Voltage surges are unpredictable, momentary increases in voltage. Typically, lightning, inductive switching, or power switching cause surges, which can damage the insulation in building wiring, electrical appliances, or electronic equipment.
Power surges, which can create havoc with today's highly sensitive electrical and electronic equipment, are an unavoidable fact of life. Power surges, both voltage and current, are occurring continually in today?s power systems.
Whether they occur naturally, such as from lightning and static electricity; or are man made, such as inductive surges from motor, transformers, solenoids, etc. power surges are a fact of life. These power surges have a very high voltage and current level as compared to electrical noise.
Recent developments in electronic designs have tended toward smaller and higher density packaging of circuitry. This results in a greater susceptibility to surges. Once attacked by a surge, electronic circuits can be destroyed in as short as 0.1 psec. Electrical power is a driving force behind today's economy.
As such, electricity is used to power engines, machinery, computers, and to light millions of homes, offices and buildings. Unfortunately, the electrical genie is not something that is always neatly bottled or controlled.
As a result, electrical outages, brownouts, transient voltages and power surges have become commonplace. Although many electrical problems have their root in external causes such as lightning, utility grid switching, or line slapping (to name a few), most are caused by factors inside our homes and offices.
In reality, as much as 80% of today's electrical problems can be traced to the activities of such harmless devices as elevators, air conditioners, vending machines, copiers, and large computers.
In fact, even something as simple as turning lights on and off will cause surges of power and transient voltages.