(Picture Source: Selective Insurance)
Electronics are an essential part of modern life. Even if you're a fan of doing things the old-fashioned way, it's fairly hard to get through a day without a computer, phone or other device plugged into an outlet.
A bad thunderstorm is all it takes to threaten the functionality of even the most modern of technological innovations. If you want to protect your investment in electronics – and the information contained within – consider a surge protector. It can be an inexpensive way to keep your property safe.
What Are Surge Protectors?
Simply put, a surge protector is a device designed to protect appliances from voltage spikes. A surge protector is typically a long, thin piece of plastic with several receptacles to plug in electronics. The surge protector also has a cord that can then be plugged into a standard wall outlet. Outfitted with a special mechanism that can limit voltage supplied to an electronic device, surge protectors block spikes, keeping power at a safe voltage level.
Why Do Surge Protectors Matter?
When simply plugged into the wall, electronics can easily be affected by a voltage surge. Providing power above a safe level can damage an electronic device. The peak cutoff is generally around 169 volts.
A power surge can create an arc of electrical current within an appliance. The heat generated during this process can permanently damage circuit boards and other components. If one surge doesn't ruin your possessions, multiple smaller surges may. Continued power surges can erode internal parts and shorten the useful life of an electronic device.
Choosing the Right Surge Protectors
Believe it or not, all surge protectors are not made equal.
Some people might purchase surge protectors based on the reasoning that whatever's the cheapest is probably good enough. However, this can be a poor strategy. Power strips and surge protectors are actually different, and many power strips do not have surge protection capabilities.
Be sure to check packaging carefully to ensure the product you buy isn't just a device to plug in more things in one outlet. If it doesn't say "surge protector" somewhere on it, assume it's not going to help you protect appliances.
Proper Surge Protector Use
Here are six tips when buying and using surge protectors:
- Surge protectors use a measure called joules to indicate power and ability. A higher number here is better. It means the surge protector can absorb a larger spike without a risk to electronics. Typical surge protectors range from 100 joules to 1,000 joules or more.
- Another indication of quality is the “clamping voltage” measure, which indicates the limiting ability of a surge protector. Most devices are standard at 330 volts. But protectors up to 400 volts are recommended for optimal protection.
- Surge protectors don't last forever. While some surge protectors will warn you when their useful life is coming to an end, most won't and there's no good way to find out for yourself.
- The older your surge protector gets, the less it's probably working to help you. If you live in an area known for power spikes or thunderstorms, it's likely your surge protector isn't working as well as you think. Instead of waiting for a problem to arise, take it upon yourself to replace surge protectors every one to three years.
- An estimated 60 to 80% of surges are created within a facility (such as when an air conditioner powers on). So be aware of the possible appliance usages that may affect voltage spikes.
- Just because a power strip has eight outlets on it doesn't mean you should plug in eight devices. To avoid tripping a breaker, limit the number of large devices (such as electric heaters, TVs and refrigerators), on one surge protector.
Your electronic devices are a vital part of your day-to-day life. While seemingly minor, a surge protector can be the solution necessary to ensure your technology is ready to use.
SOURCE - Selective Insurance - Can Surge Protectors Save Your Electronics