Running a business in Florida can pose a number of unique challenges, including the frequent power fluctuations common to many areas. When you’re choosing an office for rent or exploring a larger piece of commercial real estate, selecting a site that’s already prepared for the inevitable is a smart move.
What Happens During a Power Fluctuation?
Most business equipment is designed to run on standard 120-volt alternating current, the same amount of power you’d find coming from your household sockets.
Your equipment is engineered to work properly within a very narrow tolerance, so when the power coming to your place of business changes even a little bit, you may see computers and other machines shut down or turn themselves on and off, depending on the type of power disturbance.
Lightning is a widely known cause of power fluctuations, but they can also be caused by vegetation making direct contact with power lines, animals damaging electrical equipment and even salt spray in coastal areas like Fort Lauderdale. Because power surges can damage or destroy electronics, it’s vital to provide several layers of protection for your business computers and office machines. Although nothing will protect you from a direct lightning hit, these power fluctuation protection tools, recommended by Florida Power & Light, can provide a solid barrier against day-to-day power variances:
Surge arresters. You can think of a surge arrester as a sort of whole-building surge protector. There are several different types, some install in your breaker box and others install right at your meter. They work by redirecting power surges directly to the ground through a grounding rod. The very best can handle the resulting surge from a lightning strike further down the line.
Surge protectors. Most offices already utilize surge protectors on some or all of their equipment. These are a low-cost way to protect computers from minor power fluctuations, but because they are literally your last line of defense, it’s not uncommon for surge protectors to fail magnificently in the case of large surges during storms in buildings without surge arresters.
Uninterruptible power supplies. When you need more time to backup your computer or experience frequent power spikes, a UPS may be your best bet for indoor protection. Unlike a surge protector that can only protect you from power fluctuations, a UPS contains a battery that will allow you extra time to safely shut down equipment if the power goes out. They can also protect against voltage spikes, low voltage events, voltage oscillation, main line frequency instability and harmonic distortion.
Power fluctuations happen — but you don’t have to constantly sacrifice equipment to the whims of voltage. Properties with surge arresters will help you protect your investment, but for added protection, shop around for one using a standby generator with an automatic transfer switch. Your commercial real estate professional can help you find a property that will be the safest possible for your electronic equipment so you can keep working even in the worst that Mother Nature has to offer.