We can all agree that South Africa’s frequent blackouts are frustrating. While there are many backup power solutions available at different investment levels, if you’re still enduring frequent power interruptions at your home, it may be time to consider the effect it has on your electronics.
It’s time to shed some light on the real effects of frequent blackouts and equip you with tips to keep your devices safe.
Power surges = bad
Let’s kick things off with a classic culprit: power surges. When the power goes out and comes back on, it can create a surge of electricity that strikes your electronics like a bolt of lightning. Before you start your own rendition of ‘Smoke on the Water,’ make sure you take some preventive measures.
Surge protectors to the rescue. Invest in good-quality surge protectors and plug your expensive electronics – like your PC, TV, and other vital appliances – into them. These nifty gadgets act as electronic bodyguards, shielding devices from sudden voltage spikes during blackouts.
Then there’s voltage fluctuation. When the power comes back after a blackout, incoming voltage can bounce around like Mario in a squash court.
The ideal solution here is installing voltage stabilisers – especially for more sensitive electronics. These devices ensure a smooth and stable flow of electricity to your devices, regardless of blackout-induced fluctuations.
Protect your PC
Your PC is possibly one of your most vulnerable gadgets during load shedding, being especially prone to death following an outage (and a returning spike of power). Some of the common reasons for this death include things like data loss and hard drive corruption, system damage, OS instability, and just plain hardware damage.
Keep it from experiencing an untimely death by investing in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your PC. Not only will it keep your computer running during brief blackouts, but it also acts as a shield against the chaos caused by surges and fluctuations. There are a lot of those about.
Protect your TV
TVs can be quite sensitive to frequent blackouts, though they’re not as fragile as your desktop/Bitcoin-mining rig might be. Even so, surge protectors are essential protection for TVs. Connect your TV and any associated equipment — like gaming consoles or sound systems — to surge protectors to ensure they don’t get zapped.
Appliances are the lifeblood of most households. It’s best to ensure they don’t succumb to load shedding or you’ll have a washing day disaster on your hands.
During load shedding, consider unplugging your appliances to protect them from potential power surges when the electricity comes back on. It may be a small inconvenience, but it’s a smart move to avoid any unpleasant surprises that could fry your beloved appliances. Otherwise, if you have the budget for it, it’s surge protectors all around. Just try to forget that your home is now a red-light district.
Future-proofing your house
Load shedding isn’t going anywhere soon but it doesn’t have to spell doom for your electronics. By taking a few precautions, you can safeguard your precious devices and ensure they survive the load shedding storm unscathed. Of course, if you have the budget for it you can always yank your home off the grid entirely, keeping you from the vagaries of Eskom’s intermittent functionality.
If, like most of us, you don’t have the budget for that then surge protectors are your best friends. Invest in high-quality ones and use them to shield your PCs, TVs, and other important gadgets from sudden voltage spikes. Additionally, voltage stabilisers can keep those voltage fluctuations at bay, providing a stable and safe power supply to your sensitive electronics.