Power Surge Appliances
Updated April 09, 2020

A Power Surge Fried Our Appliances. Here’s What We Did About It.

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For the past couple weeks, wildfires have been raging in Southern California, and one of them came pretty close to our home.

Although our house is fine and we are OK, we did suffer some damages as a result of a power surge caused by the fire.

Here is the casualty list:

  • Microwave: completely fried and in need of replacement.
  • Tankless Water Heater: circuit board and blower motor in need of replacement.
  • Thermostats (2): circuit board in need of replacement.

So here’s what we did to remedy the situation and prevent it from happening again.

We Bought a Whole House Surge Protector.

The first thing we did was to figure out how to prevent this from happening again.

We immediately purchased a whole house surge protector on the recommendation of a local electrician.

The electrician recommended we go with the Siemens FS140 Whole House Surge Protection Device Rated for 140,000 Amps.

What Does a Whole House Surge Protector Do?

Power surges happen when too much electricity is routed into your house.

This is bad because too much electricity can blow fuses in your appliances or, even worse, completely fry them.

The surge protector “blocks” too much electricity from coming in so that your house and its appliances only receive the electricity they need and are built to handle.

We Weren’t Able to Use Our Product Warranties.

I called the manufacturers of the broken appliances and put up a good fight.

I mentioned how most appliances in the house were fine, but their product couldn’t handle the surge.

But I didn’t get anywhere, and understandably so.

The appliances didn’t fail due to a manufacturing defect that would be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty; they failed due to a power surge that sent more voltage in the appliances than they were manufactured to handle.

And who’s to blame for that?

We Filed a Claim Against the Power Company.

It’s silly, but power companies typically attempt to absolve themselves from damages due to power surges on their own grid.

An Uber driver told me that another one of her passengers saw how it started: a dangling power line caught fire.

Of course, until the formal investigation has been completed, it’s impossible to say what caused the fire, but we filed a claim just in case.

We Filed a Claim With Our Homeowners’ Insurance.

A part of our escrow payment goes toward our homeowners’ insurance policy.

And it’s times like these when we can put it to good use.

Now, if the power company ends up being at fault, our insurance company may just as well seek to recover damages from them, and they may be more successful since they deal with these things all the time.

We Fixed Some, We Replaced Some.

It’s always tough when an appliance breaks to decide whether you should shell out for parts and labor to repair or whether you should just bite the bullet and replace it.

Obviously, this is a case-by-case determination.

And the course we took differed from appliance to appliance.

Microwave

Microwaves are so cheap that it just made sense to buy a new one.

So I called my local Home Depot, gave a representative my old microwave model number, and asked him what newer models have the same dimensions.

He gave me a list, and after doing some research, I finally settled on one and purchased through Home Depot.com.

Bonus: I got cash back by shopping at Home Depot through Swagbucks!

Tankless Water Heater

I called the manufacturer and was told that I would need to replace the circuit board and motor blower.

My father-in-law came over to look at the unit, and he agreed with the manufacturer’s assessment.

So I found the parts for cheap at Amazon and replaced them, with my father-in-law’s help.

Now the water heater works like new!

Thermostats

This was definitely the easiest fix of all.

The circuit boards had been damaged, so I bought them on Amazon and replaced them.

This was an easier process then replacing the tankless water heater parts, so I was able to do this job myself.

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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1 Comments

Wow thats too bad aout your appliances. So glad you 2 are Ok!! Im surprised & thrilled that Amazon sells motors & circuitboards. Who would have known? This will help me out next time one of my appliances breaks down. Its an automatice $75 for a repair guy to come out for a housecall. Then he probably ups the price on the part too. I also never knew that you can file a claim for power surges. Do you think that surge protecor works for dips in our electricity or frequent power failures? Can you please let me know which company will reimburse you… The power co. Or the homeowners insurance. Thank you for the great story!!

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