Transient Voltage...The Most Common And Costly Power Quality Problem Today

transient voltage

Transient voltage is probably the most destructive, costly and common power quality issue today. Voltage transients cost companies and homeowners billions of dollars every year in equipment damage, system downtime and lost production.


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard 1100-1999 2.2.83 Defines a transient as the following...

“A subcycle disturbance in the ac waveform that is evidenced by a sharp, brief discontinuity of the waveform.”

A less technical definition:

Brief but powerful over-voltages and over-currents in an electrical circuit.

Plain English:

Power Surge or Power Spike

Where They Originate

Transient voltage is a result of either an external or an internal source. Depending on the origination, these surges can pack a real bang in a single shot, or be smaller, stealthy, much more frequent and just as damaging over time.

External types of surges are very powerful and are responsible for about 20% of power quality related electrical and electronics damages.

Very large and intense surges can strike without notice in the form of lightning strikes, utility grid switching or power system faults.

Other damaging transients can be generated by the activities of nearby industrial or commercial facilities that in turn affect their neighbors incoming power quality.

Internally generated surges are responsible for 80% of electrical and electronic equipment damage. These surges are the result of normal everyday equipment operations. Culprits include; drives, motors, copiers, microwaves. printers, welders, lights and even your own custom htpc build.

Although smaller in intensity, these surges can occur repetitively thousands of times a day - even in your home. These surges are damaging and can be as high as 6000 volts!

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Transient Voltage Is Damaging Your Equipment

transient voltage


Most people are familiar with the large external surges and the immediate damage they can cause. This is because these large events are usually instantaneous and the damage is noticeable right away.

However, what many business's and homeowners overlook is the serious damage the less noticeable and less intense internal surges are causing day after day.

Internal surge damage is rarely noticed because these events are typically not instantaneously damaging nor is the damage usually visual.

The cumulative damage isn't noticed until the system is upset or fails. When the equipment fails, it’s usually premature failure - which means it could have been and should have been prevented.

NEMA (National Electronics Manufacturers Association) conducted a survey regarding surge related activity and damage. The costly (yet preventable) results of the survey are provided in the short video below...

Stop surge related damage...

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