Three Common Types of Power Disturbances

Most of us think that power surges and spikes are the only types of power disturbances people experience. Well, if you weren’t aware, there are more damaging power disturbances than just these two.

No one likes power disturbances, especially since they have the ability to damage your appliances and electronics. Power outages or blackouts can easily cause major problems at your home.

So, what exactly happens to your computer when it experiences a power disturbance? We’ll be using lighting strike as an example, even though it is only one of the many problems that can cause a power disturbance.

A power disturbance that occurs through lighting strikes is usually when it hits a nearby transformer. If that particular power surge is strong enough, it moves instantaneously via wirings, phone lines, networks, and more, with its electrical force equivalent to that of a tidal wave.

The surge travels to a computer either through your phone line or a power outlet. The first victim is usually a motherboard or modem. Chips are the next-in-line casualties, making you lose all data.

Utility companies usually respond to a surge in voltage by simply disconnecting the entire grid. This will create blackouts and brownouts. In fact, if the voltage drops too low, or just blackout, chances are that your hard dish might crash indefinitely. Today, we’ll be sharing some of the different types of power disturbances, and their causes.

Power Outage

Power outages occur when there’s a loss of power, which is often caused by a problem in your power supply or the infrastructure itself, such as a damaged power line. Power outages usually put your electronics at a risk, especially computers.

When a power outage happens, there’s a high chance of even modem computers going through data loss. Basically, all data on your computer will be lost, if a powerful outage occurs, as it will fry the hard disk.

However, older computers are likely to experience more than just data loss. Understandably, these computers aren’t as stable as their counterparts today. In other words, a power outage in older computers can result in not just data corruption but bring about performance issues.

But you can rest assured, as, in maximum power outage cases, it will unlikely cause any form of hardware damages unless it’s accompanied by power surges.

Power Surge

Power surges are the most common kind of power disturbances, which most of the time you may not even realize happened. Power surges happen when there’s an increase in voltage that’s more than the designated volume of power.

Power surges are usually caused when there are power changes and interruptions within the electrical draw, which also includes the demand of other electronics that often share the same power supply.

Also, power surges also happen when there’s a presence of a high-powered electrical motor, like air conditioners, and similar appliances in your household. So when this particular equipment is switched off, it causes the extra voltage to be dissipated within the power line.

Computer and other vulnerable electronics are specifically designed to receive a certain voltage, therefore anything exceeding that voltage will stress these electronics, and may cause premature failure.

In order to prevent any damage to your electronics, you should invest in a surge protector or get surge protection, such as the FirstEnergy Surge Protection plan.

Power Spike

A power spike is also known as an impulse. In other words, it’s a momentarily but undesirable dramatic increase in voltage, at times resulting in thousands of volts increase. Power spikes are similar to power surges, but are much more severe and largely affect computers and electronics.

Power spikes are typically caused by drastic electrical events, like lightning strikes, short circuits, electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), static discharge, tripped breaker, and a few other kinds of power supply failures.

Power spikes pose a huge risk to not just your computers, but any other sensitive electronics that are plugged in during the spike. Data can be lost, or even become corrupted. Moreover, it also does incremental damages to your electronics, which eventually degrades their performance and further reduces their lifespan.

The solution is the same as what you would do to prevent a power surge from damaging your electronics, invest in a surge protector, get an uninterrupted source device (UPS), or a protection plan that covers the damage done to your electronics.


Power outages, surges, and spikes are the most common power disturbances experienced in a household. Of course, blackouts and noise are also a form of power disturbances but aren’t as common as the ones mentioned above.

The easiest way to avoid a power distance from damaging your electronics is to simply unplug them when you sense a power fluctuation, or the best option is to get a surge protector. First, understand your needs and the power disturbances in your neighborhood before deciding what protection you require.

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