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5 Reasons to Add Surge Protection to Your Preventative Maintenance Plan

Preventative Maintenance When you are managing a facility, you know there are certain things that need to be done now to prevent problems later. You may test fire alarms to ensure they sound as necessary, clean gutters to protect your roof, or replace air filters to prevent HVAC system failure. This periodic, preventative maintenance not only extends the lifecycle of your systems, but also creates a safer, more productive environment. You also recognize that paying for these services with some time and a relatively modest amount of money can prevent much larger problems and costs from happening in the future.

Just as you don’t know when a fire will occur or your HVAC system will fail, you may not know when a damaging power surge will affect your electrical systems. Applying surge protection to such systems is a simple, cost-effective preventative maintenance step that can prevent costly unplanned downtime caused by an unexpected power surge. If you haven’t already included surge protection as a part of your preventative maintenance strategy, here is why you should:

 

1. To Protect Your Investments

Fire safety, HVAC, surveillance, point of sale, servers, access control, pump controllers, and countless other business systems rely on a variety of electronic devices to function properly. Given that each of these systems is made up of potentially hundreds of end point devices, the financial investment to deploy such systems is significant. One damaging power surge has the potential to render these collective and individual investments useless within seconds.

The cost to install, repair, or replace just one of these systems is reasonably thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars. Adding surge protection to your preventative maintenance plan helps to eliminate these costs, for a fraction of the total price. In fact, the total cost of surge protection is typically less than the sales tax on the systems they protect. Applying surge protection as preventative maintenance requires a small upfront investment to protect from much larger expenses down the road.

2. To Prevent Secondary Costs

When a critical business system fails due to a power surge, the immediate impact is felt and seen by the ineffectiveness of said system. Then the cost of replacing or repairing a damaged system starts to materialize. However, an often overlooked but perhaps even more significant impact of system failure comes in the secondary costs of system downtime.

This was the case for a well-known Orlando resort that installed a new fire alarm system for approximately $100,000. Not long after, a power surge hit the facility with enough voltage to damage the fire alarm panel and networked systems hardware. To ensure the safety of the guests and the public while repairs were made, the resort was mandated under local fire code to maintain a “fire watch”, meaning a fire truck was stationed at their expense in their main parking area 24/7. The final price tag for this fire watch was $320,000 – far surpassing the cost of the surge protection that would have prevented system damage, as well as the entire cost of the system itself.

The lesson here is that preventative maintenance is often looked through the sole lens of upfront costs vs. future costs, which can be dangerous, as much of the costs incurred after a damaging surge event are incalculable. Many industries such as data centers, stadiums, and hospitality rely heavily on electrical systems to deliver their essential services. Other industries, such as casinos and hospitals, mandate the function of certain electrical systems and can be subject to fines and lawsuits if these systems are not functioning properly. Then there is the potential loss of reputation and customer trust that also has a negative effect on an organization’s bottom line. Once these costs are added up and realized, the case for proactive surge protection becomes a no-brainer.

3. To Supplement Other Preventative Measures

Insurance is another smart, proactive step organizations and homeowners can take to protect their assets. Unfortunately, insurance is often used as a reason or excuse not to take other preventative measures. The assumption is that insurance will cover the costs of damages, which is not always the case. Many insurance policies, even those that are system specific, will not cover damages or system replacement due to power surges. Insurance will also not likely cover related costs incurred while a system is down.
This false sense of security may leave many holding the bag for costs they assumed would be covered under their insurance policy. The same could be said for active product warranties. Therefore, it is important to read all policies and warranties carefully, followed by the deployment of surge protection devices to both prevent damage and the longevity of your electrical systems.

4. Now is the Time

Again, there is no way to know when a damaging surge event will strike. Therefore, the right time to consider surge protection is as soon as possible – ideally during the system planning stage. Preplanning is where preventative maintenance starts, with proactive schedules and solutions being identified and worked into a budget. This proactive approach puts safety and risk prevention at the forefront before power surges even have a chance to strike.

For existing electrical systems, the right time to apply surge protection is now. When it comes to power surges, it isn’t a matter of if, but rather when as power surges occur every day and without notice. These small, daily power surges also degrade a system over time, only to be discovered when a system fails. Furthermore, the proliferation of various Internet of Things (IoT) devices located on a network allows surges to jump through devices more easily, damaging them along the way. A layered application of surge protection devices is one of the only ways to ensure all networked devices are protected from damaging power events.

5. To Self-Advocate

Despite everything, there are situations where businesses choose not to purchase surge protection devices to protect their sensitive electronics, and that is certainly their prerogative. But many times, owners and operators are just unaware of the risks and costs associated with power surges. It should be the responsibility of the system designer or integrator to recommend such solutions and educate customers on their benefits, but often this does not happen. In this case, if you don’t see surge protection as an effective preventative measure, then no one will.

Some integrators have started using “surge refusal forms” to let customers make this decision explicitly, confirming that they have been informed of the option and specifically decided not to proceed. This is a valuable tool in that it ensures that surge protection is being discussed openly and the customer has been given the option to make an informed decision. Second, it provides a measure of protection for the integrator with regard to liability and guarantees regarding the operation of the system. These measures also serve to highlight just how important the application of surge protection really is.

Choosing the Right Provider

Not all surge protection devices are created equal. DITEK offers a variety of surge protection devices ideal for both commercial, industrial and residential installations. Designed using the latest in surge protection technology for maximum performance and protection, models are available in a wide range of voltage configurations and protection modes to meet all of your project specification needs. DITEK’s solutions are made in the USA and backed by comprehensive warranties, making DITEK surge protection the ultimate preventative maintenance tool!

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