Watch Jesse Tuente, a Midwest Electric First Class Lineman,explain what can cause a power blink:
Have you ever noticed your lights blink during a thunderstorm? Or perhaps you’ve noticed a blinking microwave clock when you arrive home. When this happens, you’ve likely experienced a brief disruption to your electric service, which could result from a power surge or blink. While the symptoms of surges and blinks can appear similar, what’s going on behind the scenes can be different.
What’s a power surge?
Power surges are brief overvoltage spikes or disturbances of a power waveform that can damage, degrade, or destroy electronic equipment within your home or business. Most electronics are designed to handle small variations in voltage; however, power surges can reach amplitudes of tens of thousands of volts — this can be extremely damaging to your electronic equipment.
Surges can be caused by internal sources, like HVAC systems with variable frequency drives, or external sources like lightning or damage to lines or transformers.
Midwest Electric encourages all members to install surge protective devices (such as surge protector power strips) to safeguard your sensitive electronics. If you’re experiencing frequent surges in your home or business and you believe the cause is internal, contact a qualified electrician to inspect your electrical system.
What’s a power blink?
Power blinks are also brief service interruptions, but they’re typically caused by a fault (short circuit) on a power line or a protective device that’s working in reaction to the fault. Faults can occur through a variety of instances, like squirrels, birds, or other small animals contacting an energized power line; tree branches touching a line; or lightning and other similar events.
Any of the events noted above can cause your power to blink, but you may also experience a brief interruption when protective devices that act like circuit breakers are working to detect the fault. Believe it or not, these brief power blinks caused by protective devices are actually good because that means the equipment is working as it should to prevent a prolonged outage.
We work to reduce the frequency of blinks. Tree trimming is the easiest, most effective method. Please help us by letting us know if any trees or limbs are close to power lines.
Partial power at a home is usually caused by a problem with the neutral and/or ground connections. This could be a bad connection at the transformer, a bad connection to the pole ground, a bad connection to the primary neutral conductor, a bad connection in the meter base, a secondary conductor that is failing, or problems within the home at the breaker panel, or individual circuits within the home.
The symptoms include dim lights; lights or appliances work in some parts of the home but do not work in other parts of the home; some lights get really bright while other lights get really dim at times. Partial power – or “brownouts”/ low voltage - for a lot of members could be caused by a transmission problem or a voltage regulator not working.
If you experience partial service or low voltage, you should turn off your main breaker and call us or an electrician. Typically if the low voltage or partial service is affecting everything in the home, then call Midwest.