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Edgar Mironov
Edgar Mironov

How To Buy A Surge Protector

Not long ago, electrical contractor Allen Gallant was about halfway through the job of completely rewiring a 3,200-square-foot house in Acton, Massachusetts, when the owners decided to save some money and not install whole house surge protection against surges from lightning or downed power lines.

how to buy a surge protector

A power surge may last for only a few millionths of a second, but at its worst, it carries tens of thousands of volts, enough to fry circuit boards, crash hard drives, and ruin home-entertainment systems.

Lightning-induced surges are the most powerful and most feared: A 200,000-amp jolt crashing through a power line will burn standard 20-amp wiring like a lightbulb filament. But a lightning strike has to be less than a mile from the house to cause harm, and in fact, most surge-related damage is not caused by lightning.

Far more common, if not as dramatic, are surges caused by downed power lines, sudden changes in electricity use by a nearby factory, or even the cycling on and off of laser printers, electric dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators, and other energy-sucking devices in the home.

Both types essentially act like pressure-relief valves. Normally they just sit there, allowing electric current to flow through them. But with higher-than-normal voltage, the devices instantly divert excess voltage to the ground wire. (The best ones react in less than a nanosecond.) As soon as voltage levels return to normal, the flow of electricity is restored, unless the surge was big enough to melt the fuse built into some units.

Typically, whole-house suppressors are hard-wired to the service panel, a process that takes a licensed electrician about two hours. Whole-house systems should be rated to stop a 40,000-amp surge, at minimum. Features to look for include thermal fuses, and lights or alarms that indicate when a device has taken a hit.

But most plug-in models fall into three basic categories: the familiar multi-outlet power strip; the multitasking surge station that can handle phone and cable jacks as well as power cords; and the UPS (uninterruptible power supply), which completely cleanses electric power of random fluctuations and provides a short-term battery backup in case the power dips or goes out entirely.

Also, avoid plugging surge-sensitive electronic devices into the same power strip with laser printers, air conditioners, or other appliances with large motor loads. These produce their own low-level power surges that will affect all the devices sharing the strip.

When Allen Gallant returned to the surge-damaged site, he spent an hour and a half installing a whole-house system that included a panel-mounted, whole-house surge suppressor and similar devices for phone and cable lines.

A surge protector joule rating indicates how much energy it can absorb before it fails. The higher the number of joules, the greater the surge protection provided. Keys to determining the amount of protection needed include the type and value of the equipment to be protected.

When the voltage rises above the acceptable level, the surge protector suppresses the excess voltage to prevent it from causing harm. Specifically, internal components called metal oxide varistors (MOVs) absorb the excess voltage and divert it safely to the ground wire, preventing it from reaching the connected equipment.

You could buy a surge protector when you replace your fluorescent tubes with LED tubes, but the new tube may only cost $5. A surge protector, like the one we carry online from SATCO, will cost you around $8.50 if you sign up for our business pricing. In this case, buying a surge protector would more than double the cost of the retrofit.

Eaton offers a comprehensive family of surge products for use at service entrances. These products can help protect sensitive electronics against the damaging effects of surges. Due to the evolution of electronics and microprocessors in the home, there is a continuous challenge to provide quality (clean) power for electronic loads such as appliances, computers/home office and entertainment systems. Surges caused by lightning, utility grid switching and other sources travel on current carrying conductors throughout the home, which can affect and destroy sensitive electronic loads.

Two stages of surge suppression are recommended to provide the best protection for electronic equipment. Two-stage surge suppression should be installed at the service entrance and point of use. Many of our Type II surge devices are UL 1449 compliant and meet NEC 2020 230.67 requirements.

It is important to take good care of your computer and electronics. Individuals will choose to use a surge protector over an extension cord, or vice versa, but never realize the impact this decision could make on their devices. What is the difference between a surge protector and an extension cord? How could they make a difference in the way your computers, laptops and gaming systems function?Extension CordsAlthough many extension cords may look similar, there are many discerning factors. First, an extension cord is often chosen based on its length, allowing you to power objects that are further away from electrical outlets. Second, there are two wire and three wire extension cords. The two wire cords are usually all you need for simple home appliances, such as lamps and stereos while the three wire cords are used for heavy duty machinery or extreme environmental circumstances. These three-wire cords are often characterized by their bright yellow or orange colors. Additionally, some extension cords are grounded, having a three-pronged entry for the power cord. Others cords are ungrounded, meaning that you can only plug a two-pronged or ungrounded electrical appliance into them. The use of the grounding sprocket is a safety device. Finally, extension cords are often chosen based on their amperage. The higher amperage cords are used for the more heavy duty equipment. Higher amperage cords are often necessary to carry power longer distances.Surge ProtectorsSurge protectors differ from extension cords in a variety of ways. You may find surge protectors that give you extra length and extension cords with surge protection. The surge protector was created to divert any extra power surges that might come through the electrical outlets. Although these are often only minor surges of electricity, they can greatly damage your electronics. A surge protector can either block or divert this electrical surge by grounding it. The metal oxide varistors inside are crucial to this performance. Each protector is specifically labeled to tell you how much energy it will allow before blocking the surge. Thus, the lower the number, the higher the protection will be, although the life span of the surge protector will be shorter. Another number that is labeled on surge protectors are the joules. The purpose of the joules label is to let you know how much energy will be absorbed before the protector will fail. One important thing to realize about surge protectors is that while an electrical surge may occur for several nano- or microseconds, a surge protector will usually only take a few nanoseconds, enabling it to activate before the peak of the surge is in progress.ComparisonExtension cords are crucial when you need to stretch an appliance from one location to a distant electrical outlet, while surge protectors help keep your equipment safe. The two can greatly differ in price: depending on type and size, extension cords range in price from $1 to $250, and surge protectors from $3 to $1,200. Remember that the price you pay for power supply may be just a fraction of the equipment you are trying to protect.

Tripp-Lite makes similar-looking two-receptacle surge protectors: the ISOBLOK2, which I purchased, and the ULTRABLOK. The slightly more expensive ULTRABLOK adds an integrated 15 amp circuit breaker and a black metal housing.

The short answer is that the built-in surge protection is minimal. The electronics inside most garage door openers are only rated to handle the typical daily fluctuations. Any more damaging surges would be too much for it to take, causing damage to the circuit boards.

People often think of power strips when they hear "surge protection". Commonly used as an extension to outlets, many power strips offer no surge suppression at all. Others only offer low-level surge suppression, leaving them powerless to block appliance-damaging surges.

Battery backup units allow you to continue using your network connection or computer system during utility power problems like outages or when utility voltage fluctuates outside of safe levels. In these cases, the battery backup unit will instantly switch your router, modem, computer and connected peripherals to battery power so you can continue to work without interruption. Another primary function of a battery backup is protecting your sensitive electronics from surges that travel along both utility and data lines. These surges can damage hardware components and destroy your stored data, like music, business files or pictures. Using a battery backup also allows you to access cloud based content and services with tablets and smart phones using your network.The Back-UPS series is the perfect backup for a wide variety of home and office needs and can be wall mounted or placed on or under your desk. It protects your networking equipment from damage or disruption, but can also protect computers gaming consoles, DVRs, and more.

We recommend surge protectors with USB connections so you can charge portable devices directly from the power strip. To ensure quick charging, look for an USB connection of at least 2 amps (often labeled as 2A).

This ETL-certified surge protector offers 1,710 joules of protection against sudden power surges and overloads. It features six smart outlets that can be independently controlled through the Kasa Smart app and three 2.4Amp built-in USB ports for charging smartphones and tablets 041b061a72


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