Along with the occasional power outage, you may notice other power-related problems at your home, such as outages that last only a few seconds, flickering lights, or appliances that don’t get as hot or bright as they should. If you experience these symptoms, contact SUB at 541-726-2395.

Momentary outages

If your digital clocks are flashing 12:00 or if your lights blink or go out for a few seconds, a momentary outage has occurred. Momentary outages are usually caused by some type of interference on the power line itself, such as an animal or tree branch coming in contact with it. When this occurs, equipment on the line and at the substation (similar to your home’s fuses or breakers) operate to quickly clear the problem and restore power. While momentary interruptions can be inconvenient, in the majority of cases these devices prevent longer outages. If a more serious issue on the power line is identified, SUB’s equipment acts to isolate the problem so crews can resolve it and restore power.

Low voltage situations

If your lights dim, but don’t go all the way off, you’re experiencing a low-voltage situation or “brownout.” Most of the electric appliances you have in your home are controlled by electronic components that are sensitive to these kinds of power fluctuations. Turn off refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, VCR’s, televisions, air conditioners, heat pumps, home computers, and other electric equipment until your lights are fully lit again. Surge protectors are good investments and can help protect against these situations, but you’ll want to be sure you are buying the right kind to protect your equipment.

Surge Protectors

Because so many power disturbances are outside of SUB’s control, SUB cannot be held responsible for equipment damaged by power surges. Customers must protect their own belongings by purchasing and installing surge protectors for their home appliances and electronics.

When purchasing your surge protectors, look for these features:

  • UL (Underwriters Laboratories) label: Make sure the product and product packaging clearly states “UL Listed Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor.” UL evaluates surge suppressors for fire, electric shock, and personal injury hazards.
  • Clamping voltage: This tells you how much excess voltage is prevented from passing through electronic equipment. A low clamping voltage indicates better protection. There are three levels of protection in the UL rating – 330 V, 400 V, and 500 V. Generally, a clamping voltage more than 400V is too high.
  • Energy absorption/dissipation: This rating in Joules, tells you how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. For better protection, look for a rating of 600 joules or more.
  • Response time: Surge protectors don’t kick in immediately; there is a very slight delay as they respond to the power surge. A longer response time tells you that your computer (or other equipment) will be exposed to the surge for a greater amount of time. Look for a surge protector that responds in less than one nanosecond.

You can also call SUB’s Conservation Connection at 541-746-0963 for more information about brands that have these features and where to buy them.