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Chris Barcey

Recent Posts

How Do Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) Work?

Posted by Chris Barcey on Jan 22, 2019 8:02:00 AM

A surge protective device (SPD) is designed to protect electrical systems and equipment from surge events by limiting transient voltages and diverting surge currents. 

Surges can originate externally, most intensely by lightning, or internally by the switching of electrical loads. The sources of these internal surges, which account for 65% of all transients, can include loads turning on and off, relays and/or breakers operating, heating systems, motors and office equipment. 

Without the appropriate SPD, transient events can harm electronic equipment and cause costly downtime. The importance of these devices in electrical protection is undeniable, but how do these devices actually work? And what components and factors are central to their performance?

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Topics: Surge Protection

The Need for Coordinated Surge Protection to Protect Against Electrical Transient Events

Posted by Chris Barcey on Jul 17, 2018 8:07:00 AM


Grounding, bonding and lightning protection systems protect against electrical events that have potential for significant damage or downtime. These events are hopefully few and far between in the lifetime of a facility. However, lower energy transient events can occur more frequently that may go unnoticed, until one day a piece of electronic equipment stops working.

Significant damage can occur to the more robust systems as a result of lightning-induced surges resulting within a radius of several kilometers, or from repetitive switching-induced surges. Costs can range from degradation of electrical or electronic systems, to data loss and equipment destruction. Some of these costs can appear relatively minor, but the loss of an essential service or revenue associated with a facility or plant shut down can be enormous.

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Topics: Surge Protection

What is Facility Electrical Protection?

Posted by Chris Barcey on May 8, 2018 8:02:00 AM

Electrical systems are all around us— at work, home, grocery stores, manufacturing plants and more. Our everyday lives depend on these electrical systems performing at their best without interruptions. If the power goes out during a thunderstorm, it can be a nuisance at home without Wi-Fi or power to the refrigerator. However, at a facility that relies on mission-critical equipment, like a hospital or manufacturing plant, even short-term power interruptions can carry large financial costs. Despite electrical designers’ best efforts, electrical ground faults, electrical transients and other disturbances can, and often do, occur in building electrical distribution systems.

The good news is there are ways to reduce the likelihood of this costly damage and operational downtime.

Facility Electrical Protection is an nVent ERICO engineered systems approach to protecting property from lightning damage and other electrical transient events by providing the most innovative system that meets best engineering practices. Electrical problems caused by lightning strikes, ground faults or power surges pose serious threats to buildings and sensitive electronics. It serves three primary functions:

  • Building protection
  • Equipment protection
  • Electrical noise reduction

The cost of property damage resulting from lightning and surge events can be very substantial. Costs include equipment repair/replacement in process material, operational downtime and opportunity costs. Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) estimates that the cost of structural damage due to lightning exceeds one billion dollars annually, not including the cost of downtime, repairs and loss of business.

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Topics: Facility Electrical Protection