Protecting Commercial Facilities from Power Surges

Part 2 of 3

Protecting Against Power Surges
Small businesses, manufacturers, multi-national corporations, research facilities, and many other businesses recognize the need to address power surge risks – and the benefits that accrue from doing so. The general approaches to managing power surge risks are relatively straight forward. Still specific applications must be customized to fit the unique needs of diverse operating environments and circumstances. Such applications are most appropriately designed and installed by experienced experts. The basic tools to minimize the impact of power surges are:

• Install surge protection against external sources at the point where external power is supplied to the business.
• Make sure that all systems have a common “ground” and enter the building within a few feet of each other.
• Keep communications and low voltage lines away from power cables within the facility and, when possible, have them cross at right angles.
• Add surge protection at distribution panels within the facility if it includes large motors, welders, etc.
• Add surge protection for individual pieces of sensitive equipment to the power connection and to any communications lines (e.g., phone cords, Internet cables and coaxial cables – cable television or cable Internet type connections).

Assure Electrical and Telecommunications systems are Designed and Installed to Minimize Power Disruptions
The appropriate design and installation of the wiring within a facility is extremely important in mitigating surges. A building’s electrical system needs to be properly grounded in accordance with the National Electrical Code. All telephone, cable and satellite wires need to be bonded to the same grounding point. Communications cables need to be installed with appropriate separation from power cables which can induce surges. Telecommunications rooms need to be wired to minimize electrical disturbances and fitted with electrical equipment, temperature controls and furnishings that dampen the likelihood of disturbances.

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