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How bad weather can affect your IT

How bad weather can affect your IT
Tuesday 11 Nov 2014 [8:56]

Power surges occur when the flow of electricity is interrupted then restarted, or when something sends electricity flowing back into the system.
Surge voltages can range from five or ten volts when you turn on a small appliance; to thousands of volts when lightning strikes a transformer.

An external power surge, stemming from outside your home, is most commonly caused by a tree limb touching a power line, lightning striking utility equipment, or a small animal getting into a transformer.
Surges can also occur when the power comes back on after an outage, and can even come into your home through telephone and cable TV lines. The fact that a surge may come through telephone or cable connections is a reason to purchase a slightly more expensive protection device, which incorporates protection for this type of surge.

To minimize the possibility of damage being caused to your appliances and equipment by electrical interruptions, such as electrical surges and brownouts or blackouts, people have been installing surge protection or power conditioning, particularly for:

 Computers and laptops
 Stereos
 TVs, DVD and video equipment
 Washing machines, dryers and dishwashers
 Heat pumps

During brownouts or blackouts, it is recommended that you switch off all electrical appliances at the wall outlet, to prevent potential damage from operating at reduced voltage or from an electricity surge when your supply is restored. Some lighting should be left switched on to alert you when the supply is restored.
There are four main kinds of protection devices you can also use to protect your appliances, and yourself:

 Surge protectors
 Power conditioners
 Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
 Residual Current Devices (RCDs) and Isolating Transformers


A surge protector (or surge suppressor or surge filter) is a common appliance designed to protect electrical devices from power surges and your first line of defense against power fluctuations. A surge protector regulates the voltage supplied to an appliance by either blocking or grounding voltages above a safe threshold.

A power conditioner (or line conditioner) provides a higher level of protection by regulating the AC power supplied to an appliance and is typically used to protect computers from surges and brownouts.
An Uninterruptible Power Supply (or UPS) is an electrical device that provides emergency power when your main power source fails. A UPS differs from an auxiliary or standby power supply by providing instantaneous or near-instantaneous protection from input power interruptions usually by means of batteries for low power users, or diesel generators for high power users.

Residual Current Devices (RCDs) and Isolating Transformers protect you against injury from electric shock as opposed to protecting your appliances from supply interruptions.

While surge protectors provide the most affordable method of protection, you can employ better methods to provide some degree of protection for your PC. One of the best methods to insulate your system from power troubles is a good Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS).

In addition to filtering, enhancing or modifying the utility power, special circuitry and batteries are used to prevent the PC from losing power during a disruption (blackout) or voltage sag (brownout). These units are called different names depending on their exact design, but all fit into the general category of backup power. Most models come with a USB connection, which connects to your PC and in the event outside power is lost will safely power down your machine automatically. UPS solutions range in size from small 350 Volt-Amps, which will provide a few minutes of battery time to large industrial strength sizes on many Volt-Amps.

Once considered an expensive luxury, UPSs are now available quite inexpensively. If you consider your time valuable, a UPS can pay for itself the first time the power flickers or goes out.

It is important that you do a regular backup of all your data, when a power surge happens its doesn't save any data you have open at the time of the surge and if you are running a database without transaction support like MySQL and MyISAM data corruption is very likely to take place. You should always have a back up whether it is to the cloud or on a hard drive it is important as in an event of a power surge not only could you lose all your data, the data already there may become corrupt. 

Power surges can also have an affect on your telephony and damage your router so it is vital that you get yourself and your electrical equipment protected.

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Fri 23 Feb 2018 23:55:09