A storm a couple of weeks ago caused a power surge and damaged some of your electronics. Your laptop had made it through the ordeal…or so you thought. When you went to go use your laptop computer today all it does is display “Can’t Find Operating System”. Let me attempt to offer an explanation to what may have happened.
“Imagine if you will”(forgive the Twilight Zone quote) a car tire going down the road hits a cement brick. Initially it seems that the tire is okay. Then the steering wheel of your car begins to vibrate. A little at first and more as you continue on. Before you know it the steering wheel is jerking heavily and you pull over nearly ten miles past where you hit the brick.
Damage Isn’t Always Noticed Right Away
When you get out and inspect the tire you notice that the belts inside of the tire have broken. The broken belts have separated completely from the inside of the tire. It’s apparent that within a small distance the tire would have completely blown out causing who knows what other damage.
This is not much different to what can happen when electronics are subject to large external power surges. The initial surge may cause noticeable damage right away or may cause just enough damage that your electronics may continue working for a while and then without warning just give out completely. Sometimes you may get subtle warnings like with the vibrating of the steering wheel. Other times it is like a massive blowout and suddenly things just no longer work.
Whenever there is a large power surge it is possible for some electronics to be damaged while others are seemingly untouched. Power surges can travel in a number of different ways as well. It is possible for a power surge to travel through a phone or cable line for example. This means any electronic device that is connected to your DSL or Cable modem by an Ethernet cable may be vulnerable to the power surge while other electronics are perfectly safe.
The Aftershock May Finish Off The Damage The Earthquake Started
A power surge is like a large earthquake wreaking havoc in its path. What you may not realize is that a power surge has more in common with earthquakes than you think. Aftershocks often cause more damage than the initial earthquake. Buildings are damaged and weakened by the initial earthquake and the aftershock that follows is often what brings the buildings crumbling down to the ground. When a power surge comes through it may not cause your computer or other electronics to stop working. The power surge may cause the damage that allows any minor surge to finish off your devices without future warning.
What you may not know is that your electronics go through dozens of minor tremors every day. A small power surge is created every time there is a major disruption in the power source for your house. This happens every time a major appliance turns on. Dozens of times a day your electronics feel these minor tremors. Normally these tremors are negligible. If damage exists from a power surge from outside these minor surges may be enough to finish off your computer or electronic components. It may take days or weeks but the weakened electronics will eventually fail.
Protecting Yourself From Power Surges
Everyone knows that it is important to protect your electronics from power surges. There are a number of things that a lot of people don’t know when it comes to protecting your computers and other electronics.
- Surge protectors should be replaced every 6 to 12 months and immediately after a known surge
- Uninterruptible Power Supplies(UPS) offer better protection
- All sources of power need to be plugged into a surge protector or UPS(electrical plugs, phone cables, Ethernet cables, and cable connections)
Every type of connection that your computer, television, or other electronic device may use should be directed through a surge protector or UPS in order to keep your electronics safe.
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