Skip to Content

Can a Power Surge Damage a TV? What You Need to Know!

Whether it’s your dryer tripping a breaker or lighting striking your home, power surges are far too common. Keeping things safe and operating smoothly is the utmost priority, but how much damage can power surges do anyway? Should they be on your list of worries if keeping your TV safe is a priority?

A power surge can damage a TV. The damage can be minimal, such as a single HDMI port no longer working, or it’s possible that it could be completely fried and no longer able to operate. A surge protector is a simple device that will add a layer of protection to any devices connected to it.

The last thing you want is to be in a situation where a little preparation could have saved the day. While protectors are of course important, what causes a power surge anyway? How can you know that a surge is the source of your problems? To find out more about power surges and TVs, read on!

What is a Power Surge? 

Look, you don’t have to be an electrician to understand that electricity can be dangerous. That’s not just for you either, it can be a real electronics killer if you don’t watch out. So what exactly is happening when you experience a power surge? How does this phenomenon spell disaster for TV?

Also known as transient voltage, power surges are quite simply an increase in voltage. Sometimes this increase is strong enough to damage and destroy the items you have attached to the circuit; which, sadly, includes your TV.

If you’re looking for an exact source, most power surges as caused by items inside the home. Here are some heavy-duty appliances you can usually point your finger at when power surges are a threat:

  • AC
  • Furnace
  • Washers
  • Dryers
  • Heavy power tools

However, you may also experience an outside power surge. If this is the case, then mother nature is to blame. Things like random lighting strikes are usually the cause of power surges that come from outside. But what actually happens when you experience a power surge?

Well, time to put on your science cap. When an electrical current passes through a device and it happens to exceed the recommended operating range, electrical arcs can destroy the wiring component. Even a small surge can do damage, especially if it happens frequently.

How To Tell if a Power Surge has Damaged Your TV

Power surges can be bad news, as you can imagine. While you may not get full device failure, there are some other consequences of power surges that do damage over time rather than all at once. So how can you tell if your TV has experienced a power surge? What should you look out for?

Generally, if a device that was working properly doesn’t anymore, a power surge could be the culprit. If this happens, following a circuit breaker tripping or another electrical event, you can further reduce the possibilities of this happening.

Other than device failure, what else should you look out for? Here are some other signs that you may have experienced a power surge problem in your home:

  • Device components not working — Check the device’s lights, the clock, or really any other aspect of the TV to see if you can find any abnormalities. This could be a sign of a power surge.
  • Smell — When an electrical arc hits your device, it burns the casing of the wires first. This will most certainly produce a smell. Keep your nose tuned in for acrid or burning smells coming from device.
  • No surge protector — If you don’t keep yourself protected, you’re on your own when things go south.

Those are just a quick few things to keep in mind when trying to diagnose a power surge issue yourself. If you are worried or need a second opinion, contact your local electrician. They’ve got the experience you need not only to identify the issue but also to fix it if need be.

How To Protect Your TV From Power Surges

Some things are just out of our hands; power surges are one of them. While you can try your best to manage the risks from inside your home, like heavy appliances, you can’t control mother nature. So what should you do to protect your TV from sudden jumps in voltage?

Put quite simply, to protect against power surges, get a surge protector. It’s the only way you can prevent damage from all kinds of power surges, both inside and outside. Without one, you leave yourself open to damage down the road. And note that, if you already have a power strip, you may not necessarily have a surge protector. There’s more on that in our related post on how to tell these two very different types of power management devices apart.

A surge protector is a simple device. They help divert voltage spikes safely through the ground, meaning they don’t reach your device but rather go straight toward the earth. The best part? You can get a decent surge protector for very cheap, like this model from Belkin (on Amazon).

However, a cheaper surge protector is not always the best option. Sometimes if your equipment is more expensive or sensitive, then it makes sense to purchase a higher-quality surge protector like the Panamax M8-EX (on Amazon). I’ve been using this model for many years now and never had any issues with it or my devices.

Can You Fix a TV After a Power Surge?

In a perfect world, you’d have surge protectors on every appliance. But that’s just not the case for most people. So what should you do if your TV isn’t working and a power surge seems to be the likely culprit?

The first thing you’ll want to try is performing a power drain. This will make sure that no more residual power is left in your TV and can solve many problems.

How to Perform a Power Drain on a TV:

  1. Unplug the TV.
  2. Hold down the power button for around 10 to 30 seconds. This will drain the residual power.
  3. Reconnect the TV and turn the power on.
  4. Repeat if you’re still experiencing issues.

This is a great first move and can often be a remedy for even the most troublesome of TV issues. If it still doesn’t work, or your TV is on but acting weird, a factory reset might be the next best option.

How to Perform a Factory Reset on a TV:

  1. Disconnect all components (DVD Players, Cable Boxes, etc.)
  2. Turn the TV on.
  3. Find the menu for the TV and open it.
  4. You should see an option for Setting or System Settings; names may vary.
  5. Once you are in the System Settings, find Options or Advanced Settings.
  6. Here is where you should find the Factory Reset option.
  7. You’ll enter into a prompt where you’ll need to “okay” the process, click yes.
  8. The screen will probably go black; this is part of the rest process.
  9. Once you see the Setting screen again, the factory reset is done.

Keep in mind that not all TVs will have the same reset process. If you can, use your owner’s manual. You’ll find more specific steps there on how to perform a full factory reset. If neither of these steps fixes your problem, it could be an issue with the power manager for the device. If this is the case, you may need to get external help from a TV repair expert.

Does Insurance Cover a Power Surge?

When things go south, the first thing you might think of is your insurance. Does homeowner’s insurance typically cover power surges? Since they are so common, many people are asking this question.

In some cases, power surges are protected under homeowner’s insurance if you have protection for personal items. Not all policies will offer this coverage. Get in contact with your local agent for more information on your situation.

Personal Property Coverage is what helps you replace your belongings when they get destroyed by a covered peril. In most cases, a power surge is considered a covered peril. But, there are limits you’ll need to be aware of before calling in a claim.

Who is Responsible for a Power Surge (The Damage Caused)?

In almost every situation, the homeowner is responsible for the damage caused by a power surge. Of course, if you have insurance, personal belongings might be covered, but that’s not always the case.

This is why getting proper protection is key to keeping things safe. Look, surge protectors are cheap and can save you thousands on needing to replace your TV outright. Since they usually offer more than one outlet for use, even a single surge protector can help with a whole load of electronics, including your TV. So get some before it’s too late!