If you don’t use a surge suppressor to protect your electronics, which include smartphones, televisions, computers, stereos, gaming systems and many other devices, then you are risking a big financial loss. Though your wall outlet may seem like a safe place, it’s a bad idea to plug in a device without the benefit of surge suppression.
Below is more information about surge suppression, how it can benefit you and what you should know about the equipment itself.
What Are Electrical Surges and Spikes?
The flow of electrical current is not unchanging and constant in most places. Even though the power supply is often identified in terms of 120 volts or 240 volts, for example, the reality is that electricity can enter the wiring of your home at a range of voltages.
Instead, the usual voltage reading inside a home can vary greatly depending on when the current is measured. This variation is known as a surge or spike. In general, a surge is a sustained “rush” of electricity while a spike is a “burst” of electrical energy.
Surges often result from a malfunctioning power distribution system, while spikes tend to occur due to more localized problems, such as home wiring issues or lightning strikes.
How Do Surge Suppressors Work?
Within a limited range, the differences in electrical currents are not necessarily destructive, as most electronics can handle small variations. However, once surges and spikes exceed certain safety limits, damage to your electronics is a real possibility.
That’s why surge suppression should be a part of your plan for protecting electronics from damage. Surge suppressors are affordable, effective and can be implemented in almost any environment and with most devices.
Surge suppressors work by diverting excess electrical energy created by spikes and surges. Although the underlying electrical theory is complex, small components called metal oxide varistors (MOVs) detect spikes and surges and instantaneously redirect them into the ground wire. This prevents damage to the attached electronic devices.
Surge suppressors also contain other components that help filter an incoming electrical current, which helps many devices work better. They also have fuses or circuit breakers to prevent massive overloads. Although surge suppressors can be housed in a variety of enclosures, they are typically manufactured with a row of electrical outlets that permit plug-in flexibility.
What Should You Know About Surge Suppressor Usage?
Even though surge suppressors are fairly straightforward devices, it’s important for homeowners to recognize a couple of aspects regarding their use. A failure to understand surge suppressor usage can lead to damaged or ruined electronics.
One of the first things to keep in mind is that a power strip is not necessarily a surge suppressor. Even though a power strip has a row of multiple outlets, and it also contains a master switch and breaker in most cases, power strips aren’t always equipped with surge suppression technology.
That’s why you should take time to investigate the surge suppression characteristics of a power strip before you buy it. Many stores place protected and unprotected devices together in the same racks, so be sure to read the fine print. Surge suppression capacity is measured in joules, a unit of electrical current, and this will be referenced on the packaging of a protected device.
Another mistake is not replacing a surge suppressor after the end of its useful lifespan. The MOVs inside a surge suppressor can absorb only so much current before failing. Many surge suppressors contain a status light that displays if the device is still providing protection. When the light goes out, the MOVs are depleted, and it is time to buy another surge suppressor.
If you have questions about surge protectors or how to protect your home or business from electrical damage, be sure to contact B & B Lightning Protection. Our team of professionals can help provide the protection your valuable electronics need.