Pacific Sheet Metal Blog

Why Should I Use a Surge Protector?

Posted by Joey Haack on Jan 11, 2018 10:00:00 AM


Do you have any of your large electronics or appliances plugged directly into wall outlets? We’re going to tell you right now to rethink that strategy before your home experiences a power outage or surge unexpectedly. You don’t want your computer, flat screen TV, refrigerator, or microwave to be damaged or destroyed, especially when you can easily prevent it by installing surge protectors around your home.


Electrical Surges vs. Spikes

An electrical spike is a short increase in voltage (1–2 nanoseconds). The only difference between a spike and a surge is the length of time it lasts; a surge lasts three or more nanoseconds. Since a surge lasts longer, it has a higher chance of causing damage. This blast of voltage can be too much for wires in your electronics to handle and cause them to burn up.


How Surge Protectors Work

The purpose of a surge protector is to detect extra voltage during a spike or surge and send it into a protective component (grounding wire) to prevent it from damaging your devices. It ensures the right amount of voltage reaches your electronic device.


Surge Protectors vs. Power Strips

Many people assume all power strips are also surge protectors. This isn’t true. Make sure when you’re at the store that the power strip you choose is labeled to have surge protection as well. Many cheaper strips and generic brands aren’t designed with surge protection or don’t offer reliable protection. Choose power strips from a reputable company that also offers a warranty on the product. Also consider buying surge protectors with lights that indicate when it’s working properly and when it needs to be replaced.


When to Use a Surge Protector in Your Home

Power surges and spikes can actually happen frequently without us even noticing, so you should keep your important electronics (like computers and televisions) plugged into surge protectors at all times. It doesn’t take a wild lightning storm to cause a sudden surge; placing too much strain on your home’s electrical grid can also cause them, such as when you’re running too many electronics at the same time or when you turn on a large appliance that requires a lot of electricity to run. Lightning can also cause surges, but there’s no guarantee that a surge protector (even the best quality) will withstand such a huge amount of power. Unplug your electronics during a lightning storm to be safe.


If you need electrical services in Aspen or Carbondale, contact Pacific today. Our electrical contractor would be happy to help you place outlets in your home, install light fixtures, or perform other minor electrical repairs.

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Topics: electrical