Surge protectors are must-haves to protect computers and TV systems. Yet, according to a study for Intermatic by Harris Poll, only 22% of U.S. homeowners protect their major appliances from brownouts and other power quality issues; this despite the fact that nearly 87% understand that a brownout can damage these same major appliances.

As temperatures heat up and the potential for brownouts increases in many parts of the country, homeowners need to protect appliances such as air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators and washing machines to avoid costly damages. The shift from electromechanical systems in home comfort systems to printed circuit boards has added to the risk of system damage.
 
Intermatic, a global leader in energy management solutions, commissioned Harris Poll, a leading global provider of information and insights to aid business decisions, to conduct a study to better understand consumer awareness of the impact of brownouts. The online poll was conducted from April 25-29, 2014 among 2,026 adults ages 18 and older.
 
“Most people don’t think twice about plugging a $200 television or $800 computer into a surge protector to ensure they are protected from transients and surges. However, expensive systems like central air conditioning units, which would cost thousands of dollars to replace, sit completely unprotected from surges, brownouts and blackouts,” says Brian Lamberty, product marketing manager, Intermatic. “We were alarmed to find that 86 percent of homeowners are at risk of incurring significant replacement costs because their air conditioning units are not protected from power surges.”
 
Survey findings include:

44% of U.S. homeowners said they have experienced at least one brownout in the last year. A rise in average global temperatures along with more extreme storms and heat waves lead to an increased threat of blackouts and brownouts. In addition, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, many of the transmission lines that provide Americans with electricity throughout the country are at least 25 years old, making them more susceptible to power disturbances.

Although the majority of homeowners (84%) protect their home electronics from power quality issues, only 17% protect their home's HVAC systems. Homeowners may not understand that brownouts can cause similar damage to an air conditioner as they do to a computer, television or home audio system, so they require proper protection as well.

Among those who have experienced a brownout in the last year, 12% had to replace a major appliance because a brownout or power surge caused damage. If the appliance that needs to be replaced is a central air conditioning unit, for example, the average national cost to homeowners is $5,402, with most homeowners spending between $4,552 and $6,252, according to HomeAdvisor.com.

“Homeowners and small business owners must put measures in place to safeguard expensive appliances including their heating and air conditioning systems,” Lamberty says. “Making a minimal investment in a combined surge and brownout protective device today can bring tremendous peace of mind the next time the temperatures soar, lights dim or lightning strikes.”
 
Intermatic offers all-in-one protection from brownouts, surges and short cycles with the Compressor Defender™ device. This affordable, preventative maintenance solution can be installed inside a condensing unit or externally on an AC disconnect to protect compressors and circuit boards in residential and light commercial applications. For more information, contact your local HVAC technician.