Never take anything for granted about the power you are starting with.
Four years after
moving into my current (sorry, no pun intended) house, I started having issues with appliances. My Revox system "failed". $1600 to Revox later, I plugged it in and it "failed" again within a month, which unfortunately coincided with Revox pulling out of Toronto...Canada...and the World. One TV, a Sony theatre Receiver (I know), 3 sets of $140 motor brushes for the European washer and a new motor and heating coil for the dryer, new dryer, countless light bulbs..........It dawned me that there might be a problem.
I had talked to many people from the trade and the Utility and checked just about everything about the wiring, except the line voltage! Get out of the box! ...But no one else in the neighbourhood was having problems!!!
It turned out that Hydro had fed two blocks of houses north of me from different supply lines on the street and left me alone on the line heading "North" from the transformer at the end of my driveway. In addition, the connections at the transformer were loose and arcing, the tap was left at +10% and the oil was way low (old transformer). I was getting 130V and 132V on the two legs. And this is before any spikes. I may be wrong, but I don't think surge protectors would have protected me from this!
It has been fixed with a new, much bigger transformer and I now have very stable power at 124V. 100W bulbs now burn at the brightness that 60W bulb did! So I feel like I'm going blind.
We don't seem to have problems with brown-outs, just the very occasional outage during a storm, because of our aging trees.
As a precaution, I have installed a surge protector on the first taps of the panel and have, at my electronics service guy's recommendation, installed ups' on critical equipment. My stereo is on the line through, so that it is protected by the transformer only. Having it on the battery back-up was too painful to listen to at the beginning of a power outage, or when the battery started to fail for some reason.
I replaced the Revox receiver with a Mac 4100 which claims not to need or want a power conditioner, I suppose because of the size of their transformers and special power management circuitry (1978 vintage!!!). My new Mac's (1990
) also don't want conditioners.
After 2 years of fighting, Hydro finally gave me a cheque for 80% of my claim with of course, no admission of guilt. It's ironic that 2 dogs got a shock off a brass cover in a public sidewalk that covered some wire connections. Hydro had no problem spending what came down to an average of the ridiculous sum of $1000/box to inspect all the boxes in the city....millions of $$$.