We offer hear the words blackout, brownout or power surge when the topic revolves around problems in electricity supply. For some, knowing the exact meaning of the terms is not at all important, because for them, the words only mean one thing: inconvenience. But, it is essential for everyone to have an idea of what they are, so that we know the root cause of the problem and how we can keep ourselves prepared for and safe from their consequences.
Here is an overview of what these terms actually mean…
A brownout is a drop in the power supply that leads to a dip in voltage. When a brownout happens, one may notice that lights become dim. Though brownouts are not total power failures, they may damage electrical equipment. Especially vulnerable during brownouts are induction and three-phase electrical motors, because they can overheat. A solution to frequent brownouts is to have a back-up power system that will provide the necessary power in case the voltage drops.
A blackout is way more serious than a brownout: It refers to a complete loss of power within a certain geographic area. Blackouts may be caused by several factors, and may take time to resolve, depending on the structure of the affected power network.
Power surges are known to be the most detrimental power disturbance, which can permanently damage many types of electric appliances. They occur when something increases the electrical charge at a certain point in the power lines. This sudden “jump” causes a spike in the electrical potential energy, which can increase the current flowing to the wall outlet. Fortunately, surge protectors and circuit breakers can protect you from power surges’ harmful effects. Surge protection should ideally be incorporated into the main power switchboard.
Electrical treeing is a phenomenon that often manifests in high power installations, including HV power cables and transformers, among others. It is a damaging process owing to partial discharges, which progresses through the stressed dielectric insulation, in a path that looks like branches of a tree. If treeing is not checked, it can cause the continuous deterioration of the equipment, and can eventually result in a total breakdown. To avoid the harmful effects of treeing, it is important to use high-quality materials tailored for the electric load. Regular maintenance by trained engineers is also essential.
Electrical power has become a vital part of modern day life, that even a momentary interruption in power supply can cause significant damages not only to electric devices, but also to business operations and human activity. So, for everything that concerns electricity, you should always seek for professional services, and trust nothing but high-quality equipment and installation. The initial cost may be higher, but you must remember that you are not only paying for mere products and services – you are investing in the continuity of your business, in your personal protection and in total peace of mind.
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