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Preventing power surges

An ounce of prevention
The best defense against power surges is to prevent common problems like overloaded circuits.
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The first line of defense against power surges is prevention. While most external surges can't be controlled, you can eliminate some common causes of internal surges.

Unplug devices you aren't using

The easiest way to avoid power surge problems is to unplug devices that aren't being used. Take a look around your home, and you'll likely find dozens of idle items plugged in.

Overloaded electrical outletThere's no need to leave toasters, power tools or other small appliances plugged in; if you rarely use the programming features on your microwave or VCR, unplug those as well.

Upgrade inadequate wiring

If you have an older home, inadequate wiring could be the cause. Electrical systems in homes built before the 1980s weren't designed to handle large-capacity refrigerators, entertainment systems and computer equipment.

Some visible signs of inadequate wiring are frequent blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers, or lights that flicker or dim when the refrigerator or another large appliance kicks on.

Don't ignore these symptoms - they're a signal that something is wrong, and the problem may become a fire hazard.

Fix overloaded circuits

If your home is newer, you may have a problem with an overloaded circuit. Look for two (or more) large appliances drawing power from the same circuit, especially in the kitchen.

Another trouble spot might be a circuit with many smaller devices, such as a family room filled with computer and entertainment equipment.

Ask your electrician to establish dedicated circuits for each large appliance, and to divide rooms with multiple devices into separate circuits.


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If you are vision-impaired or have some other disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to shopping or ordering on or using the benefits of our website, please contact Alliant Energy at 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268).