no way to
       guarantee that equipment will not be damaged by lightning or
       circuit switching power surges. But properly sized and
       grounded surge suppression systems are the best defense.

    6. The Lowdown On Lightning. People often discuss lightning and
       voltage surges as two distinct phenomena, when lightning is
       just one type of surge. Another form of environmental surge is
       common electrostatic discharge, which can be particularly
       damaging to sensitive electronic equipment. In fact, lightning
       has been described as "a big spark" or static electricity on a
       giant scale.

    7. What Causes Lightning? In the simplest terms, lightning is an
       electrical discharge between positive and negative regions of
       a thunderstorm. Although cloud-to-ground strikes are the most
       damaging and dangerous, lightning can also discharge within
       clouds and from cloud to cloud.

    8. Nature's Light Show. There are about 15-20 million
       cloud-to-ground strikes per year in the U.S. and millions more
       aloft. The heat from an average lightning bolt exceeds 50,000
       degrees F -- three times hotter than the surface of the Sun.

    9. Double Trouble. Lightning does strike twice. It hits the Empire
       State Building an average 15-20 times each year.

   10. Flash, Crackle, Boom! Lightning travels at 90,000 miles per
       second. Thunder is the delayed shock wave created by
       superheated air in the lightning channel. By counting the
       seconds between the flash and the thunder and dividing by
       five, you can estimate the distance to the strike in miles.

Sources: The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
(HSB)/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its
organizations/National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA)/National Lightning Safety Institute
COPYRIGHT 2006 Business Wire
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 8, 2006
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