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Safety Tips

Download our Safety Tips sheet for important things you can do to keep your home safe.

Electrical Safety Tips (PDF)

Do you need surge protection for your home?

Whole House Surge Protector
A whole house surge protector installed on a household electrical circuit breaker panel.

If you do not have surge protection, consider getting it. Today's electronic equipment and appliances are very sensitive. Remember that anything you plug in can be damaged or destroyed by a power surge. Although Trinity PUD is always working hard to maintain a high-quality supply of power to your home, we cannot prevent power surges from occurring, and we are not responsible for damages caused by most power surges.

DEFINITION: A power surge is a brief, unpredictable increase in voltage that can enter your home through the power, telephone, or cable television line.

Power surge protection puts up guards in two places: (1) where electricity enters your home and (2) inside your home where equipment is connected to electricity through outlets. A whole-house surge protector protects your home from power surges at the entry point, which is where your home and equipment are most vulnerable.

Power Surge Facts

  • A surge occurs when power line voltage increases above normal standards, and stays there longer than 10 milliseconds.
  • As much as 60 percent of surges originate within your home when devices with motors – hair dryers, refrigerators, water pumps – shut off. Suddenly the energy these devices consumed is diverted elsewhere in the form of excess voltage.
  • The other 40 percent of power surges are caused by thunderstorms, lightening, or from power lines hitting each other (line slapping). Though much less common, power surges from lightening can have the most damaging effects.
  • Any electronic device that contains a microprocessor is susceptible to damage from power surges, even when that equipment is on, but idle.
  • Surge protectors work by absorbing some of the electrical surge and diverting the rest to ground. The top brands use sophisticated components that allow them to react quickly (surges often last just millionths of a second) yet endure high voltages.
  • Surge suppressors are not lightening arresters. They may not survive direct lightening strikes or sustained line over-voltages.
Powerbar Surge Protector
A power bar with built in surge protector and multiple outlets.

Plug-in devices for surge protection inside the home protect your equipment at the outlet stage. The price range for surge protectors vary greatly but Trinity PUD suggests that you contact a qualified electrician or electric supply vendor to get more information on the merits of surge protection for your home. You may want to contact your insurance carrier regarding possible coverage against electrical surges.

Generator Safety

There's something you should know about back-up generators if you use one at home – Installing or using them incorrectly can seriously injure a home-owner or utility worker!

If you buy one, follow these safety rules:

  • *If you want to connect the generator to your home electrical system, hire a licensed electrician to install the generator and a transfer switch (also called a double-throw switch).
  • An improperly installed generator can accidentally send electricity onto utility power lines, energizing wires that lineworkers think are dead.
  • A lineworker who handles this now energized line could be injured or even killed!
  • If you connect only a few appliances to a portable generator, you can do it yourself. Make sure you use an appropriately sized electrical extension cord that is in good condition.
  • Be sure to place your portable generator outdoors so your family won't breath the exhaust fumes from the gas it uses. Don't forget to keep extra fuel on hand for unexpected outages.