Feb 05

Is Your HVAC System Protected From Power Surges?

image of an electrical storm depicting hvac surge protection

HVAC units are crucial for comfort and well-being in buildings, but are vulnerable to power surges caused by lightning, power outages, or grid fluctuations. These surges can damage key components like compressors, fan motors, and control boards, potentially necessitating costly repairs or full replacements. Using HVAC surge protection and following electrical safety standards is essential to protect HVAC systems and ensure their continuous operation and longevity.

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Protecting Your HVAC System Against Power Surges: Are You Prepared?

Inquiring about the resilience of your HVAC system against power surges likely indicates a gap in your current protection strategy. To bridge this gap and fortify your system, it’s wise to consult with a seasoned HVAC specialist to implement HVAC surge protection strategies. They can offer tailored advice and solutions, ensuring your system is robustly prepared for any power surge or outage.

What Are Power Surges?

image of lightning striking electrical tower and surge

A power surge is a sudden, excessive increase in voltage beyond normal levels, often occurring during unexpected electrical disruptions like lightning strikes or power outages. They can also occur when large appliances, such as air conditioners or refrigerators, switch on or off.

Even though they last only a fraction of a second, power surges can cause considerable damage to electronic devices. The excess electricity can overload and damage the sensitive electronic components, leading to malfunctions or, in severe cases, complete equipment failure.

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Differentiating Between Power Surges, Power Outages, and Brownouts

While power surges, power outages, and brownouts all pertain to complications in the electrical power supply, they represent distinct issues. Let’s delve into a concise overview of each to understand their differences:

  • Power Surge: A brief, sudden increase in voltage, often caused by lightning, power outages, or high-powered devices. It poses a risk to electronic devices, making surge protectors crucial for preventing damage.
  • Power Outage: The complete loss of electrical power, caused by factors like extreme weather, equipment failure, or maintenance activities.
  • Brownout: A reduction in voltage in the electrical system, leading to dimming lights and reduced appliance performance. It can result from grid overload, equipment issues, or problems within a specific building or area’s electrical system.

HVAC Components Affected by a Power Surge 

HVAC Control Board

image of an hvac control board

The control board, often regarded as the “brain” of an HVAC system, is vulnerable to damage from power surges. Such an incident can disrupt its communication with the thermostat, leading to malfunctions in the HVAC system. This disruption often results in inefficient heating or cooling, negatively affecting your comfort during extreme temperatures.

HVAC Compressor Motor

The compressor motor in your HVAC system is the box with wires protruding. It is responsible for taking refrigerant at low pressure and cool temperature and then compressing it to elevate its pressure and temperature.

The motor, a key element in the compressor, is particularly prone to damage from power surges. It consists of various wires that transform electrical energy into kinetic energy. In the event of a power surge, these wires may overheat and potentially combust. Furthermore, a compromised motor will impair the compressor’s functionality, leading to suboptimal performance of the entire HVAC system.

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HVAC Capacitor in Power Surges

The capacitor in your HVAC system is an oval-shaped device that stores electrical charge to power the system’s electrical components. During a power surge, this capacitor is at risk of damage. Such damage can lead to operational problems within your HVAC system.

HVAC Relay Switch

The relay switch in your HVAC system turns on or off specific high-voltage components. Typically, these switches include an electrical contactor surrounded by a coil. If a power surge causes the voltage to exceed a certain threshold, it can lead to the coil burning out. This results in a disrupted circuit and causes the relay switch to malfunction.

How To Prevent Power Surge Damage To Your HVAC System

Power surges can inflict substantial damage on HVAC systems, potentially leading to expensive repairs or replacements. Here are some HVAC surge protection strategies to help protect your system from damage:

  1. Use Surge Protectors: Implementing surge protectors is a key step in defending your HVAC system against sudden power surges. They can be installed directly on the HVAC unit and electrical panels, offering an additional safeguard against unexpected voltage spikes.
  2. Disconnect Appliances During Storms: It’s a wise precaution to unplug your HVAC system and other appliances during thunderstorms or extreme weather conditions. This action helps in minimizing the risk of damage from lightning-induced power surges.
  3. Opt for High-Quality Wiring: Utilizing superior-quality wiring and components can significantly reduce the risk of your HVAC system being damaged by power surges. Ensure that a certified electrician performs the installation to guarantee it’s done correctly and safely.
  4. Regular HVAC System Maintenance: Routine upkeep of your HVAC system is vital in mitigating surge-related damages. This encompasses cleaning and replacing air filters, monitoring refrigerant levels, and examining electrical connections.
  5. Invest in a Whole-House Surge Protector: Consider installing a whole-house surge protector for comprehensive protection. This device, positioned at your home’s main electrical panel, safeguards your HVAC system and all appliances against power surges.
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Warranty Warning for HVAC Power Surge Damage

Be aware that warranties from HVAC manufacturers typically exclude coverage for damage caused by power surges. While homeowners’ insurance might offer some recourse, proving claims for such damage can be complex, especially as the deterioration often develops over time. Consequently, you might find yourself responsible for expensive HVAC repairs following incidents like lightning strikes, overloaded electrical circuits, or issues from other home appliances.


While a significant investment, HVAC systems are crucial for maintaining comfort in your home. Implementing measures to guard against power surge damage is imperative, a proactive approach that is often more cost-effective than facing hefty repairs or replacements – HVAC surge protection. Rely on the expertise of trusted HVAC professionals to ensure your system is well-protected and maintained.

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Contact Skylands Energy Service for Comprehensive HVAC Solutions

Skylands Energy Service is a premier heating and cooling service provider in Central New Jersey. Our professionally certified technicians are experts in all aspects of HVAC care, including tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. You can trust us for impeccable servicing of your system. As a top-choice HVAC service provider, we are always at your service.

We pride ourselves on offering the most affordable heating and cooling solutions in the region. Synonymous with quality and cost-effectiveness, our maintenance services enhance comfort and energy efficiency and help reduce your home’s heating and cooling expenses. Our team is dedicated to recommending the most suitable HVAC solutions for your residential or commercial needs, always mindful of your budget.

Skylands Energy Service stands behind our services with a solid satisfaction guarantee. To arrange a service visit and receive a complimentary, in-home estimate, contact Skylands Energy Service today.

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