Home Electric Concerns

Home Wiring Problems

Your home wiring is inadequate if some of the following things are happening around your house:

  • Fuses frequently blow or circuit breakers often trip
  • Lights are unusually bright or unusually dim
  • Toasters or irons don’t get as hot as they should
  • Your television picture shrinks when appliances are turned on
  • Extension cords trip people up because there aren’t enough outlets
  • Inadequate wiring can damage your appliances and increase the risk of fire

Check with a qualified electrician, or call one of Springfield Utility Board’s (SUB’s) electrical engineers at (541) 726-2395. Note that SUB cannot recommend an electrician.

Other Concerns

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.

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.

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.

Until your lights are fully lit again, turn off:

  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Microwaves
  • VCR’s
  • Televisions
  • Air conditioners
  • Heat pumps
  • Home computers
  • Other electric equipment

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.

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 3 levels of protection in the UL rating:

  • 330 Volts (V)
  • 400 V
  • 500 V

Generally, a clamping voltage more than 400 V 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.

Call For More Information

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.