Surge Protection

Surge Protection

Surge Protection

Jan 5, 2024

A power surge is an unexpected, intense increase in voltage that travels through electrical wiring. Surges can cause major damage to electronic devices and equipment in your home as they overload the unit with too much power, so we recommend taking precautions to avoid unnecessary issues. 

The most common causes of an electrical surge include lighting, a downed power line, restoration of power after an outage, grid malfunctions, wiring faults, tripped breakers or when a large appliance is turned on. Plugging your electronics into a quality surge protector will protect them from getting fried from such an event. 

What is a Surge Protector?

A surge protector, also known as a transient voltage surge suppressor, is designed to protect any device with a standard AC plug from damaging power surges or voltage spikes. Be careful when selecting a surge protector that you're not just buying a power strip. These are not the same, so check the label to look for the correct language, like "surge protective device, etc."

How Do Surge Protectors Work?

When the voltage rises above the accepted level, the surge protector suppresses the excess voltage. Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs) are the parts that absorb the excess and divert it to the ground wire, preventing it from reaching the connected device. Some surge protectors have LEDs that alert users to possible issues. 

When Should I Replace My Surge Protector?

If a surge protector is damaged repeatedly by surges, then it will eventually not be able to perform as intended. If your protector has endured a surge, it's time to replace it. If the protector's automatic shutoff feature permanently cuts power to the outlets or the "protected" light goes out, it's time to replace it. 

Types of Surge Protectors

There are many styles of surge protectors, including direct plug0in, in-line, strip, under-monitor, shared, rack-mount, bench-mount. Some have built-in protection for data lines, and some have built-in USB charging ports for your devices. There are also whole-home surge protectors that can be installed by your local electrician to ensure all devices and appliances are safe from a surge.

To determine which style is best for your needs, there are a few factors you'll want to consider. 

  • Joule Rating - this indicates how much energy it can absorb. The higher the number, the more protection is provided. 

  • Number of Outlets - this will help narrow down the style if you need 1 outlet vs many. Some industrial protectors have up to 24 outlets. 

  • Cord Length - ensure you choose a style that will have a cord long enough to reach a grounded AC outlet. 

  • Whole Home - if you have a lot of devices and appliances in your home that you're concerned about, then considering a whole home surge protector may be the right choice for you. Reach out to us today for a free estimate on this installation. 

Final Notes

  • Surge protectors must be plugged into a grounded outlet, or they will not work properly.

  • Never plug in a surge protector to an extension cord or power strip.

  • The cord or strip may not be robust enough to carry the current to the protector, and this increases risk of fire.

  • Surge protectors will not eliminate a breaker-tripping issue.

  • Tripping breakers are caused by overloaded amperage, and surge protectors address excess voltage. 

  • If you are interested in a whole-home surge protector, reach out today for a free estimate.