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Pick the Right Surge Protector for Your Electronics

When everything is going right, all power is on, and no electric lines are tampered from meddling squirrels, electricity can flow and power your electrical devices. Your electronics are important to you, so protect them with a good surge protector. When it comes to buying a surge protector, here are some things you should know.

close-up of surge protector with computer outlet indicator

  • They're not all the same: Surge protectors and power strips are not the same thing. Surge protectors offer protection from electrical surges by diverting excess voltage into the grounding port of a wall outlet, while power strips simply offer additional plug-ins. Opt for the former. To ensure that you're actually buying a surge protector and not a power strip, look for specific language on the packaging that says something like "surge protection," "interrupter switch," or "fused strip."
  • One high, two low: While you're reading the packaging, you'll want to pay attention to three factors: joules, clamping voltage, and response time. With joule ratings, higher is better, because that means the surge protector can sustain bigger or multiple hits. A 1000 joule protector is fine for small electronics, but larger ones need protection of at least 2500 joules. With clamping voltage, you are controlling when the excess voltage will ground. A lower number, such as 350, is better because it means your electronics will sustain less of a hit before the excess voltage is grounded. Lower is also better when it comes to response time, as it indicates the amount of time it takes your surge protector to "realize" and respond to excess voltage. Response times of one nanosecond or less will provide you with the best protection.
  • UL: Look for the packaging to also contain "UL 1449." This is the safety standard that applies to every surge protected device, and it means that your protector complies with a set criteria and product performance testing.
  • No chain zone: Make sure the surge protector has enough outlets for all your electronics. The last thing you want to do is start daisy chaining surge protectors and power strips, as this could overload electrical circuits, void the surge protector warranty, or even start a fire.
  • Plenty of space: You should inspect the design of the surge protector to ensure that it provides enough space for power bricks without covering up additional outlets.
  • The fine print: Your surge protector does come with a warranty, and often that warranty will cover the electronics you plug into it. Read and understand that warranty so that, if you have to use it, you will be properly prepared and have all of the information that will be required in order to replace your items.
  • When to replace: Surge protectors don't last forever. If your household electricity has endured an event such as a major power fluctuation, a blown transformer, or a lightning strike, it is time to replace your surge protector.

Protecting your power supply and electronics is important to us. Get yourself the right surge protector to directly protect your devices, but also get electrical line and utility pole protectors to protect your power source from meddling critters. They can easily do some damage and cause severe outages and surges. Contact us to learn more about how our Line Guard and Pole Guard products can be installed to protect your outdoor wiring and prevent power failures that cause those surprising, damaging surges.

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