Surge protectors are an effective way to protect your electronics, appliances and wiring from damage. Unlike a power strip, which simply plugs into an outlet and switches on, a surge protector is installed in the wall between the breaker box and your meter. When the device detects an extra voltage, it diverts it to the grounding wire and away from your equipment. A surge protector has several features that make it one of the best ways to ensure your safety and longevity.
One of the most important features of a surge protector is the absorption rating. This is the number of joules the device can absorb. It is also a good idea to purchase a product with a UL seal, which means it has been tested in accordance with nationally recognized safety standards.
Luckily, a surge protector can be found for a low price. In fact, some of them can be purchased for less than $20. There are many different types of surge protectors available, including whole house and wall mount models. Some are even able to be purchased with USB ports.
Power surges are a real threat to your home. The extra voltage can burn your wires and cause other components to malfunction or even explode. Thankfully, they are generally not too noticeable unless something fails, like your air conditioning. But if your home has an older setup, you may not be able to enjoy your modern electronic gadgets unless you invest in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). These devices are designed to protect your electronic gear from the worst possible situations.
Although they are not as expensive as a high-end power conditioner, a surge protector is worth the money. Whether you have an expensive TV, computer or gaming console, having a good surge protection device can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. For example, you can protect your computer and other expensive electronic gear with a transient voltage surge protector. If you have a mobile phone, consider purchasing a surge protector with a USB port.
Another important feature to look for in a surge protector is a metal oxide varistor (MOV) that works like a pressure reactive valve. When the amount of voltage exceeds a certain level, the MOV will activate and reduce the resistance, allowing the electrical device to continue to operate.
Similarly, a gas discharge arrestor, or GDA, will divert excess energy to the grounding line. Unfortunately, gas isn’t a great conductor when it is exposed to high amounts of voltage. Since this can create an electric fire, GDAs are not for the faint of heart.
As a rule of thumb, the most efficient and practical surge protector has at least twelve AC outlets, two phone ports, and a UL seal. However, the device may not work for you if you have too many devices, or have a lot of electrical surges at once. Also, be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations on how frequently to replace your surge protector. Using old ones can lead to fires.