If you were to ask any electrician or plant maintenance engineer what the main reasons are for electrical equipment failure, some of the answers would be insulation degradation, poor grounding, bad connections but I would put money on voltage spikes as being one of the top answers…..
Voltage spikes can be harmful to electrical and electronic devices and increasing the voltage above a devices nominal operating voltage can cause internal arcing and heat generation that can cause damage to circuits, and with devices becoming smaller and more sophisticated this increases the likelihood of this kind of damage. Often if damage occurs within the devices usually warranty period, the cause may not even be identified.
So where do these voltage spikes originate?
The most well-known are voltages generated by a lightning strike, either from a direct strike on the building or indirectly from a nearby strike via inductive coupling in the ground.
Smaller voltage spikes are caused by switching, for example grid switching from the power company, or switching on or off of inductive loads. These events are smaller in size but much more frequent. Even something as unlikely as a nearby power cable being cut can lead to a destructive surge.
Overall these are called switching electromagnetic pulses or SEMP’s and it is these smaller, repeated surges that are often the reason why electrical devices mysteriously stop working.