An electronic device plugged directly into an outlet is susceptible to serious damage. Protect your gadgets from power strikes and surges by using a surge protector—they’re inexpensive and easy to use. They’re beneficial in the long run, too. Surge protectors help extend the lifespan of your electronics.
Power strikes and surges put your electronics at risk. Lightning strikes, power outages, grid malfunctions, and several other electrical problems cause spikes. Power surges usually happen because of issues with a power grid. An issue with the power grid is the common culprit of a power surge. Power spikes are over in an instant whereas surges last several seconds. Don’t let electricity lingo overwhelm you—it’s easy to protect your devices from surges and spikes with a surge protector… it’s also essential, and here’s why.
What is a surge protector?
A surge protector is an appliance made to protect your devices from voltage spikes. It’s designed to keep unwanted voltages away from your electronic devices.
Is a surge protector the same thing as a power strip?
Even though they look similar, a surge protector is safer and more beneficial than your run-of-the-mill power strip. A power strip just adds extra outlet space. A surge protector defends against voltage spikes. To make sure you’re purchasing a surge protector, look on the packaging for a joules rating—a power strip won’t have this. Joules are a measurement for energy and will tell you how long your devices will be protected, depending on the strength of the surge.
How does a surge protector work?
The devices you plug into your electrical sockets rely on a consistent voltage of electricity. Unfortunately, your sockets can’t guarantee steady electricity. A surge protector defends your electronic devices from voltage inconsistencies by rerouting unsafe energy so that only the normal amount of electricity will pass through your device.
In most residential and commercial spaces in the United States, the standard voltage is 120 volts. A surge protector steps in when the voltage goes above 120, preventing the high voltage from destroying whatever’s plugged in by sending that voltage to a grounding wire located inside the protector.
When should I use a surge protector?
Whether or not you need a surge protector depends on the devices you’re plugging in. For example, there’s no reason to plug a lamp into a surge protector, because the only thing a power surge running through a lamp could do is burn out its lightbulb. On the other hand, it is crucial to use a surge protector with your computer. Laptops and desktop computers are both packed with voltage-sensitive components that a power surge could easily damage. Without a surge protector, a power spike or power surge could shorten the life of your computer, wipe out all of your data, or even completely destroy your system.
In fact, you should use a surge protector with any high-end electronic device. You should always use a surge protector with entertainment centers and gaming consoles, for example. By doing so, you’ll extend the life of the device and prevent possible damage.
What happens if I don’t use a surge protector?
Your electronics may seem to work fine without a surge protector… at first. But you’re not seeing the slow decline of your gadgets. Without a surge protector, your items have a shortened life span. Plus, they’re not guarded against high voltage. When the surges become too high, there is wear and tear to the device. With a large enough surge and no protector, the device will be destroyed.
Where can I get a surge protector?
Surge protectors come in the form of power strips, single-outlet protectors, and even travel-size devices—they have fewer outlets and will fit in a laptop bag. A surge protector is an easy and inexpensive way to ensure the safety of your favorite gadgets. You can find surge protectors at retail stores, online, and electronics stores. Not sure what kind of protector you should buy? Get in touch with a professional electrician for assistance.