The Dos and Don’ts of Surge Protectors

Every once in a while, a surge in electric current occurs and threatens to destroy valuable items. The electricity surge might last from a few seconds to days, depending on its causes. Also, the surge can range from a few millivolts to kilovolts. Both time and range of surges are essential considerations when considering what to do in case there’s an electric surge.

Surge protection is a must-have to prevent catastrophe. While a domestic surge protector secures your electronics in the house, a surge protector in the substation keeps everything in the power lines connected to it safe. A surge protector in the substation is a crucial component without which the risk of fire and damage increases.

Installing surge protection devices aims to protect devices by limiting the amplitude of a surge voltage not to exceed the dielectric strength of the device. Surge protectors also discharge the surge currents generated from the surge voltage. Voltage surge in the grid comes from factors such as lightning strikes and switching operations. Lightning strikes have the most potential for damage because they cause an overvoltage that travels long distances in the grid. Although a lightning strike is short, lasting only a few milliseconds, the high voltage it packs can lead to installation malfunction or total failure.


Connect surge protectors in parallel to the equipment in the station, between the active and protective conductors, or between the active conductors. Surge protectors function as switches that momentarily turn off the surge voltage.

Use a coordinated surge protection system. A professional electrician should divide the structure into different zones and incorporate all the lines that cross the zones into the equipotential bonding system.

Accurate equipotential bonding and grounding. A knowledgeable electrician understands that the grounding system distributes the charge. This is especially important in the case of a lightning strike, where the type of grounding is more important than grounding resistance. Equipotential bonding connects all electrically conductive parts. Anticipate a power surge during switching operations and formulate appropriate contingency plans.

Switching operations involve Switching Electromagnetic Pulse (SEMPS), which is likely to generate an induced voltage surge that spreads to different supply lines. Switch-on currents and short circuits can cause high currents to flow in the supply lines for a few milliseconds.


You should not ignore the testing and maintenance of the electrical system. Electrical system operators must remain accountable by maintaining the electrical systems. It’s essential to regularly test lightning protection systems.

Don’t ignore the quality features and certifications of surge protectors. While the quality features of surge protectors are not easy to test, an experience system operator should know how to read and interpret the technical data that a manufacturer provides. Certification indicates that the surge protector conforms to specified standards; hence it’s safe to use.

Bottom line

Voltage and current surges are inevitable. They occur during normal substation activities such as switch operations or natural situations such as lightning strikes. Poor surge protection exposes devices and equipment to damage. Therefore, it is essential to have a professional systems operator who understands how power surges work to install a power surge system.

Contact Peak Substation today at 877-324-0909 for answers to all your questions about energy and energy safety.